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Acceptance: Practice Overcomes Pain


Part 3 of the 12 Steps to Transformation: A Month-to-Month Guide Bringing Joy, Peace, Love & Fulfillment: Acceptance

By Columnist Camille Lucy – Certified Holistic Health Coach & Reiki Practitioner:

Photo Credit: Lulu Hoeller – Acceptance: 2014

There’s nothing more painful than arguing with reality.

Drop the mic.

I could end the article there because there isn’t much more to say. But, often times, accepting what is can be a particularly difficult pill to swallow. It takes practice and patience, surrendering bit by bit, and learning how to do so in a gentle, compassionate manner.

Suffering stems from the denial of “what is.” Resisting what is will not change it. In fact, it seems to bring us more of what we do not want. Byron Katie said, “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.”

Easier on you.

True acceptance is letting go, embracing what is (and what isn’t) and finding peace and comfort in appreciating things as they are. You may wish you were ten pounds lighter, or that your kids were not so messy, or that your partner listened to you more. Though it may seem counterproductive, acceptance of what is, even if we don’t necessarily “like” it, removes resistance and negativity and actually leaves space open for what we desire to materialize and manifest in our life. Socks on the floor? No problem. When you stop focusing on what’s wrong, accepting it as it is and instead focus on what’s right, you may find that your kids will suddenly begin helping out and picking up after themselves, and your spouse begins to pay closer attention to what you say. Nobody likes nitpicking or finger-pointing. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” and watch how the small stuff begins to melt away, being replaced by mutual kindness and a deeper love for one another and all of life.

Once we learn to let go of how we visualize things “should” (danger word) be, we can redirect our focus onto appreciating what is and finding peace in the present moment.

Let’s take to one of the great Masters for more on suffering and acceptance. The Four Aryan (Noble) Truths are some of the most basic teachings of Buddha:

  1. All existence is dukkha (suffering). Our lives are a struggle and we do not find ultimate happiness in what we experience.
  2. The cause of dukkha is craving.  Our tendency is to blame our difficulties and suffering on externals (anything outside of ourselves). We want things to be different. However, Buddha teaches us that the root of pain is within us. As humans, we grasp or push away and this pushes us out of alignment and flow with who we truly are and with life.
  3. The cessation of dukkha comes with the cessation of craving. As we are the cause of our own pain, we are also our own solution. We cannot control anything outside of us, but we can change our response.
  4. There is a path that leads from dukkha. Practising Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, we can move away from suffering into bliss.

So there you have it, folks. Life is suffering. Suffering comes from the non-acceptance of what is. The end of suffering comes with acceptance. And there is most certainly a way to get there (or many).

In any given moment, you can switch your focus and perception to accept, embrace and appreciate even the things that bug you. This practice opens the door to seeing life for its value and beauty, easing the discomfort of the unknown and moving into Trust and Faith, as we discussed at length last month. Acceptance leads to Gratitude. When your mind is full of appreciation, it’s hard to feel bad or be irritable or afraid. Gratitude leads to love, understanding, kindness and compassion. Be gentle with yourself, first and foremost. Change is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.

To clear up some misunderstandings about acceptance, surrendering to what it does not mean that you like, want, choose or encourage whatever it is that you are accepting. You are choosing to allow something (or someone) to be as it is, in the moment. Without resistance, which causes struggle and more pain. In this same way, give yourself permission to be as you are, to feel what you feel, without shame or judgment.

Practice Makes Better (there’s no such thing as perfect!)

As with most things in life, it takes time to develop skill and habit(s). A garden is weeded, the soil is prepared, a seed is planted, watered, bathed in the sun, and when the time is right, the flower blooms.  It’s a process, but the journey is the rewarding and enjoyable part. Enjoy the steps you take as you grow and expand.

With practice, commitment and a willingness to change old, non-serving behaviours and patterns, you can hone your skills and cultivate a healthy, abundant life. A deep respect, love, curiosity and adoration for yourself will graduate with an awareness of your ins and outs, and help guide you on your journey to happiness.

We are all Human; “flawed” and beautiful, anyway. We will never be perfect, but we can try our best at any given moment to tackle what’s at hand. This is true acceptance! Recognizing this, honouring your trilogy (body, mind and spirit) and moving step by step towards joy, peace, love and fulfilment.

Acceptance is Not the Same as Giving Up or Doing Nothing

There is often some confusion around this. Many people think that accepting life as it is, or people as they are, is giving up or becoming inactive or passive. False! Acceptance is surrendering to what is, letting go of resistance and finding peace deep within. You can accept a situation and still work towards changing it. The difference is you are not attached to any given outcome, you recognize you cannot control other people or the world around you, and you can only focus on your response, attitude and behaviours.

Everything is temporary; accepting what is today does not mean it will be this way forever. You are just removing the expectation of how things should be, and finding contentment in what is. In this way, you are removing the “pain” from the equation.

