So, what is acceptance, then? Hmmm. Good question.
To me, acceptance is … I suppose… surrendering to reality. Surrendering to what really IS. It usually takes me a while to get there with lots of fits and fuss and denial and resistance beforehand. I don’t go lightly or easily into acceptance. I’m a control freak at heart and acceptance, by its very nature, makes me squirm.
Acceptance forces me to admit… I cannot control this. It implies that something larger than (or at least outside of) me is happening here, is in charge, and no matter what I do some essence of it will not be changed just because I work at it or whine about it or fuss about it or get pissed off about it or whack at it with a hammer…
acceptance then is both a giving up of my (imagined) power and an experience of
relief or peace at giving it up. When I release this idea that I will or can have
an effect on the person, situation, experience, instead of being worse off
which is what I always EXPECT, I experience a relieving type of letting go which makes everything somehow better.
This "surrendering" kind of sounds like powerlessness but my physical and emotional experience of it is NOT that. Where as the fighting, fussing, resisting and denial beforehand feel like contraction and discomfort, acceptance feels, in my body and even in my mind because it too lets go, like expansion and openness.
I suppose it’s something like when your hand is gripping something, you’ve got a very narrow contracted focus, not room for much else in there, whereas once you let go, your hand is open and anything can come into it.
What acceptance DOESN’T mean to me… It doesn’t mean that I have to like what I have accepted. What it does, though, is allow me to really feel my emotions about not liking it. It allows me to face and feel the pain, the anger, the fear… whatever… fully. Just by doing that, by not repressing them, not resisting them, I am inviting movement into the issue, into the situation. I’m allowing myself to know what’s true for me and, therefore, to keep it from stagnation, to keep flow happening. As long as there is movement in what is happening, I am not stuck in it and it keeps changing and evolving and always moving toward something better (just something I’ve noticed over my life).
“Stuckness” and resistance and teeth grinding and not wanting to see the truth, these are the things that often cause us the most pain which is funny because usually we are doing these things to try and stop or avoid pain or painful situations. And when we stop trying to avoid the pain, discomfort, anger, etc., when we finally accept things as they are then we can just allow them, just feel them and move slowly on to the next thing we will be fighting, resisting, in denial or fussing about. Ah, the irritating paradoxes of life!