“Nothing is wrong--whatever is happening is just “real life.” Tara Brach
I am currently reading a book called “Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of Buddha,” by Tara Brach.
It is perfect timing as I find myself, due to circumstances outside of my control, in a season of worry and stress.
As with all seasons in life, this season shall pass eventually. Seasons always do.
Which makes the current book I am reading a healing salve for my struggling heart.
The Buddha says that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.
The key to minimizing, if not eliminating, our suffering is to radically accept our circumstances and neither “wish” for something different not “struggle” against what is.
It is what it is.
Sure, there are some self-imposed negative circumstances that we can change.
But many of the unwelcoming situations and events in our lives are entirely outside of our control. And the more we fruitlessly struggle against them, the worse we feel.
Said another way, the situation is the situation. It is our resistance to what is and our desire for things to be different than what they are in this moment that exacerbates our suffering in the moment.
And our suffering does nothing to change the current circumstances.
It still is what it is.
The AA Serenity Prayer reminds us to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Radical acceptance is accepting what is, at this very moment, exactly as it is. Messy and overwhelming perhaps, but real life nonetheless.
I know it is much easier said than done to simply accept whatever life throws at us. And that is where a daily practice of quiet self-reflection, meditation, or prayer can be transformative.
I work with many clients who struggle with the situations that their loved ones find themselves in. Addiction. Financial mismanagement. Abusive marriages. Medical or psychological problems.
But these are circumstances are beyond my client’s control. They cannot “fix” their loved ones nor their situations. But they can love and accept them as they are.
Acceptance, however, does not mean condoning, indulging, or enabling a loved one’s “poor choices.” Sometimes acceptance means loving a person from afar and making tough decisions to either control or eliminate a loved one’s future inheritance. After all, who you choose to leave your money and assets to when you pass away are entirely within your control.
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Rationally I know this season I find myself in will pass because seasons always do. In the meantime, I have plenty of opportunity to hone my radical acceptance skills. Who says we ever stop learning?
Kristen "Radically Acceptance Maven in the Making" Marks