The Power of Acceptance

by marilyn on February 17, 2009

I just returned from a week in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic ( “The Dominican” as they say).  It turned out to be a great vacation but the first few days it rained! It simply isn’t supposed to rain in the Caribbean!!!   So, I had a head full of noise. . . I booked an inferior vacation on an inferior island. . . the one where it must always rain (after all it is very lush) . . . a secret they fail to tell you . . . (Where else do you find an umbrella in every room?) blah, blah, blah.

Fortunately, the sun did emerge on day four– not that there weren’t sunny moments on the previous days– just not the cloudless skies I had come to expect! I noticed that my mood improved markedly.

I happen to be participating in a weekly personal development workshop on success.  I missed a session during my vacation where the discussion was a look at the various ways we have predetermined ideas of how everything should be– all the “shoulds” . . . you know, the rules we barely are even aware of but that dictate our every thought, action and decision. The homework was to look at ways in which our given expectations dictate how we view our lives. One person on a group call we had described giving an important presentation and forgetting to bring her notes. In a moment of clarity, remembering the workshop session, she decided that was “just the way it was supposed to b,” dropped her anxiety and her workshop was a great success. She asked me how I might have viewed my rainy days in the Carribean had I been at that session I missed. It became clear immediately. If I had said to myself, “this is exactly as it is supposed to be,” it would have been much more enjoyable.

It then occurred to me (a thought I briefly had while there but dismissed in favor of my disgruntlement with the weather) that one of my best friends has metastatic melanoma. Perhaps, indeed, I was not supposed to get much sun!

The big lesson here is to extend it (the lesson) to other areas– relationship issues, missing a business opportunity, health issues, financial ups and downs. Just like rain, things will be what they are and one can either accept them and be peaceful or fight them mentally and be miserable. (How ridiculous to be unhappy in the Caribbean. Even in the rain, it was delightful!) Acceptance is also the fertilizer of creativity and resourcefulness. When the mind is peaceful, we see things more clearly, solutions can be found and things flow better. I see evidence of that in how my friend is handling her cancer with amazing grace and finding new resources and helpers for her survival team.

My challenge to readers: take an issue you are unhappy about and tell yourself it is supposed to be this way for now (after all, just like that rain, it can’t be any other way) . . . and see what happens! And do let me know if you have some interesting results.

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