Returning to our exploration of the seven essential attitudes of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn defines acceptance as:
The process of acceptance begins with the willingness to see things exactly as they are in the present moment. Can you keep your attention focused exactly here and now, taking each moment as it comes and connecting with whatever presents itself? Often, to be able to accept what comes into awareness, you must pass through periods of intense feelings such as anger, fear, or grief. These feelings themselves require acceptance. Acceptance means seeing things exactly as they are rather than as you think they are or as you think they should be. Remember, things can only change in the present moment. You have to see things as they are and yourself as you are–truly–in this moment if you wish to change, heal, or transform yourself or your life. Acceptance includes softening and opening to what is here. The sense of struggle is released. By ceasing to deny and to fight with the way things are now, you can find yourself with more energy to heal and to transform what is here. Acceptance does not mean you have to like everything or that you have to take a passive attitude. It does not mean you have to be satisfied with things as they are, or that you have to stop trying to change things for the better. As we are speaking of it here, acceptance simply means willingness to see things as they are, deeply, truthfully, and completely. This attitude sets the stage for acting in the most potent and healthy way in your life, no matter what is happening.
Over these past two weeks, I have recognized a familiar pattern within me. There are stages where I am very engaged in teaching, communicating and sharing….and then there are other stages where I go within to gather, refill and expand from the inside. I have been shifting into this latter stage over these last few weeks, hence my hiatus in writing last week.
As I reflect on this with clear acceptance, frustration has been present, along with that familiar feeling of needing to please or do what I said I was going to do. There have been moments where I have sat down to ‘make’ myself write something, and yet this mindful awareness comes in to remind me of what IS actually here. If I allow it or accept what is happening within me, I can see how this shift seems to be in alignment with the intention of winter, of going within. Maybe I am just doing what is natural for me at this point in the year? Who knows, but it IS here….
Honoring and enacting this attitude of acceptance, I am going to step away from making a weekly commitment to writing for the time being, and will return to a more regular pattern when my energy shifts back into that state of external expansion. I am grateful for each and every one of you, and wish you peace and ease in the coming winter season.