Last night I attended my final mindfulness seminar. The focus was on acceptance of what is and staying in the present. Letting the moment be and learning how to act in the moment.
We did a breathing exercise where we focused on the physical sensations associated with difficult thoughts or feelings. It was interesting to feel my heart beat faster and notice the feeling where you want tears to ‘spring’ to your eyes. I didn’t fight those feelings….I didn’t give in to them, either. Instead, I breathed and breathed and told myself, ‘Whatever it is, it’s okay. Whatever I’m feeling, it’s okay.’
Acceptance is something I went into mindfulness class NEEDING to learn. I’m always trying to change things, make things something other than what they are, or wanting people to act differently than they do. I’ve learned, sometimes, these are fair requests. Some things SHOULD be different. Some things aren’t fair. Some people SHOULD treat me differently.
The class didn’t give me some magic tool to all of a sudden stop wanting change. Acceptance isn’t about resignation. Acceptance is becoming fully aware of difficulties, feelings, and situations and responding in a skillful way, a thoughtful way, and a way which accepts our own feelings and acknowledges them as valid before making a next step.
So to you, dear reader, I say: Whatever it is, it’s okay. Take a deep breath. Allow yourself your feelings.
I know acceptance is something I will be working on for a long time. It won’t come easily to me. But one idea resonated with me deeply and immediately. It is best described in this quote from Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Victor Frankl
As a class we pondered that space. That amazing, powerful space between stimulus and reaction. Nobody can fill that space but you. It’s all yours.
We can’t control the stimuli all the time. We can’t always control our circumstances. But we can always, always, choose our reaction.
I’m going to apply this idea to the greater issues surrounding me – my civic duties, my marriage, motherhood, my career. But on a micro level, this can be applied to how we respond to a negative comment. How we respond to temptation. How we respond to the urge the sit on the couch instead of walk all the way to the car and drive to the gym!
I’m about to go on blog hiatus for two weeks – I’m heading off to London on Thursday and then onto Scotland to graduate with an MA in Creative Writing. Until I’m back to my normal routine, I’ll leave you with another quote from the mindfulness seminar. It’s a different topic than acceptance, but it goes right along with not falling into resignation.
Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity.