In the past I’ve reluctantly dabbled with the word “acceptance”. I’ve dug around my psyche attempting to uncover what it is that leads me to struggle and resist even uttering the syllables, of which there are three – a favourite number of mine. Wikipedia tells me that it means to assent to the reality of a situation without attempting to change it or protest. There in lies my challenge.
I am reminded of my older brother’s words to me when my mother would insist that I eat the deep red earthy beets bleeding into my mashed potatoes . . . “like it or lump it, digest it or dump it”. That ditty along with years of trying to accept everything from chronic gut issues, people’s nature and habits, and the insanity of other drivers still leaves me in the vortex of resistance and resentment. Feeding the beets to the dog under the table wasn’t acceptance.
The insistence upon acceptance as the holy grail to serenity inundates the self-help section of every bookstore and wellness podcast. I have recently picked up a book that was given to me by a close friend many years ago. She sensed my restless spirit and bouts of depression and thought it might help. A few weeks ago my writing mentor suggested that I revisit it, for inspiration. It is a compendium of daily lessons to promote self awareness, peacefulness, and authenticity. Woven throughout are challenges to adopt new daily routines, deeply examine our inner and outer selves, and shift our perspectives.
While the word acceptance figures prominently in the publication, I have unearthed words, actions and mindsets that hold greater hope and meaning for me. I am aware that my opposition to The Word stems from defiance to admit powerlessness. I’m wired to fight back and be heard. I feel a void and helplessness as to what to do with these feelings. I can hold them down during the day. At night as I turn out my light, negotiate a space for my feet between the two dogs stretched across the end of our bed, and finally settle my right ear against the smooth pillowcase while ensuring that my left ear is well hidden under the duvet, the fussing and fuming begins.
Last week during a check in call with my therapist I was revisiting some areas of discontent with myself, and others. She listened patiently to my diatribe and only when I paused for an inhale did she interject; stop resisting people’s essential nature. I believe that’s code to practice acceptance.
I went deep into my morning journal and searched for my musings about the daily passages I had been reading. I needed guidance to get to that place of comfortable assent. It’s no surprise to me that they were imbedded in the writing done while I was deep in the Kootenay Mountains looking through the window at the white edges jutting up into the horizon, the tree lined ski runs and pristine bowls of fresh snow imploring me to get outside. Beneath the recording of the date, temperature and location, was a line that reflected my state in that moment – I am beautiful and content – blessed with this day.
I then went on to review what I had noted from daily readings. I had written the definition of grace – an act of kindness, courtesy or clemency, a sense of propriety and consideration for others. Then mercy – compassion, kindly forbearance. Finally, reverence – deep respect; tinged with awe and admiration. I ended my entry by declaring a day of grace, reverence and mercy for the mountain and the people.
I had found the language and attitude that enabled me to abandon my struggle with The Word. Practicing grace, mercy and reverence would gently teach me how to access positive and consensual energy in the face of resistance and judgement. I am striving for mercy as I glance at the lined face and sagging eyelids reflected at me from the mirror. I am finding grace to combat the judge and jury in my head as I bristle with hurt and anger. I am leaning into reverence instead of envy or fear.
That’s my truth.