By Kim Stevens-Redstone
There are so many stumbling blocks along the path to peace. Some of them are pebbles, some boulders, some mountains.
As we come upon each obstacle we always have a choice: navigate around it, or over it, or through it. We can also choose to avoid it, turn around, or change course entirely. It doesn’t matter which choice we make, or which direction we choose. As long as we keep moving we are still on the path to peace.
However, if we choose to stop dead in our tracks, and stand there bitching and complaining about the obstacles—thrashing about, kicking and screaming—no progress will be made. We are no longer on the path to peace if we choose to stand still. We are holding onto an idea of what we thought the path should be. We are holding onto our expectations of what might have been. We are deluded by our own images of what should’ve or could’ve been. We are sitting in the suffering of our own creation.
The only way out is acceptance of what actually is.
It takes a lot of strength to accept things as they actually are, and as they are not.
Today, I began the conscious, deliberate practice of acceptance. For the first time since my double mastectomy, I took off my shirt for meditation. I placed my left hand on the center of my chest. The palm of my hand was resting over my incision. I placed my right hand on top of my left and pressed down gently.
Tears began to form in my eyes. Not for what I felt beneath my hands, but for what I did not feel.
I must accept what is no longer, in order to accept what actually is.
I sat for five minutes inhaling and exhaling. Feeling the rise and fall of my newly flat chest under my hands.
Breathing in I accept what is right now.
Breathing out I accept what has passed.
Breathing in I accept what is right here.
Breathing out I accept what is gone.
Breathing in I accept what actually is.
Breathing out I accept what is not.
The process of acceptance has begun.
But don’t for a moment think my acceptance of the situation means that the situation doesn’t suck!
Acceptance is not the same as approval. It’s not the same as support, or permission. It does not necessarily imply consent or agreement. It is simply the process of recognizing what is. It is acknowledging that things are, in fact, as they are, then slowly coming to terms with them, and eventually making peace.
I have to accept what is so I can move forward, beyond this obstacle in my path, toward peace, from this very real place. This very real, pretty shitty place, that I will soften to and learn to accept, more every day, with every breath.
Kim Stevens-Redstone is. And she is so very happy to be. Sometimes she writes about it at skiptomyloumydharma.com, but mostly she just tries to flow with it, learn from it, and be amazed by it all.
Photo: author provided
Editor: Alicia Wozniak