October 02, 2009

Acceptance in 2009

This time of the year is often a time of reflection for me. The season is changing, my birthday is fast approaching and the holidays are right around the corner. It feels like a time for change. And it is. Many things are different this year than they were last. I am getting into the groove of the job I began a little more than a year ago. I moved, I finished one degree and began another. I have allowed myself to form more friendships and have changed the path of others.

The biggest thing I believe I am learning to embrace is change. I realize acceptance of the way things are is an important element to my happiness. It was in 1993 when I memorized what was then page 449 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. This was the key to serenity, I was told…..“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment”.

And in fact, sixteen years later I find that to be the truth. While I memorized the words of that passage in 1993, I have absorbed it in 2009. The truth is, things are as they are. My mom has cancer. Significant relationships have changed. I am turning 40. I have lost some friends. I have gained some new ones. Days continue to pass and I continue to learn.

Things are not bad or good. Things just are. My attitude toward them is the main thing I can control. Attempts to control the other parts only causes me worry and unnecessary misery. Acceptance isn’t so bad.

Recently, someone challenged me with something they heard Victor Frankl say when they heard him speak. He asked, “when you have lost everything – family, material possessions, belongings – when you are standing naked….what do you have that cannot be taken away? Those are the things I can be grateful for on the days I believe I have nothing else.

There are many things I am grateful for.

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