Personal Reflections and Insights on Acceptance

Following on with the theme of radical acceptance Dew on The Grass blog is currently posting on the theme of Acceptance.
What can I say? Take some time to read these articles, benefit from the insights and truths so clearly and tenderly expressed. I have.

I step into the water. The riverbed slopes gently and I walk forward, slowly and deliberately, into the deeper water. At waist level, I pause, giving my body time to adjust. I have to remember to put my hands into the water. My instinct is to hold them high. I bend my knees and the water rises inch by inch up to my shoulders. The trick is to do everything gradually.
Winter Wild Swimming by Chris Yoemans

Acceptance’, it turns out, is a trigger word for me, bringing with it some strong emotions, which have made writing this blog difficult, despite several attempts to do so.

Mostly, it has brought into sharp focus, remnants of non-acceptance and feelings of grief, through remembrances of the breakup of my parent’s marriage, some sixty years ago, and also the feelings of loss that I feel for my own marriage, not through abandonment, but through the illness and decline of a spouse.
Coming to Rest by Karen Richards

Looking up the etymology of the word “acceptance”, amongst the definitions I found, what stuck out for me was: to get without effort, to assent to the reality of a situation.
Some years ago I wrote an article called “Dealings with Pain” on dealing with excessive physical pain. The article is in fact about the process of how to assent to the reality of a situation. The keyword here is, I think, “reality”.
When we find ourselves in a situation that feels unbearable, unacceptable, we feel that we, that is “I”, the self, is in that situation and limited by it. That is a very narrow perspective of reality, of the self, a belief that warrants closer examination.
On Acceptance by Anna Aysea

The Light in Your Eyes

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

This is a poem that reaches to the core isn’t it? Of love. Of loss. Of recognition? Of that which doesn’t die, the light in your eye. Even unto physical death. Is not approving, not resigned to death of a loved one, an expression of non-acceptance? Or is it…radical acceptance. Acceptance of the complexity of life and death, of love and all the thoughts and emotions we can manifest?

Second Self?

mini-ponyBelow is a poem, titled Freedom, by Simon Fletcher. It touched a spot for a Jade reader, and for me too.


I stroll up to the branching waterfall;
work done, I need fresh air and to be free.

It takes so long to find one’s second self,
it seems, and there you are, a friend and free

of negatives, who tops me up on tap.
Your love’s an ancient waterfall, a free

resource of life that brings me to my senses,
always there, flows from the hills, the free

and purple-hearted mountains, deep in clouds,
where ponies, wilder creatures wander free.

I tumble in your love and, smiling, know
you’ve given me permission to be free.
Simon Fletcher

Yes, it does seem on a certain level that the deepest part of ourselves, when ‘touched’, feels other. So unlike myself, one may think. Another case of attempting to refrain from slapping labels onto experience.

This morning the sun is shining, pain levels are less and that’s a good thing. Thanks to all who have wished me well this past (two) months. Help has come my way in many forms – and I’m so grateful. Tomorrow is, however, another day….

The Importance of being Honest

A horse in a field. The hedges and fences are high, the gate is closed. The wind gets up, her tail plumes, she starts to gallop about. This way and that. Excited, disturbed, turbulent. Confined. All sense of herself caught up in the moment. All sense of her surroundings. Lost sight of. Round and round, tossing and turning, hooves trample. The unnoticed grass beneath her toes.

Been there, ever? Wanted a way out? Tried jumping the ‘fence’? Push through the hedge? Into the next ‘field’, and the next?

Now, the wind drops. Slowly she, gradually, returning to herself. And that which sustains. Munch, munch. Until the next time!

Been there? Ever? Repeatedly? YES! And in children’s stories, I so loved, the horse jumps the gate and gallops about. Free to adventure, meeting challenges and dangers.

And for us? We adults? When the ‘winds’ diminish. Yes, the grass. The air stills. Back to ourselves. Honestly

What does she decide?
To jump?
To push on confinement?
Wait until circumstances
opens the gate?
Eat grass?

All of the above!

NB: You might be interest to listen to this Dharma Talk by Rev. Roland ‘Giving up Everything’.

In my experience, giving up and letting go involves ‘All of the Above’. ‘Letting go’ isn’t in the least bit what we imagine it to be. Thank goodness for the ‘grass’. Thank goodness for that which ‘holds’ us.