Radical Acceptance

This month I’ve been rereading Tara Brach’s book “Radical Acceptance”. It’s an awesome book filled with wisdom about living a life of self-compassion.

Leaf through a copy at the bookstore just so you can read the uplifting quotes at the beginning of each chapter.

Here’s one from the chapter entitled “Waking from the Trance: The Path of Radical Acceptance”.

Last night as I was sleeping
I dreamt—marvelous error!–
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.
Antionio Machado
(translated by Robert Bly)

There is such deliciousness in that last line…”sweet honey from my old failures”. Oh, the freedom of knowing that all is not for naught.

Learning from the ups and downs in our lives can be that way if we choose to look from that perspective. Our “failures” lead us to the honey of our desires.

Reading the book has helped me renew my commitment to looking at myself more often, with open eyes and an open heart.

Many of us have spent most of our lives “living in a trance of unworthiness”, as Tara Brach puts it. We have grown accustomed to our cruel inner dialogue, so much so, that generally we are not even aware of it.

And when we do notice it, we have no idea what steps to take to change it.

Today on my morning walk, I had the opportunity to put my Radical Acceptance practice into action. You might be noticing over these past few weeks how many insights arise on my morning walks. Right now they seem to be a necessary part of my awakening.

As I was walking I was aware of a part of me that felt burdened, tired and heavy. I was not the least bit excited about taking part in a community conversation called “Peterborough Dialogues” LINK that was going to begin later today. When I’d signed up a few weeks ago, I was over the moon with excitement. I’d had the feeling that I HAD to be there. What a wonderful feeling!

There have been a number of times in my life that I had a sense of rightness and then wrongness set in. I am used to this pattern but it’s very confusing when I’m smack in the middle of it.

Today when I was feeling burdened I decided it was time for a conversation, a conversation to practice radical acceptance.

“Hello. I’m noticing you. I’m listening. Please say what you have to say. Is there more? OK, I hear you. I get it”. Gradually, I felt a shift and my feelings began to settle.

There was room for more than that one part. Another part was present too, a part that knew the importance of my presence at the community conversation. A part that was aware of the gifts I have to share and the gifts I might receive in taking part.

A wise part of me had entered into the conversation.

Here’s another quote from “Radical Acceptance”.

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am,
then I can change.
Carl Rogers

I didn’t suddenly feel “YES” but I no longer felt “NO”. I was aware of the multifaceted voices within me. I had taken a step in a direction that felt more free, the direction of willingness to hear them all.

I had entered the place that Tara Brach speaks of when she says that there comes a time when “we trust that place of tenderness more than we believe that story”.

It is a very sweet place.

I went to “Peterborough Dialogues” today and it was AWESOME! It felt uplifting, connecting, kind, honest, intimate, fun and life affirming in every way.

When you hear that voice that seemingly tries to stop you from following through on your heart’s desire…

Take a breath.
Give that voice your undivided attention.
Enlist curiosity.
Bow down to the process that invites self-compassion.
Allow your burdens to be lifted.

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One Comment

  1. Rachael Simpson
    Posted April 2, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The poem by A. Machado was so wonderful! I am going to write it out and put it up where I can see it every day. Thank you Jovanna, for another uplifting blog. ‘Can’t wait to look through the “Radical Acceptance” book.
    Love, Rachael

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