Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Acceptance is Healing
So, I was at my Yin Restorative class this morning and, once again, the instructor said something that got me thinking. I both love and dislike it when this happens because it gives me a lot of food for thought, but it also makes me want to shout out, "Wait! Say that again. Does anyone have a pen hiding in their skin-tight yoga pants so I can write this down?"
Needless to say, shouting is frowned upon when people are trying to restore their yin, so I'm forced to chew on it for the rest of the class until I can run to my car and try to make sense of my own "monkey mind."
The theme this morning was acceptance of mind, body, and spirit and so much of what was suggested applied to me and I suspect many others. Because complete acceptance of who you are is an incredibly difficult thing to achieve and probably only really happens in fits and spurts.
But when it does...what a an amazing release.
I think I've been in denial about a lot of things in my life and, truth be told, I think I've been in denial about being in denial.
Hey. If you're going to do something do it well, right?
This isn't as much about denying grief as it is denying the experience and who we are when we come out the other side. I don't deny that I have grief and probably always will in some way. But I think I've almost always had a hard time accepting myself, my value, and the things that only I can offer this world.
I realized this a couple of months ago when I began seeing a new therapist. Within the first few sessions, I noticed that I started almost every thought and feeling with the phrase, "I know this sounds terrible, but..." and then finished the sentence.
Why does it sound terrible? Because it's my own opinion? Because I'm worried whoever is receiving it might not agree? Because I'm worried about being perceived as "bad"?
And the second I realized I was saying that, I immediately stopped. It was as if I was constantly admitting to myself and whomever I was speaking to that what I was about to say didn't have worth. It didn't have value. And it does, whether someone agrees with me or not.
The other thing I think I've been doing my entire life is asking the question, after expressing a thought or feeling, "Is that bad?" It took many counseling sessions for me to realize that it's important that I stop doing that or even allowing that thought to enter my brain. Because many things in life aren't actually good or bad (except the biggies: donating to a charity - good; committing murder - bad). Many things just are and by asking approval when expressing a thought or feeling...what an unnecessary headache I've been giving myself all these years.
No wonder my mind has been churning for so long.
I know I'm not the only one. I have been asked countless times my thoughts on when it's okay for someone to start dating, whether or not they did the "wrong" thing at a funeral, what an appropriate timeline is regarding several different aspects of widowhood. "I think I want to move from the home my husband and I shared our entire married lives. Is that bad?"
It's not good or bad. It just is. It's how you feel. You don't need my approval or anyone else's. It's where you are in your life in the moment.
Throughout the last few months, I've grappled with the whole acceptance thing. Actually, I've done that a few times throughout my entire life. And I'm not talking about not accepting that my husband died or anything like that. I'm talking about accepting where I am in the here and now, whether it's a good place or bad, and accepting it for what it is. I've spent so long trying to back-peddle against the things I didn't want to have happen and not stopping for a moment and saying, "Okay. This is it. This is your struggle. Accept it."
"You have anxiety. Accept it."
"Life is not what you thought it would be. Accept it."
"You are not good or bad. You're human. Accept it."
What a liberating feeling it is, those moments when I'm truly able to digest that. It's freeing. It's a gift. Right now it's a conscious decision to make my mind go there, but I'm hoping that at some point it will be effortless.
I'll have to work on it.
And I accept that.