Acceptance

I once lived some summers in a little hill town in Mexico. The front door of our house had no doorknob or handle. It had a small hole in the middle. From inside a string was attached to the latch, so one could thread the string through the hole and a person on the outside could then pull the string, lift the latch and enter. For me, this is a great image for the acceptance process. We begin from within, we somehow dare to send out a little string through a small hole in our psychological armor and allow entry for something new without being able to see what it is ahead of time.

Phrases posted on Facebook, November 2021

Probably most of us have a pet peeve that always gets us. We somehow can’t not react whether it’s a tone of voice, an irritating habit, thoughtlessness  . . . a something. Usually back of that niggling reactivity is an old hurt. Until we shed some loving light on it, we will continue to react. Even when we know what it’s all about, we may react, but it might be to a lesser degree. The acceptance and the tending of our old wounds is a powerful peace practice. We help clean up the world by caring for and accepting our wounds.
To accept is not a command “to have to like” something or to be “cowed and burdened” into things we think we have to do. I think it asks us to soften the natural need for security and to become more inclusive, curious and willing. I don’t hear the practice of acceptance demand that we  “accept or else”. Rather it reminds us that we are more generous and spacious than we think we are.
There is only one way to yield to the rain . . . that is to accept getting wet. It’s the same for love, challenges, life and the whole astonishment.
If you and I could just be a little more accepting of our foibles and failings (therefore of the foibles and failings of others) we would find ourselves attending a “come as you are” party . . . no frills, lots of surprises and probably some fun.
Here’s an image of possible acceptance by poet, Lucille Clifton: “You might as well answer the door, my child, the truth is furiously knocking.”
I love this wisdom about acceptance from the eminent psychologist, James Hillman: “Until the culture recognizes the legitimacy of growing down, each person in the culture struggles blindly to make sense of the darkness that the soul requires to deepen into life.”
A favorite poet, Wendell Berry in his poem, The Wild Geese, writes:  . . . “we pray not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye clear. What we need is here.”
Each and every goodness given to us is no good to us unless we accept it.
In many spiritual traditions a depth teaching is to accept everything, good, bad or indifferent. What a tall order!  Bottom line it boils down to the truth that there is no “except” in accept.
The more we accept (this does not mean that we let ourselves be squelched nor that we don’t have things that are ours to do for others and the world) the more we can grow in understanding and flexibility until perhaps we will be found to be immense inside.
Here’s a follow up on the last post regarding being immense inside. I love the practice I call “that, too”. Rather then fight what arises in reaction within me, I practice saying “that, too” as a way to be inclusive. Whether it is something I fear,  find unacceptable or love, the “that, too” attitude makes room for it. Important here is not to go into whatever it is  nor to attach to it. Sometimes I am amazed how much can be jostling within and there is still room for sunshine.
Last day of November, I am sure you are as astounded as I am how much our world is changing and how fast! It’s hard to adjust, hard to understand, hard to accept and be changed by. But that is what acceptance is . . . a willingness to be changed.