“A miracle is a shift in perspective from fear to love.” ~ Gabrielle Bernstein
In response to my recent post, For Newtown…For Newtown, and to my most recent newsletter, one of my readers wrote:
“This has all affected us so much. I can’t imagine what it’s done to you. Tonight I participated in a philanthropic event, and that sort of helped. But, this is just too much. I also read your acceptance post, and found it interesting. But how can change ever happen, if we just accept things, and not try to change them?”
First let me share what I wrote in my newsletter:
“…since I last wrote, a lot has happened. I don’t need to share the details here because you all know what I am talking about. I never thought I’d have a reason to say this, but I grew up in Newtown and graduated from high school there. I haven’t lived there in nearly 30 years, but it is my “hometown.”
At times like these, we often find ourselves in reaction mode.
Three mottoes by which I try and live my life are:
Be for, not against: meaning that when I express myself in regards to that which I support (rather than railing against that which I do not), I am much more effective.
Practice don’t preach: meaning, it’s so much easier and effective for me to be an example than it is to try and tell others “how to.”
It’s not mine to fix: meaning, all I can do is focus on and correct my own behavior, not on trying to control or fix others.
In the wake of last week’s events, I found myself breaking my own rules, as if I had actually forgotten them. I found myself reacting, debating, resisting, wanting to fix and control, and rolling my eyes in contempt.
This used to be par-for-the-course behavior for me and, as a result, I often turned to (too much) food and wine and/or overspending in an effort to make myself feel better.
But I was able to quickly catch myself and remind myself that the world doesn’t need any more of that.
I whispered acceptance to myself.”
First, in response to “This has all affected us so much. I can’t imagine what it’s done to you.”
This is where the difference between clean and dirty pain comes in. In response to what happened I felt a range of emotions, from shock and disbelief to incredible sorrow and grief. Those are “clean” emotions. Feeling them is both understandable and productive in terms of mind/body/spirit health.
I also found myself arguing with others about the subject of guns, mental illness, and what should or should not happen. For me, arguing comes from a place of dirty pain (fear, desperation, anger). Trying to convince someone – who has beliefs different than mine – that their beliefs are wrong, is, to me, not only counterproductive, but I don’t feel good when I do so. And when I don’t feel good, I don’t do good.
“But how can change ever happen, if we just accept things, and not try to change them?”
My experience has shown me that it is only when I accept reality that I am able to change. And, I accept that I can ONLY change me…not anyone or anything else.
So what is acceptance? Acceptance is a matter of acknowledging reality, rather than living in a state of denial or “shoulds.” It happened and it can’t be changed. What we choose to do now depends on what we think and how we feel as a result. I know that acceptance is often confused with love and/or approval (and when I first started out on the acceptance journey, that’s how I viewed it).
I’ll say it again: acceptance is acknowledgement of reality, not resistance of it. And so with that in mind, when we accept, we are able to change.
How do we change? Think different thoughts. All action is the result of thought. Simple, but not always easy.
What do you think? Talk about a loaded question.
Note: I am honored to be part of a group of EFT practitioners who are working to bring healing to Newtown. You can read more about the effort here and here.