Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
One of the many benefits and lessons I have received and witnessed through the practice of mindfulness is accepting life on life’s terms. This task is not always easy and notably precarious, in the midst of challenging times.
Who wants to accept the fact that something difficult, painful or chronically dysfunctional is a real presence in their lives? But do we really have any other choice but to accept it?
Sure, we can ignore it, deny it, defend it and even delude it until we are thoroughly unhappy and unhealthy. But this ultimately does not cure the complicated burdensome situation, rather it just stores it away to be returned in some mutated form on another day.
“Of course, there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” - Arthur Rubinstein.
When we do not accept life on life’s terms and we numb it by lack of acknowledgment or numb it with an external band-aid such drugs, sex, spending, or whatever is our choice of avoidance, the challenging or unresolved situation seeps into our present and future choices, relationships and life.
We can all probably see this in the people around us. The person that hates their job yet stays at it, angry, stressed and with lack of purpose. The relationship that is unfulfilling or unhappy, but one - or both - fear being alone. The individual with lack of self-love or self-confidence to make decisions that are best for themselves rather then codependent martyrdom.
As it is, this observation is made more readily and easily when looking at others. But the real work is an inside job which we often avoid, as it can create anxiety, vulnerability or accountability.
Recently, I have had to personally sit with this idea of acceptance. Acceptance of what I have created, allowed and continued to avoid within me. As I peel back the layers of my own vulnerable responsibility and travel into the shadows within myself, I find that despite the rawness created by the emotional stripping there is an empowerment through the shining of light onto my lurking shadows.
Yes, acceptance is a choice - a hard one most definitely - but a choice nonetheless.
There are two ways out of a problem. Accept what’s happening, see and feel the truth, and choose a peaceful state of mind; or fight against it, avoid dealing with it and struggle against the universe.
I believe most definitely that life is cause and effect. Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. Choosing actions that bring happiness and success to ourselves and others ensures the flow of continued happiness and success. I can imagine there are some predestined soul-planned life events happening, but the power of human freewill can create an inward harmonious, powerful life or an external life of lack, hardships and misfortunes. Through this belief, I trust that when I can accept life as it is and honor what I need to do to serve my body, mind and spirit (as well as others) to the highest regard, I carry a trust in my life... a trust that all will be okay.
Here are few things that work for me when attempting to accept life’s challenges.
1. Accept it. It’s that simple. Yes, there are parts of ourselves and our lives that we wish we could forget, deny and ignore. But if we don’t consciously honor and accept what is, we will simply store the experience in our cellular memory and mind to replay. Take off your masks of denial and accept what is.
“The Ego, however, is not who you really are. The ego is your self-image; it is your social mask; it is the role you are playing. Your social mask thrives on approval.” - The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra.
2. Honor how you feel. Resisting and ignoring disappointment and pain creates suffering. Accepting our emotions and feelings through giving them time to be validated, heard and released creates healing. Share with a therapist, friend or journal. Sit with your thoughts and emotions and simply feel them.
3. Own it. The Hawaiian principle of Ho’oponopono is the acknowledgment of responsibility for our lives. Taking ownership of what we have created, allowed and manifested in our life can be healing and empowering. When we blame or avoid self-accountability we stay in victim mode creating a mentality that will surely bring more things to feel victimized by.
4. Be real. Accepting a situation for what it is doesn’t mean it's rainbows, kittens and unicorns. It means be truthful and real. When we can accept it, feel it and own it, we can then ask ourselves, what does this moment truly ask of me? Then take a few breaths of quiet and listen. The answers might be go to a party, meditate, be alone, scream, cry, laugh. Just be real and act for the betterment of your holistic being: body, mind and heart.
5. Get really real. If your answers are always external, meaning find a new relationship, a new job, a new shopping spree, a new friend, a new shiny object, a new external-fix-of-the-day, you might want to go deeper. True happiness comes from within. All the external answers might help in the moment and maybe from time to time that is exactly what you need. But if you are not doing the inside work, the fix will be temporary.
6. Detachment. This does not mean pretending it isn’t so, but detaching from situations or people that do not serve you or expand you, might be necessary. Allow yourself and others the freedom to accept, feel and be real. Take accountability of yourself without trying to force solutions, control, enable or save someone or something else. You do you, while detaching with loving intention and release the expectations and outcomes, and let others take responsibility for their lives.
7. Trust. When we can follow a path that is nurturing and drenched in a compassionate self-care routine, we learn to trust that this path will lead us to happiness. We get a taste of this each time we honor ourselves though the process of trusting our abilities and self-worth. We might waver and dip our foot into the waters of fear and doubt. That’s okay. Just start again. Accept. Trust. Repeat.
“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” - Michael J. Fox.
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