I had a beautiful client yesterday who had recently received ‘No’s’ to things that she had asked for. She was feeling blocked and frustrated.
“I guess I just have to accept it” she said when every aspect of her body language was shouting the opposite.
It led us onto a discussion about acceptance and change. When do we accept what is happening and when do we try to change it?
There is the Serenity Prayer of course – “God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” But within this there are so many nuances and so many levels of possibility that it doesn’t really help that much. After all there are very few things for which change is not an option.
I read an article once about acceptance in which the author described how she used to get fed up with her husband when he left the the teaspoon on the counter top after he had made his coffee every day. The route she took was to remind herself daily of how much loved her husband, of how much he did for her, of how inconsequential a teaspoon on the counter was. So every day she put the teaspoon in the dishwasher for him with love.
But change would also have been possible. And there are an infinite number of ways she could have changed the situation from simply asking her husband to put the teaspoon in the dishwasher to blowing up the house so that the teaspoon, the husband and the dishwasher were no longer a factor.
I love Byron Katie’s quote, “When I argue with reality, I lose. But only 100% of the time.” What is the reality? The husband leaves the teaspoon on the counter. We can accept that. We can love him for doing it, we can love everything about him and we can still ask him to put it in the dishwasher. Because when we create change from a place of acceptance and love we create the conditions in which change can happen in the simplest, easiest, most loving way. Asking for or doing things from a place of resistance, anger or frustration means that we only go on to create more of the same and before we know it we are inadvertently blowing up the house and the husband.
So where I go to with my clients is towards acceptance of reality, of love and connection with the people around us, of joy and gratitude for all we have exactly as it is. Along the way we become clear about what it really is we are accepting. We drop the meanings, the associations, the inferences, the predictions, the gloom and doom.
And from that place of clarity and simplicity, if it would be useful or helpful to us to have someone put a teaspoon in the dishwasher then that is what will happen.