What a week! Sometimes life gives you a lot to do, and sometimes life piles a lot more to do on top of that! I have to admit I’m a bit tired tonight, but I want to return to the topic of Acceptance.
I’ve had the blessing to be a part of two MBSR groups lately. Both groups combined for a total of about 35 people, and, as always, there was much wisdom in the room. Perhaps the wisest of the wise was a young man, who shall remain anonymous, who explained acceptance to me. He’s going through a bit of a rough stretch and there’s not much you can do with that except persevere and cultivate your capacity to be resilient in the face of difficulty. Realizing that neither he nor I would come up with any particular solutions to his difficulties, other than working with them as well as possible seeking the best outcome available, I suggested to him that he might try practicing acceptance. Now, one must be careful when making such a recommendation, because it can sound like resignation, as mentioned in my previous post. But it isn’t surrender in the dishonorable sense of the word, but rather retreat, an honorable and time tested strategy in any war, whether combative or spiritual. After much verbosity on my part, the idea clicked. Here is what he told me:
“It’s like riding your motorcycle. There’s nothing like riding your bike on a beautiful, sunny, dry day. Seventy five degrees, no humidity, light breeze. On a country road. Lots of turns, all banked in the right direction, good pavement. Best experience in the world. You can ride it fast, letting the wind rush against your face. But you can’t ride the road that way when it’s rainy. If you do you’ll end up in a tree, which is what happens to some people. They ride the road they wish they were on instead of the road they’re actually on. That’s acceptance. To ride the road you’re actually on. You may not get the thrill you want but you won’t end up in a tree, and you’ll get where you need to go. The opposite of acceptance is denial; trying to ride the road you wish it was, making believe you can handle something that nobody can handle. Ride the road you’re on; that’s what you’re telling me to do. I can do that.”
It’s really that simple, but it’s not easy to do of course. Those rain-slicked roads require tremendous concentration; one might even say that one must be very mindful on a treacherous road. But with perseverance and determination those roads can be traversed and the sunny, dry days and thrilling rides can return. Not always the way we’d like them to, of course; sometimes those old storms leave behind a lot of damage. But when we accept the challenge of living life as it’s coming at us, riding the roads we’re on, then the living of it can be a thrill unto itself. But a bit tiring, as I’ve found out this week!
Thanks for reading. Would love to hear more ideas about Acceptance. Blessings and peace to you on this summer afternoon.
PS One of the guilty pleasures that Zina and I are indulging in these days is a band called Pink Martini. They’re really great! Here’s a link to their first video from 1997; enjoy!