1000 Voices Speak for Compassion does a monthly challenge inviting people to blog about a particular topic one day each month. They tag this project “speaking for GOOD on the 20th of each month.” And this month’s topic is acceptance. You can read more about this project here, and check out the other bloggers posting today and/or participate here.
I think talking about acceptance can be a bit complicated because it’s one of those words that seems straightforward and yet I think there are some not-often acknowledged baggage we’ve come to attach to the concept. So let’s start right off with a dictionary definition:
- the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.
- the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group.
- agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation.
That seems pretty clear. The way I see it the piece that becomes challenging for people is actually resistance. Not wanting to accept something because that might mean giving up on desires or wishes for things to change. Is it possible to accept something that is actually non-preferred? Is it really acceptance if I actually want something to change?
But here’s the thing – the thing that shifts EVERYTHING. We have to remember to stay in the now moment. Acceptance is in the now moment. We can’t push it into the future or pull it back into the past and make decisions about it – it is in the flow of the now moment that we must allow acceptance.
I think a lot about what Gary Zukav said:
“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.”
There are always inner and outer expression of things, but my preference and inclination is always to begin with the inner. So here are things I believe. We have to start with ourselves. To start with self-acceptance. I am, in this moment, everything I am – all my experiences, all my parts, all my expressions, those things I love and those things I’m not so crazy about. But they are me in all my richness. This is my ever-evolving expression and it serves me to own ever bit of it, every nuance, every single thing preferred and non-preferred. Because it is from this very large mass of everything that I refine myself, through my entire life, into the golden expression of my awakened soul self. This is what I’m here to do, to express, to be.
I like what John O’Donahue said about this, and truly this is how I strive to live:
“When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do.”
I believe it’s what we’re all here for. So when I accept myself, in this now moment, for who I am in this now moment, I give myself full power to refine whatever it is I want. And then it is up to me to offer that acceptance to others, because we’re all playing in this game together. We are all equally sovereign, we’re all equally human, we’re all equally embodied sparks of the divine no matter whether we’re dancing consciously with that knowledge or not, or whether we’re expressing it in ways that are preferred to us personally or not preferred.
And so I truly do agree with Eckhart Tolle:
“The moment that judgement stops through acceptance of what it is, you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.”
Start where you’re at – it’s the only possible place, it is this now moment. Release judgment. It is of no use. You are always free to move in the direction of what you prefer and away from what you don’t – that is why your heart is such a perfect compass. And remember, everyone is on their own path, their own journey, and it needn’t look anything like yours. But you can bless everyone who crosses your path with love and acceptance, remembering as Ram Dass so beautifully reminded us:
“We’re all just walking each other home.”
I’ve shared some heart images from my journals, because I think acceptance is really about keeping our hearts open. What do you think? Do tell – you know I love to hear.