October 19, 2010
Seems like we are walking through times that are filled with all sorts of difficulties, and it is quite universal. Almost everyone I know is feeling it in one way or another, whether in their pocketbook, their significant relationship or marriage, their health, or with the loss of their job or of a loved one.
It is not fun when our lives are shaken up by change. We humans really, really like certainty and security. But these are clearly not the times for that. So what are we to do? The challenge of intense change is here. How should we respond?
I have been contemplating this very deeply, of late, for in my case, I have been facing the recent, and very unexpected death of a younger brother. In the midst of the pain, the sadness, the discomfort of dealing with this loss, the answer is clear: I must simply accept what is.
This is vital for me right now, and for everyone who is faced with difficult circumstances. Acceptance does not mean resignation, giving up, or not taking needed action. Acceptance means we are connected with reality. It means that we are not pretending, avoiding or sticking our heads in the sand. Only when we accept what is, can we take the next step and make the necessary response.
I have a client, an amazing and gifted woman, who is dealing with the loss of a parent and of her job in the same month. Impossible stuff! But by staying in the moment, by not giving into fearful interpretations of what is happening, and mostly by completely accepting what is, she is rapidly moving into a place where she is able to create new possibilities for herself.
We can spend a lot of time arguing with reality, “Why is this happening to me?”
Or fighting with ourselves, “How could I be so stupid!”
We could get stuck in worry, self doubt, or negative thinking and believe the world is crashing down around us. But none of that is of any use, it only makes matters worse. Simply accepting the circumstance or event, without making up stories about what it means, is the best, first-response to a big life challenge.
Acceptance means being present. It means breathing in and out. It means feeling the feeling, whatever it may be. And acceptance allows us to act potently.
El Malei Rachamim is the traditional memorial prayer wherein we ask the divine to reclaim the soul of our departed loved one. It is a prayer based on the deepest acceptance of the true nature of life. And as I found out, it is a most powerful, most remarkable prayer for wholeness and completion.
Yes, acceptance is the foundation for transcending whatever challenge we may be facing. For as much as it may seem otherwise, we are not victims of life. Within us, resides our soul, that divine spark that can fill us with the inner strength and courage we need so that we can accept change, move forward, create anew.
Misha Henckel leads workshops and advises business leaders and world changers. Follow her on Twitter @mishahenckel. Email firstname.lastname@example.org