Thursday, May 27, 2010

Radical Acceptance.

I reached a point over the last year where I looked over my life and rather than taking an inventory of everything that needed improving, I stopped. And breathed. And asked myself, What if nothing about my life changes from the way it is right now, in this moment? Could I live with that? Could I find joy in this life, the one that is right here, right now? And I waited for a response.

Within moments, the cacophony of my mind became very loud. This lasted for quite some time. All the different voices began chiming in: But what about your health? Can you really live with chronic pain for the rest of your life? And what about your writing? What if you never get a book published? Or what about love? What if you never get to spend your life with a man that you love so completely and truly? What if you never get to have a child? What if your financial situation never changes? What if this is as good as it gets?

Of course, we all know that the nature of life is to change. Constantly. But I needed to face all of these different scenarios in my mind. What if I never achieve what, in this moment, I feel I want to achieve? Can I find a way to get up every morning and smile, even if I'm in pain, even if my heart hurts, even if the page remains blank and my womb remains barren? Can I find joy in the living of life as it is, without the impositions of my will? Can I meet life as it is, right here, right now?

I was surprised to find a cascade of grief flow through me. The whole process was akin to confronting my own death, because the reality is we can be here one moment and not the next. There are no guarantees any of us will get everything, or anything, we really want. The great cosmic joke is that there never was any guarantee. We are just told stories early in life about what we can achieve, along with the unspoken promise that we will achieve them, that life and time will allow us the means to have, do and be everything that we want. It is a lie. A sweet lie. A glorious lie. But a lie nonetheless.

And so, my mind, my heart, my body, took its time with all of the stories I'd lined up over a lifetime. All of the "I can't be happy until..." stories I've weaved across my 35 years on this planet, along with the "If I just improved this about me or my life..." and the "I can't wait until..." I questioned each of them to their very core. And found stories within stories within stories. None of which had any basis in the reality of this moment, right here. They were all constructs of the past or wishes for the future. And as I've discovered time and time again since leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses five years ago, the mind is capable of weaving elaborate stories that appear so very real. But they are not real. They are stories. Stories of heros and heroines. Of love and hate. Peace and war. Highs and lows. Stories with happy endings. And stories with sad ones. All great and amazing stories. But stories nonetheless.

As I let these stories play through my mind, I laughed and smiled, cried and grieved, wondered and watched. All so very entertaining. And then, one day, a smile came upon me, the smile that creeps up from somewhere you can't define, as if you've been kissed by the sun while the rest of the universe looks on. And I accepted this life, all of it, exactly as it is, right now in this moment, not looking ahead, not looking back, just filled with complete joy. Here. Now.

And suddenly

Everything

Everything.

Is okay

Just as it is.

tall penguin

2 comments:

brad said...

Amen, and I use that word with no religious bias. When one realizes this is it,it can be quite empowering really. As the saying goes "Don't take life to seriously; no one gets out alive.Been reading you writing now for almost two years (I too am an exxer)this is my first comment and I mostly want to say Thank-you ! Peace

tall penguin said...

I'm honored to have had your presence on my blog for so long, Brad. I bow to thee, fellow traveler.