“We bring alive the experience of Radical Acceptance when, instead of resisting emotional pain, we are able to say yes to our experience” “Yes is an inner practice of acceptance in which we willingly allow our thoughts and feelings to naturally arise and pass away”
“Saying yes is not a way of manipulating our experience, but rather and aid to opening to life as it is. Yet regardless of how our experience unfolds, by agreeing to what is here, we offer it the space to express and move through us”.
“Our practice of saying yes is not limited to our immediate experience. We can say yes to the whole life we are living. Yes to our friendships, to our parenting, to our physical appearance, to our personality, to our work, to our spiritual path” “There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life. With even a glimmer of that possibility joy rushes in. When we put down ideas of what life should be like we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to life as it is”
( Tara Brach from her book Radical Acceptance)
I though I was through with my year of the YES.
Not totally of course, I like to take each years words and hold to them, learn from them, re-use them as needed. YES has been my favorite word, my first word. But this idea of Radical Acceptance has me by the throat (in a good way) and I see that YES is in no way finished with me, may never be
I am quoting a lot from Tara Brach because, although I have been assiduously listing to her dharma talks, reading her books, and doing her guided meditations, it is only now that I am really starting to understand what I have learned, am learning. Of course that makes complete sense; I am the slow learner, the experiential learner, the “takes what it takes” learner. And the good in that is that I find when it finally comes it seems to stick. And that when it finally comes it hasn’t really finally come, there is always so much more to learn, but suddenly I see it, am open to it.
The picture above is an example of life throwing me a big “HELLO” ! My friend Brian Andreas wrote this new story and I knew it was meant for me (not literally, it spoke to me though). It was the YES in all it’s glory and I needed it. I immediately commented and thanked him and asked about a print. He told me he was playing with these new wood block things and if I waited maybe I could get in on that, and that sounded great. So I waited and waited, (seriously maybe 2 weeks but it seemed like forever). I asked him again about it and he told me that they had decided to NOT produce these, for a number of reasons, but he did have this ONE. This ORIGINAL one of a kind and would I like it? YES! I listened and accepted and now I have that on my table and it is the only one. It is a message to me.
(See all of Brians brilliant work here…..http://www.storypeople.com/storypeople/Home.do)
And then I started to re-read Radical Acceptance and everywhere I turned there were situations arising within me and without that made it clear that there was much work to do and yet also brought into clear focus the work I had been doing and how it was all coming together, falling into place.
The YES came back in full force as acceptance, as falling back into the arms of a universe that wants good for me. Allowing my feelings to be what they are and not stifle them or judge them, but be willing to work with them in a positive way to allow me to live with them and to feel like I am insane or suicidal or giving up. There is such freedom in acceptance, of non-attachment. The freedom in being ready for whatever will come and not afraid of any of it. Learning how to live completely in the space of what is, fully surrendered to that. The HOPE that is there. After all the need and want and fear and judgement, the place of hope, of heart opening and of loving THIS life.
To wholeheartedly say YES and start to dance, to allow joy to rush in, to accept what is. Brene Brown says that “our capacity to be wholehearted cannot exceed our willingness to be brokenhearted”, and that fits with Tara’s “seeing and feeling the degree of suffering we are living with reconnects us to our heart.”
It is all determined by the simple act of saying yes. Yes to it all. That can include yes to non-attachment, to letting go of people, things, ideas that are no longer serving. Letting go of certain hopes and dreams that are just keeping me stuck in a place of not good enough or not accepting the “what is” of my life. Accepting that I may be alone ( and that is in the specific, not the more beautiful and true general knowledge that I am never alone) and that’s ok. Accepting that particular dance, joy may not happen in my life again and that will have to be fine. I have been stretched thin, full of fear and anger and sadness about that and I can let it go and be happy with what is, right now, right here.
“Our practice of saying yes is not limited to our immediate experience. We can say yes to the whole life we are living. Yes to our friendships, to our parenting, to our physical appearance, to our personality, to our work, to our spiritual path” “There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life. With even a glimmer of that possibility joy rushes in. When we put down ideas of what life should be like we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to life as it is”.
Saying Yes to what is, that radical acceptance is what I want, how I want to live today. Re-structuring my life around and despite my broken heart, my suffering. That same suffering has led to much joy, awareness and usefulness. There are two sides to everything, the yin and the yang (no longer the good and the bad), and honestly living in both is the change that I am hoping for.