ACCEPTANCE MONTH: DAY 23: “For the wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching has become a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong. – Bill W.”
This begins with our very first entrée into recovery and ends when breath is gone from us. We are only able to live peacefully in the world when we are in acceptance of life.
And to make peace and acceptance with life possible, we have to accept ourselves. We are going to remain powerless over all of it anyway. The sooner we understand that Step 1 really should be, “We admitted we were powerless, and our lives are unmanageable.” But I understand that we can only recover from our addiction and then move into deeper understanding of what recovery from our thinking is really like.
The danger, I think, is that so many of us are in the terrible misunderstanding that alcohol and drugs, or sex, or gambling, or overeating, or whatever addiction we are addressing, is the problem. That leads a lot of people into deep unhappiness when abstinence from that substance is removed. The same thinking and the same ego are still there, trying to run the show and direct life.
And it fails every time! We run into each other and the Universe and get the crap kicked out of us, over and over again.
Some of our deepest pain and anguish will always be when life shows us that it is going to go a certain way, no matter how much we want it to be different. We do not get to decide the rules. One of the saddest conversations I have ever had with another person was to explain to a friend whose grandchild had died that there is no time frame called a “lifetime.” There is no set time line; some of us live into our 90s, others for only 3 or 4 years. True heartbreak!
We will have our hearts broken, over and over, by this thing called life. And we can allow that breaking and sit with it, or we can fight it and get REALLY beat up. When we can flow with it and allow those feelings of pain to move through us, I believe this is the real meaning of having compassion for ourselves. There is a tremendous difference between self-pity and compassion for our experience. We get to learn how to navigate this thing.
The first part is to recognize that this is not personal. The Universe is not rewarding or punishing us for anything. Life is just doing what it does. We don’t get the script; believe me, I have asked for daily directions to be handed down. Never happens!
But we do get to have these amazing tools for learning to live in acceptance of heartbreak and joy; pain and happiness; understanding and confusion; tears and laughter…all of life is here for us to jump into and swim with.
And our only job is to sit in acceptance and look at how we are behaving and what we believe about it all. Over and over again, every single day. We are truly blessed!