Accepting Things As They Are, So You Can Change
Where do I begin accepting things?
So, there I was sitting in gridlock on a Friday afternoon trying to peacefully get to work on time.
I have a habit (and perhaps a reputation) of cramming so much into my day and saying “Oh, I’ll just do this one more thing before I go to work.” that I end up rushing to work and feeling stressed while doing it. I always end up getting there by the skin of my teeth sporting a nice bead of sweat above my lip.
Not this day. On this day, I left with an extra 30 minutes of pad time so I could get to work peacefully. It didn’t matter because I forgot that on Fridays in Miami — everyone decides to get into an accident. There were two accidents on my road to work. So, there I sat.
The old Lynn (like, last year) would have done what I’ve done most of my life: get mad at the traffic, blame a driver, blame myself and make up an elaborate story of how I’m going to be so late and so behind and everyone is going to judge and hate me.
The new Lynn (the one practicing consciousness and personal growth) did this: I reacted and got mad (human tendency), then I made a conscious decision to practice my work of acceptance.
I took a very deep breath and told myself out loud: “There is absolutely nothing you can do about this situation. You’ve done nothing wrong. You had an intention of getting to work on time and peacefully and you are innocent. Everything is okay. Just do your best and accept what is. What’s the worst thing that can happen? One person has to anchor a news show and everyone hates you? The world will continue to spin. You’re okay. This is part of my practice of accepting things.”
Then I went a step further to gratitude and thanked God I didn’t get into an accident and sent a blessing to those who did.
Once I accepted the traffic, I relaxed.
As I sat there, my mind and ego still wanted to go to that place of fear and blame, and when that happened I would just bring my mind back to acceptance and say again, “Everything’s okay. It is what is is.”
Eventually, traffic started moving again and I actually drove slower on the rest of my drive to test out the theory that fear and lack of accepting things blocks us from what we want. I was wondering, if I drive more slowly, I’m driving coming from a place of peace and not fear and everything might flow and I’ll get to work on time. Guess what? I drove more slowly and actually got to work early! Shocking, right??
That’s an easy example of acceptance where you can clearly see how accepting what is, brings you peace. You don’t have to like what’s happening, you just have to accept it. Once you start accepting things, you can decide what you want to do about them.
In other words, you can decide how you’re going to react to something. If you do not accept it, you put up a block. Picture it as a wall made of those cement blocks. You block and prevent good things coming your way.
Practice Accepting Things All Around You
Elkhart Tolle talks about this in his book “A New Earth”. I always remember the example he gives which more or less goes like this: say you have a flat tire. You get out of your car and see the flat tire. It’s pouring rain and you don’t want to change a flat tire in the pouring rain and mud. So, you say to yourself, “I accept that I don’t want to change this tire. I also accept the fact that it’s raining and I have a flat tire. Now, what am I going to do about it?”
If we don’t accept, we resist what is. We get angry, we blame, we throw tantrums, and nothing changes. The only thing that remains the same are those same negative feelings of anger, blame and fear.
Another great Eckhart Tolle example is paying your bills. Say you have a stack of bills and you don’t have enough money to pay them. Not accepting this fact would be to avoid paying them, or getting angry that you work so hard and don’t have enough money, or just being worried that you don’t know how you’re going to pay them. Acceptance would be saying to yourself, “Okay, I see I have a stack of bills. I accept that I have a stack of bills and perhaps not enough money to pay them all. Let me look at each one and figure out how I’m going to handle this.”
Accepting things is what will remove your cement blocks and allow peace and good things to come into your life.
Practicing accepting situations first.
Then we will practice accepting people.
July 26, 2016
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