Radical acceptance is an alternative to labeling situations, things, or people as “good” and “bad.” It’s settling into the space that opens up when we stop reacting so strongly to outcomes. This space for me takes the form of my thoughts, breathing, and sight slowing to a pace where I can take in and touch the sense of immense beauty and wonder in the world: the breeze against the trees, a smile on my loved ones face, opportunity that can come from loss, and the little things to be grateful for throughout my busy days.
How grateful am I to have a roadmap called the 12 steps. The spiritual principles they’re built around have become embedded in my own spiritual program. They serve as my guideposts to help me know I am on track. Basically they are honesty, acceptance, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, forgiveness, sincerity, perseverance, serenity, and service.
Peeling the onion – one giant onion comprised of seemingly infinite layers of thin, translucent resistance, know-it-all-ness, habits, misunderstandings, misinterpretations, the BS of erroneous Belief Systems, and just plain growing beyond the point I have arrived at so far – that is my objective . . . Being comfortable being uncomfortable – I’m starting to learn how. No, I don’t like it. But I am willing to be uncomfortable in my quest to navigate and attain the next phase of awareness. I am coming to believe it’s a requirement.
Lately people in my day-to-day life have battled suicidal thoughts, fallen off the wagon, lost a loved one in a heartbreaking manner, and been painfully dumped. I used to dramatically interpret these types of events, or make some kind of self-righteous judgement. Which I know now is code for: things I feared could just as easily be happening to me.
So much has been spoken, written, and sung about pain as the vehicle to a marvelous experience of healing, even about the reality being beautifully beyond imagination, that it must be true. How wonderful to have that lifeline to hold on to when things are falling apart. Maybe what is happening is that things are just in the midst of falling together.
In general, giving up sounds like defeat. In sobriety, giving up is a gift. Think surrender, letting go. And in the process, finding every wonderful thing waiting on the other side. This week’s guest post from Laura McKowen’s wonderful blog speaks to this idea rather beautifully.
Getting sober is the greatest gift I ever gave myself. It’s my key to being able to enjoy all of the other many gifts of my life – those I have created, those I have attracted, those I have lucked into – and all combos of this interrelated energy. Being sober for me goes so far beyond The Rooms of AA – which I do consider sacred space. I have noticed though that many people seem to operate solely within the AA community . . . But it’s been very enriching and so much fun experimenting with other tribes for myself.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experiences can benefit others. The feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.