Oh, how my heart runs and hides at the word acceptance. How am I supposed to accept the pain and brokenness this world has so generously wrapped around me.
Creating joy doesn’t just mean only looking at what I can change to make my life clutter free and beautifully decorated. It means I have to come to see that some of my pain is just reality and I can sit and wallow or accept it and keep moving forward.
With the goal to keep moving forward, I have decided to accept that I have a few areas in my beliefs that could use some cleaning up and some that could use a little acceptance.
One belief that I have is: One can’t meditate and entirely give in to a yoga flow practice without letting the dark side take over. You may laugh, but I was raised under the impression that if you are too quiet in your mind satin himself will move right in. I feel however that this may, in fact, be the complete opposite. If I keep letting myself destructive habits and my constant inner chatter keep going crazy how on earth will the creator of my soul ever have a chance to talk to me. I have learned that over the last couple of years the more I listen to my breathing the more oxygen I take in. Did you know you can up your chances of better health if you just breathe deep into your body, so your cells have access to enough oxygen? Did you know your cells can’t survive without oxygen? Who knew, right! Your welcome.
My favorite way to breathe is to close my eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to meet me there in my mind. I begin to breathe in ever so slowly through my nose. I roll my eyes back and let the oxygen rush through my head. As I continue to breathe like this, my mind calms, and all of the creation shows its beautiful face. Sometimes it’s just a dark, quiet space. This usually comes when I have been overstimulated for too long with very little alone time. It is calming and often just what my mind needs, a place to rest. Sometimes there is a light off in the distance. It feels like it is just behind me. God himself is near, and I can feel the hairs on my neck stand up and a rush of energy flow through me. Other times I will close my eyes and ask to see. I want to see the beauty I can’t always see when my chit chattery mind won’t stop, and my eyes see too much. The Holy Spirit offers up a vivid image of beauty. My favorite is when I am looking at a spinning nebula it feels as if I am witnessing the birth of the universe in some way. As if I am being given a place to travel amongst the stars and watch the creator at work.
Deep breathing and meditation haven’t always been a part of how I connect with God, but I am honored to be on this journey now. I never understood the power and energy a yoga session can give me until I hurt my back and had to think of a different way to heal my body. I watched a video that went into the science behind yoga. The gentlemen speaking talked about how when you put the body under a controlled stress such as a difficult yoga position and you practice breathing deeply. You are training your body to respond differently when under stress. By staying put in the hard, remembering I am safe and giving my body the oxygen it needs to continue, I am changing my habits from run and hide to breathe and hold. Again, who knew breathing was good for you.
Turning my mind inward and asking the Spirit of Truth to wrap light around the thoughts I need to accept has been interesting.
First, I’ll start by saying that realizing that accepting my pain as reality isn’t the same as pretending that it isn’t there. I am a pro at pretending my grief and rage are not real. They, however, are very real and quite often come out at very inconvenient times. For instance when my husband so graciously tells me that someone I know said to him how much they love my work. We were out on a date. It caught me off guard, and it made me feel so good that I started crying. I realized I had been second guessing myself and needed to know that someone I didn’t even know was reading my work loved it. I had hidden my fear so deeply that when I was complemented and that fear was ever so sweetly soothed it fell from its hiding place like rain drops cleaning my soul.
Second, I am discovering that acceptance is the sword that cuts through all of this resistance, allowing us to relax, to see clearly, and to respond appropriately.* As I mentioned earlier, I hurt my back last year, and it has been a slow healing. The kind that makes you wonder if you will come back to yourself. Just as everything has been aligning back up and pain has stopped following my movements somehow a rib has popped out of place. As I laid on the floor following my yoga practice this morning, I was almost in tears asking why this happened. I can’t think of any trauma my body has been through to cause my rib to shift ever so slightly out of its place. I thought about this lesson, learning to accept what I can not change and change what I can. I can’t do anything about my rib at 6:30 am on a Friday morning, but I can continue to breathe. I can slowly make my way off the floor and out to my porch with a cup so steamy you can see it dancing just above the rim. I can grab my pillow for my back, and I can write while my puppy skittishly runs around the porch.
As I come to this turning point, I am feeling ever so refreshed. Breathing in new and accepting what can not be changed is creating more joy than I could have ever imagined.
May you too find a space to breathe in the world around you and be brave enough to choose acceptance of what you can not change in order to live a fully oxygenated balanced life.
*This is a beautifully painted line from The Book Of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams.