Thursday, May 6, 2010

Acceptance

DJ and I have been arguing about proper attire in the spring weather. The problem is that it changes daily in the Midwest, and while we could comfortably wear shorts earlier in the week, we will need jackets tomorrow. Yesterday he lamented that the weather "goes back and forth and back and forth and back and forth before it's finally warm!" Yep. That's right. We could fight the weather each day and keep wishing it was warm, but wishing don't make the sun shine, now does it?
We live in a society that is always searching for something better. We think a few more dollars, a better house, or sunny spring weather will bring us joy. Yet we are often disappointed to find we don't really feel that much differently even when we get what we want. Then we want something else... Consider common Midwestern small-talk (which is almost always about the weather): We go from complaining about the cold to moaning about the heat. We are not content with the present, and we are wasting time wishing it could be different.
Why are we so attached to one particular outcome? I used to make myself crazy worrying about things outside my control, hoping and praying events would turn out the way I wanted. I was fairly certain our trip to the water park would be ruined if it was cool, and obsessively checked the weather before we left. It was cool, and we spent more time at the indoor slides. And everyone had a great time. And... all that worrying was for nothing! Who says there is only one way for us to be happy?
I have only recently started to look at this tendency in myself, and I am learning about acceptance. In yoga, we practice "non-attachment" to the outcome on the mat, knowing that if we fall we just have to get up again. The perfect pose may be there one day, but not the next, so we accept where we are on this day. As so many yogic teachings do, this one works in real life, too. If I stay accepting of any outcome, be it the weather, the new patient who may be difficult, or the traffic, I remain calm and peaceful inside. No matter what is happening around me. I'm not saying this is easy. I have to remind myself constantly to let go of my attachment to a wished-for result. It is harder this time of year, because I can't disagree with DJ, I do wish it was warm and sunny! I want to get to the point of acceptance, so that rain or sun, my attitude doesn't change.

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