Awareness, Acceptance, Action: three words, three steps, the path to serenity and peace, in that order.
I don’t think it’s fluke that in this line up of Awareness, Acceptance, and Action, Acceptance is the longest word. Acceptance is always the longest step for me. I’m pretty self aware, and the older and healthier I get the more open I am to Awareness of my actions and attitudes. But Acceptance, Acceptance is like a sand pit, rough and scratchy and hard to wade through. So often I try and vault over Acceptance altogether to land on the cushy mat of Action.
Action is perceivably easy. It’s doing something, it’s a movement, a gesture, a physical expression that something has shifted, changed. The problem is when I vault over Acceptance my Action becomes actions; moving and changing and gesturing over and over and over again until I am exhausted. I accomplish nothing, because at my core I have accepted nothing. I just moved and changed and bent and twisted to feel something different, but the reality that I have not made peace with is still staring me in the face. And now I’m too tired to deal with any of it so I turn to another “A,” Avoidance, for awhile, filling my days with books and shows and coffee dates, so I don’t have to look at the reality that I find unpalatable.
Until one day I wake up and Awareness is staring me down again, as if to say, “Girl, I’ve got your number. You are avoiding, and hiding, and you aren’t going to feel any better until you do the work of accepting things as they are, today. The past is gone and tomorrow isn’t here, so get up and let’s get started.”
I want to flip Awareness the bird. I don’t want to be painfully aware of all of my thoughts and actions and how those things are feeding stories I’ve held onto as the God’s honest truth for years. Instead, I want my stories to be true, and I want everyone else on board with the way I see things. And this is where I grab my pole, step back and take a running leap right over Acceptance into Action. Fear spurring me on, whispering, “faster, faster, move, move, don’t stop because Acceptance is too messy.” I end up scrambling around trying to change the minds and hearts of all the people everywhere, all the while neglecting to change my own.
I’m in that painfully awkward season now, that time between eye opening Awareness and heart opening Acceptance. Each day working to quiet the voice of fear and sit rooted in reality.
Truthfully, it sucks. Being fully aware of something and not being in full acceptance of it scrapes like sandpaper. I’m grouchy, irritable, and have pretty short fuse. I cry when I’m trying to make sense of it all. And I shake my fist at the sky a lot, asking for things to be different, so I won’t have to do the hard work of Acceptance.
So as this old year drifts into the new, I will allow that sandpaper to do its work, to make its grit smooth out the rough places and soften my hard edges. In 2018 I worked to illuminate all of my dark corners, to sweep out the baggage and resentments that darkened my soul. This year, 2019, the word I most want to represent my life is “soft.”
Soft as in bringing ease, comfort, or quiet, marked by a gentleness, kindness, or tenderness, and permitting someone or something to sink in.
In a life that has been a steady stream of big events, I long for living with the ease, comfort, and quiet that the word soft evokes. Even more so I want my character to be one that embodies gentleness, kindness, and tenderness. And mostly I want to be soft enough to let God do the work in my heart that will allow love to sink in. I no longer want to use the pole of fear to vault over the place where love lies: Acceptance.