In the past three months our lives have changed profoundly. The way we interact with those outside our household. The way we work, shop, seek medical advice or visit the post office all require more planning and awareness than ever before. Simple pleasures such as playing with our grandchildren or meeting a friend for a coffee, have become a distant memory. Those of us who have abided by the rules and made enormous sacrifices amidst personal dramas will, understandably be reacting to news that others have not been so careful and considerate. However, it is how we react that determines our mood and ability to move forward.
The key to living a mindful life is acceptance. Acceptance of what is and what we are unable to change. Acceptance isn’t simply giving in. It is perceiving the situation and acknowledging it without judging it as good or bad. In other words the ability to accept negative emotions without judging them. Stressful life events happen and resisting, as opposed to accepting them makes them stronger. Those who learn to accept difficult experiences allow them to run their course and dissipate. Acceptance helps us to stop focusing only on what’s ‘wrong’ and to notice other feelings and thoughts that may be happening alongside, helping us to see the bigger picture.
Acceptance of something really means calmness towards it. It is the ability to be as relaxed and happy as possible by minimising any anger about what can’t be changed anyway. It’s something you can do for your own peace of mind. When you stop fighting the ways things are and start being more relaxed you may even become able to respond more positively. When things go wrong it’s easy to think of a story coming to a sad end but perhaps it is the preceding chapter to a new story that has not yet been written.
Try to remember you don’t have to solve everything at once and only ever have to deal with the moment you are in and that any moment is temporary and will one day become a memory. Any pain or fear we are constructing in our own minds around today’s situation will eventually pass. Just as pleasures are also temporary, which is why we should never take them for granted, no matter how small they may seem.
It’s not easy to adjust to situations we would rather not be experiencing but it is possible to adjust to how things are and become more relaxed and positive in spite of them. The more you struggle to accept your situation the worse it may seem. It may take time but it is worthwhile gradually accepting the way things are for the sake of your own peace of mind and happiness.
In the words of Elkhart Tolle......
“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it....this will miraculously transform your whole life.”
Until next time,