Acceptance can be one of the most difficult lessons with which to come to terms.
I had a plan, and it was simple: type the next newsletter while enjoying a latte and some beautiful weather at a local coffee house. I packed up my equipment, drove to the store, ordered my latte and sat down in the perfect spot. A gentle, tropical breeze was blowing, and there was a power outlet within easy access of my computer. "It doesn't get any better," I thought as I sat for a moment enjoying the quiet and solitude.
I pulled out the computer and then reached for the power cord; it was not in my bag. My stomach tightened as I realized that I had not packed the power cord...and my battery was dead. Immediately my perfect little plan came to a screeching halt!
In a flash, I started to replay what had gone wrong. I felt sheer frustration for leaving my power cord at home. In fact, my mind was beating me up for this infraction.
But then another part of my brain chimed in, a more patient and gentle part, a part that reminded me there is a lesson in this experience.
I made an important decision in that moment to listen to this voice, and I looked for the lesson. The 'nice' voice reminded me I had not settled on a topic for a newsletter and this could be a perfect example to illustrate the power of acceptance.
Acceptance of ourselves, others and various conditions can be one of the most difficult lessons to come to terms with. We live in a society that places great value on being able to control events, people and circumstances. In fact, it tells us that the more we control things the safer and happier we will be.
But is this really the case, or does the attempt to control situations and make them into something other than what they are create more suffering and crisis?
While channel surfing once, I came upon a scene in which a group of people were stranded in the jungle. Their boat had crashed and a giant snake was killing members of the group. As panic took over, everyone began pointing their finger and blaming the others for the situation, all of which was serving no value in resolving their crisis.
Finally, some sanity returned to the group as one member said, "Deal with it!" and reminded the group that arguing about what got them there would not get them out. His message: accept what is and get into the present moment.
It is only in dealing with the present that you regain the power and perspective to start creating solutions. The longer you stay invested in what "should have happened," the longer you create more heartache and drama.
How often do you get caught up in these types of conversations?
When events occur that are upsetting, practice becoming an observer of yourself and see what is creating the upset.
Are you attached to things being different than they are?
Are you listening to the voice that wants to tell you how unfair life is, or that you are an idiot because you forgot your power cord?
If so, recognize that this is the voice of the Ego and that the Ego's goal is to keep you wrapped up in big dramas.
There is another voice speaking to you as well—it is the voice of True Self. This voice is gentle and reminds you to accept the reality of the situation in which you find yourself and in doing so you will find the solutions you seek.
Recently, a client had been going through a very rough time at work. On his call there was a lightness to his voice I had not heard in awhile. I asked him what had changed and he said he had read the 'drunk prayer.' I wasn't sure what he meant, and he explained it was the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) prayer. Of course he was referring to the Serenity prayer, which I have included below.
The prayer reminded him he needed to accept where he was in life and quit beating himself up for not being more or better. The prayer tuned him into the voice of his True Self and the difference in his outlook and energy was palpable.
Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference."
Lesson: Acceptance of a condition viewed as limiting or unwanted is the quickest way to resolving the condition and returning to a place of clarity and centeredness.
Now that my house burned down, I have a better view of the sky. -Zen saying