“The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears.” ~
Acceptance is imperfect.
It’s messy and often unpleasant, even painful, but ultimately, it leads to a place of growth and a sense of freedom.
I know this because I have had a lot of painful acceptance in my life, and it has been crucial to helping me move beyond the stickiness of fear and suffering.
Years ago, being fun-loving, kindhearted, the be-there-for-everyone-but-myself person, I ignored the signs in my body—the aches, the frozen shoulder, the creeping anxiety. I pushed; I pretended all was well and buried what my body was trying to tell me. Until I came to a screeching halt and life-changing decisions.
The body keeps the score; the body always keeps the score. When we don’t accept our emotions and we don’t deal with the adverse and painful things in our life, our body will stop us in our tracks. Illness, physical pain, anxiety, depression, addictions—all a manifestation of being too afraid or unaccepting of the fact we must deal with what’s inside. Otherwise, we create the perfect storm.
The perfect storm insidiously sneaks up on us until it has us face down—ill, our body in pain, or feeling mentally overwhelmed. We wonder who we are. Who we were. Who we want to be.
Instinctively, we don’t want to be in this place, struggling with our health. Stuck in a place, a life we no longer fit in. A life that no longer serves us. I took the path of courage, and so the work began.
I started meditating, writing, and spending an inordinate amount of time in nature. I decided I needed to really go within and face my darkness and I knew that was going to be scary and have consequences, but I knew for peace and growth it’s what I had to do.
One day as I sat there in silence, feeling every breath in and out, I felt the warmth of my tears streaming down my cheeks. I felt the guarding shell around my heart crack right open and I felt my broken bits, one by one, bit by bit. I felt every harsh blow that I had endured. I felt every hurt inflicted on me and on others. I felt the shattering of my soul and I felt the energies, all the energies of love, happiness, and sadness. I sat there in that moment and I felt it all. All of it sweeping over me, through me, within me.
I had to accept there was no going back to the past—to that life. There was only being with what is and opening to where that might lead.
I have learnt acceptance is not resignation. It is not giving up. It takes vulnerability, courage, and strength. It takes truth.
I feel it more a falling inward of sorts, dropping into the sensations of what is, recognising and acknowledging what’s there. My place of empowerment and choice, instead of feeling like a victim. A beautiful sense of coming home to the body in the present moment. A feeling of coming home to myself, in all my wholeness. A knowing of who I am.
It’s not without its heartbreak and its tears. It’s certainly not without pain and turmoil. It was bloody messy and there was nothing linear about it. A series of small steps forward, huge steps backward, and more steps forward. It took a while, and if I’m honest, it’s still a journey.
I had to accept that my lifestyle had changed. I had to accept that the future I saw for myself had ended. I had to accept that I hurt people and people I trusted hurt me. I had to accept that some people were not who I thought they were. I had to accept I had work to do and that included complete transparency and authenticity.
I had to accept that suddenly my life had taken a new direction and be completely open to the inevitable changes that would bring. Openness and trust were the keys to opening toward inner growth and inner intimacy, as well as a place for gentleness. It was all new territory to me. I was so far out of my comfort zone; I became used to feeling uncomfortable.
My experience of acceptance felt like a slow motion fall into an undercurrent that swept me away. Some days I was drowning, and other days, I taught myself to swim stronger. Some days I was on fire, and other days, I emerged from the burning rubble charred but alive. Some days I sobbed endlessly, and other days, I smiled through my tears.
Acceptance is like a surrender when it comes. Pulling away from our pain and ignoring life’s difficulties is a resistance—a fighting of gravity. It’s an easy habit to dismiss our feelings, which will forever leave us unhealed. The tiring cycle of the push and pull of resistance makes everything so much harder and takes a lot of energy.
Resisting that my life had significantly changed made everything more emotionally painful. Stuck in this place of denial, this place of not speaking my truth, I was unable to fully connect with my authentic self. We all hold onto emotional pain by burying it and distracting ourselves, in an effort to not deal with it, and ironically, this just keeps the pain close.
My road to facing my pain, learning from it, speaking it, letting it go, and accepting has been brutal at times. It has knocked the breath right out of me and left me reeling more than once. It’s made me question if I would survive.
But then comes that surrender. That truth and facing what that truth brings. The trust that we are okay, we are going to be okay, and the embracing of the unknown. Embracing the lessons learnt and the wisdom that has come from that.
I have stayed true to my experience and I have stayed true to myself, even at my darkest, even at my worst, even in the midst of chaos and utter despair; I have not wavered in my truth.
With an open heart and an open mind, I have learnt to listen to my body. When she is trying to tell me something, I listen.
Acceptance has helped me to learn to listen within and trust what I hear. Trust what I feel. Trust that my body, mind, and spirit work as one with grace.
Acceptance has been the key to opening the door on the next stage of my life.