Getting From Suffering to Acceptance

via Flickr Creative Commons, Jose OllerThe simple principle of acceptance is a powerful tool for transformation. It can be applied to every area of our lives. From circumstances to relationships. From our interactions with others and to how we treat ourselves. Learning to bring acceptance to our daily lives and experiences can work a special kind of magic.

I’m not talking about resignation or neglecting to take action when we need to stand up for ourselves. I’m not suggesting we pretend to approve of something we find immoral, unjust or unethical. I’m not talking about condoning harmful behavior in ourselves or others. I’m talking about the simple act of releasing any effort to force reality into a different shape than it currently holds.

“When I argue with reality, I lose – but only 100 percent of the time.”  ~ Byron Katie

As always, when I’m willing to learn, the world is my teacher. My most recent lesson came in the form of an extended loss of my internet service. That circumstance was enough of a mundane challenge for me to think I could do something about it and a big enough inconvenience for me to slip easily into resistance.

The result ~ suffering.

Life presents us with countless opportunities to experience the dichotomy of resistance and acceptance. I bet you’ve experienced those magical moments of grace – of relief and release – when you’ve come to a place of acceptance. But if you’re like me, occasionally you resist reality just enough to be reminded that the principle of acceptance can create dramatic change. My recent jaunt down this road reminded me of these powerful elements of acceptance.

The kindness of acceptance.

Accepting ourselves and others exactly as we are – emotions, thoughts, mental, physical & spiritual conditions – is an act of love. Dropping the judgement and force that we often apply to ourselves and the world around us creates space for peace to reside.

The power of acceptance.

When we release resistance and face what is, we can finally make choices based in the reality of the present moment. We quit feeling like something is being done to us and step into the full spectrum of options available to us in the moment.

The action of acceptance.

While the peace that comes from acceptance may take some time, it helps to remember that we always have the choice to live and act from a place of acceptance. When it is a guiding principle, it can direct our behavior even when we’re not feeling it.

The alchemy of acceptance.

There is a certain magic that comes when we quit fighting with what is. The walls built by resistance drop away and a new reality has room to emerge. This is my favorite element of acceptance and the hardest to describe. It must be experienced. For me, it was the less-than-ideal, but functional work-around that appeared when I quit shouting at the wind. Watch your own life for ways the world transforms around and within you when you accept it exactly as it is in this moment. 

And maybe, most importantly, remember that we can even practice acceptance of our resistance. Try saying, “Wow, here I am again. Fighting with reality.” Then notice the kindness, power, action and alchemy that follows.

Just for today, wherever you are on the spectrum of resistance to acceptance, know that you’re not alone.

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  1. Linda Gotsch September 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    Very helpful today. Thank you

    • Kelly September 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      You’re welcome. I’m glad it was helpful. That’s why community is so important; we all need reminders!

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