There are many situations in life that can test our patience and emotional equanimity. Over the years, my guidance urged me to develop a practice of “acceptance”, and that practice has enabled me to be more centered in my work and in my life.
In my early years I was extremely sensitive, and I felt hurt, belittled, or terrified by the smallest of incidents. I coped by closing my eyes to behaviors, actions and events that I did not like, and I learned to avoid people and situations that were disturbing to me. I began to stuff uncomfortable emotions deep down inside me, and successfully pretended that all was well. Many years later, in graduate school, a local psychic told me that I had “stainless steel walls” around my heart. My first response was to scoff and say that was not true! Yet proof was evident in my failing marriage, and in my inability to express difficult emotions. Since that time I have spent many years learning how to feel my emotions, identify them, and remove old emotional patterns of disharmony from my body’s tissues and organs. I found firsthand that when internal conflicts are not resolved and released, they create blockages that lead to illness. The blockages can be cleared, and the illnesses healed, but it is much simpler to learn to feel, resolve and release emotions as they are experienced!
“Acceptance” is an interesting spiritual practice. It does not mean that you condone or approve of the situation; it simply acknowledges what IS, now, here, in the moment. If something happens, and you react to it, see if you can step back from the reaction and say, “OK, that just happened. I can’t change that it happened, because it DID happen. It doesn’t help me to fight against what happened, so can I accept it? Can I let it go, and move on? Can I look at my feelings instead?” Then explore whether it brought up fear/anxiety/terror in you; or if it aroused shame/guilt; or frustration/rage/anger; or helplessness/hopelessness; and so on. See if you can accept your emotional response. Do not judge it, do not deny it, do not twist it into something it wasn’t, do not justify it, do not stuff it. Simply accept it! It is fine to feel things; it is fine to have strong emotional responses. Acceptance of those feelings then allows you to communicate with your body, or with another person, about what you felt. Allow the feelings to help you understand yourself better, to learn what they were trying to tell you. Get clear and centered again, reassure your inner self, and ask your feelings to guide you in your life toward choices, actions and people that are more beneficial for you. As you learn to accept yourself and your feelings as they are, you are then more able to accept others as they are. This is how we can change the world, starting in our own bodies and lives!
August 3, 2013