I've been working on the idea of acceptance for a long time. "Accept where you are, accept what is, accept yourself, accept others," etc. Every spiritual teaching out there mentions this idea of acceptance.
For an even longer time, I was blind to it. Literally blind. Like, I'd be reading and the word would come up and I'd completely not see it. The word didn't even register in my vision, not to mention brain or life.
Then there was this day I finally became aware of it. I didn't really get it, but I noticed it.
Then after noticing it for a while, I finally decided to try to process it... to digest it. It tasted stale, weak and bland. Like a flimsy, excuse for not being able to change something.
My definition of acceptance: choosing to be small because you aren't able to get something right. Ouch.
I really didn't get it.
I eventually came to the phase of comprehending acceptance where I formed an opinion about it. It went something like this: "My personality type is INFJ, aka The Advocate. I don't just accept things – I'm here to make change. My mission is to keep doing better! How am I supposed to just accept things? Not me."
Acceptance felt like failure and weakness and man, I clearly have a problem with failure and weakness (working on this).
So I did what I always do when I don't get something: I make it into an affirmation.
"I surrender," for when I didn't know what surrender meant.
"I am devoted," for when I didn't know what devotion was.
"I am confident," for when I didn't know how to be confident.
"I love and accept myself no matter what," for when I didn't know how to express unconditional love.
It didn't come easily. This affirmation became passwords, iPhone reminders and mirror messages. I thought the message was sweet, but did I really get it? Nope.
It took months of daily pop-ups and intentions about acceptance for me to get it.
Then one day out-of-the-blue, I woke up with heavy anxiety about just about everything.
I thought, "I'll get over it. I'll just meditate out of it." Weeks went by.
I thought, "I'll just yoga out of it." More weeks.
"I'll just journal, reiki, travel, dance, talk to a therapist, breathwork out of it." More weeks.
"Once I'm ____ far in my career, personal relationships and self-growth journey, I'll be out of it."
When nothing was working, I fully freaked out inside. I'm a reiki healer, yogi, and meditation guide! I CAN'T HAVE ANXIETY! (Haha, please settle down, ego).
This thought triggered endless amounts of more anxiety.
Cue the realization that I'm not accepting that I have anxiety. Cue the question, "How the fuck am I supposed to accept anxiety?"
Then one night in a yoga class, after months of this "bout," and weeks of relentlessly begging the universe to show me how to accept anything, it hit me. I was overcome with the stressful feelings I'd been feeling lately: nostalgia, sadness, confusion, contradiction, frustration, impatience, worry and pressure. While I laid there in savasana, for the first time in life, I accepted them. All of the traumatic feelings. I thought, "these are all beautiful." And I seriously meant it.
I suddenly felt more alive and more comforted than I had ever felt in my life. I realized, this is what being alive feels like. It feels like anxiety, hope, joy, love, sadness, fear, creativity, anger and boredom. I accepted that this is life. I accepted being alive.
For the first time, I let all the feels move through me, not out of me.
And you know what? Everything settled. Everything released. Anxiety became my teacher.
Acceptance is swallowing the thing whole and digesting it.
It's taking the nutrients out of the tragedy.
Your soul will always find the nutrients if you let it move through you.
Want a tangible practice?
1. Write down 5 things you resist, don't find beautiful, or feel trauma around.
2. Meditate quietly for a few minutes (whatever amount of time feels right).
3. Write down 5 things that are beautiful about each one next to each item.
4. Notice the shift.
5. Ask the Universe, God, Source or your Highest-Self for guidance on acceptance.
With love + acceptance,