Acceptance is hard. Plain and simple. It can feel passive, or like giving up. It can feel like weakness, and resignation. But it can also feel like freedom. It can feel like walking through life with a spaciousness inside, the kind you get when you take a giant exhale from the deepest part of your belly. Acceptance and strength are not mutually exclusive. I think real strength, an inner strength, comes from a place of acceptance.
The last two and a half months started off this new year in ways I did not anticipate. And I am sure there are people who feel similar. I am starting to come to terms with this more. Things happen so out of our control that we either spin and spiral into the abyss of confusion and despair, or lean into the invitation from love that all of these things belong in the grand scheme of things. If you’re like me, you will oscillate between the two: despair and hope, fight and acceptance, until something just gives and you are able to receive life as it is, moving forward with a little more compassion and openness.
Acceptance doesn’t mean shrugging our shoulders at what life throws at us. It’s not indifference or repression or numbing out. I think true acceptance is feeling the losses, grappling with the injustices and tragedies. It is going through grief in all of its rawness, and then coming through it because we’ve allowed love to kiss the wound.
Acceptance kind of just happens to us, in its own time. We do the work, we sort through our grief; which can look a lot like fighting and bargaining, anger, visceral reactions in the body, random outbursts of tears. However it plays out in our lives, we must let ourselves feel our way through it. And then, it’s as if our days begin to feel a bit more normal, and we slowly feel like we are at home in our own bodies again. But it takes time, and a lot of permission to lay low and go gently through life.
I am not sure what it is for you, what sorts of things you find yourself grappling with or the circumstances you find just too difficult to accept; I only know that which I feel within myself. But may you wake today going gently on yourself. Giving yourself permission to go at your own pace, opening yourself to love so that you may feel her kiss your wound, and nudge you towards a place of acceptance.
A poem for you by Robert Frost
“When the spent sun throws up its rays on cloud
And goes down burning into the gulf below,
No voice in nature is heard to cry aloud
At what has happened. Birds, at least must know
It is the change to darkness in the sky.
Murmuring something quiet in her breast,
One bird begins to close a faded eye;
Or overtaken too far from his nest,
Hurrying low above the grove, some waif
Swoops just in time to his remembered tree.
At most he thinks or twitters softly, ‘Safe!
Now let the night be dark for all of me.
Let the night be too dark for me to see
Into the future. Let what will be, be.'”
Bennacht by John O’ Donohue
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.