Find the Gems Buried Under the Pain

Arthur Rubinstein said, “Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” 

When we practice shifting our focus to “life is happening for us” instead of “to us,” we can begin to discover hidden lessons and gems of wisdom waiting to be revealed to us. Life is unpredictable; everything impermanent. How we react to what happens in our experience(s) will have an impact on who we are and the quality of our lives. Cultivating the ability to truly accept whatever comes our way (attain an equanimous mind) and embracing even the challenges, is a sure-fire way to open ourselves up to the limitless possibilities before us. Equanimity is mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper (peace), especially in a difficult situation. The more you practice, the better you get at it and the happier you become.

Clarity and calm are imperative to seeing beneath the surface. When triggered by life, reacting from emotion, you may miss something that would otherwise be clear as day. When we are in a state of observation, paying attention to the signs we receive, how our body is responding, the intuition we feel and the lessons presenting themselves to us, we can learn a great deal about ourselves and where we are at in our lives, mentally and emotionally. Sometimes the biggest challenges are our very best teachers and may hold the most treasured gems for us. The exact nugget we need to help us release some old junk and free up space to start anew, allowing positive influences in to shift into alignment with our path and true nature (love, peace, joy…).

Swap your reactions from defensiveness to curiosity and watch how easy it soon becomes to learn, grow and find true happiness and pleasure in the process of acceptance.

Photo Credit: Jocelyn Kinghorn – Find Gems in the Pain: 2014

Neutralize by Asking Questions

I’ve found it quite common that many of us reject a person, place or thing out of habit and conditioning. Sometimes, we are not really upset but we are programmed to believe we should be upset when X, Y or Z happens. Similarly, we often confuse the reasons we are actually hurt. By slowing down, and asking yourself some simple questions, you may be able to neutralize the suffering before it takes off like a runaway train.

Utilizing Byron Katie’s 4 Questions and Turn-arounds (The Work of Byron Katie) is an irrefutable way to set yourself up for profound transformation. When something has triggered you, grab your magnifying glass and investigate!

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Let’s say I am angry because someone did not listen to me. I then say they don’t care about me. Is that true? Sure, I can make a case for it. But can I absolutely know that because they didn’t listen (maybe they didn’t hear me) that means they don’t care about me? No. Absolutely not. How do I react when this happens? Oh, I get so upset! I feel not good enough, unlikable, I get angry and project my hurt onto them. If I didn’t believe this thought, that they didn’t care about me, I’d be free to enjoy their company. I would recognize all of the love we share. I would be happy.

Next, Byron Katie asks you to find turnarounds. The original statement, they don’t care about me. Turning it around, it becomes I don’t care about myself. Interesting. Can this turnaround be true? Sure, maybe I am feeling insecure and this is why I think they don’t care about me. I certainly don’t care about my own peace of mind when I’m getting myself in a tizzy over this. Byron asks you to find 3 examples of how this may be true, or truer, than the original statement. Another turnaround is that I don’t care about them. I am judging them, and disapproving of them. This is certainly not care and love. A third turnaround is that they do care about me. Can I find 3 examples of how this may be true? Sure can.

The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry (curiosity rather than judgment) that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause your suffering. It’s a way to understand what is hurting you, and to address the root of your problems with clarity.

Open the Gates! 

Your freedom lies in your ability to practice true acceptance and surrendering. It is the key to open the gates you have trapped and imprisoned yourself within. Its implementation will alleviate unnecessary suffering and leave space for new, positive experiences. As Buddha says, there is a path to move you from suffering to bliss. So, swallow the pill already and hop on the path… you’ve got this.

Next month I’ll cover “Gratitude”

In this 12-part series, readers will learn the key ingredients to a delicious life! Each topic will cover why it is important and simple ways or suggestions on how to integrate these shifts into your everyday life. If these principles are followed, the results will be undeniable; a radiant and able body, mind and soul, shining from the inside out, stronger and healthier relationships and a dramatically improved quality of life.

About Our Reiki News & Review Columnist – Camille Lucy

Camille LucyCamille Lucy is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Certified Reiki & Raindrop Technique Practitioner, Ordained Holistic Minister, graphic and web designer, business consultant, and Vice President of a local non-profit that “rehabilitates people through animals.” She is also a writer, a Mother of 3-girls, an artist, a Life-and-Love Junkie, a Self-Expression and Development advocate, and – well, you get the point. She’s a lot of things, just like all of us. Camille is also author of, “The (Real) Love Experiment: Explore Love, Relationships & The Self.” Learn more about her and her adventure(s) at www.CamilleLucy.com or on social media at @LiveFullToday.

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Disclaimer: The information published in this column is the author’s professional opinion, based on their knowledge. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about a medical condition. Also, always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.


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