Yesterday, the term radical acceptance came to me several times. I knew I needed to pay attention. The past few weeks have been fraught with an umbrella of anxiety and sadness. I know, like many others, I’m carrying the stress of the political unrest and global issues we’ve been living with for so long. I lost a friend last week. She passed in her sleep. I had it on my mind to reach out to her after things “settled down” from the holidays. And yesterday, as I was going about my responsibilities with clients and students, knowing that the inaugural ceremonies were in play, I was afraid of witnessing the unthinkable, so I stayed away from the news. There was even one point during the day when I was making coffee, and I stopped, shook my head in disbelief, and said aloud, “Is this really happening?” It was one of those surreal moments where I had to pay attention and breathe. It is. There’s no hiding from all of the personal and societal tensions — and there’s no hiding from how it affects us in our body, mind, and spirit.
“Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our lives as it is.” ― Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
It seems we have two choices: We could bury our heads in the sand in denial or we can embrace this situation with “radical acceptance.”
Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, says radical acceptance is “clearly recognizing what we are feeling in the present moment and regarding that experience with compassion.”
When it comes to our wellbeing, it’s important to accept what is. From there, we can make changes. My body is carrying more tension and more pounds than I’m happy about. My mind is full, and not often still. And there are many moments, especially when I’m weary in body and mind, that I’m not feeling very connected to the divine.
Compassion for myself is called for as is being generous with myself and remembering that I count in all of the swirling of my personal and global communities. And I am where I’m at, and from here I can make changes — small ones at first, which eventually will lead to a greater shift.
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results, says, “It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action” (31).
Place of Pondering
I invite you to reflect upon:
How I can radically accept where I am in body, mind, and spirit? How can I have more compassion for myself and others in this time of great challenge? What opportunities might I be missing by “fighting against” what is? What might it be like to set aside unrealistic expectations and be shown what your soul is calling you to do this day to tend to your body, mind, and spirit? What small habits might I embrace to bring greater wellbeing to myself in body, mind, and spirit?
Taking a few moments to radically accept what is will provide us with a great place to create different choices of self-care.