One of the things I’m grappling with right now, as per usual, is acceptance. It’s easier for me to zoom ahead to the near-distant future when things are different. When I have a job again, when my body feels better. It’s much harder me to stay in the moment and accept my current reality. The present moment sucks sometimes. Who wants to accept something crappy? I sure don’t. However, I’m reminded, as I often am, of a passage from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous on this topic:
“Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.”
Sometimes I believe that passage and sometimes I don’t. In a conversation with a friend she said sometimes she thinks life is drunk because things don’t make sense or they’re wacky. I agree. Life is weird. I’m not sure in this moment about the “no mistakes” thing. However, what I know to be true, is as much as I want things to change, they won’t unless I start where I am. For years I wanted to touch my toes, but I couldn’t. Every day I stretched my hamstrings a little farther, a little farther, and now I can touch my toes. But I had to accept my limitations in the moment of how far I could reach.
There’s something interesting for me in holding the paradox of where I am and where I want to be. Of accepting that I don’t like where I am and making an effort to be somewhere else. How do you hold those two places?
I looked up the definition of “accept” and one definition is “to receive.” I’m resonating with that word right now because a dear friend said to me the other day that I’m meeting myself. When I accept myself or my life circumstances, I’m receiving them, I’m meeting them, I’m greeting them. They become like a friend coming in out of a storm that I’m welcoming inside. There is no judgment, no sense of good or bad. Instead, there is neutrality and that’s exactly what I’m striving for right now. To let myself be what I am — no more and no less.
I can apply that mentality to circumstances as well. Do I like them? No. Can I receive them? Yes. To take the guest analogy further, guests are not residents — eventually they leave. Some guests stay longer than others, sure, but no one sticks around forever. And in the interim, what sort of host am I? I’d like to be the gracious and hospitable kind.
I dream of a world where we all practice acceptance. A world where we receive with hospitality all the “guests” that cross our threshold whether we invited them or not because sometimes we’re stuck with one another. A world where we realize nothing changes until we accept it first.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.