Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Saturday, May 16, 2020

It's Raining! Yup!

Today I am thinking about acceptance

Sometimes it is hard to explain acceptance
For me acceptance means, simply,
holding space for the things that come along
But not holding on to the things that come along

It means noticing thoughts and feelings
And even, perhaps, certain realities

But not fusing with those things

Not being trapped by them
Driven by them
Controlled by them
Defined by them

The alternative to acceptance is pain
Not just pain, but what some call “sticky pain”

We have the thought
We have the feeling
We experience the event

And instead of noticing that thought, or feeling
We grab hold of it
We gnaw on it, masticate it
Swallow it
Digest and absorb it
We participate in kind of a dark “reverse” communion
That instead of filling, empties

And this causes pain
Because now we have the thought and the feeling
All the stuff that has come up
All the patterned avoidance behaviors that make things worse

Pain has created pain has created pain

Covid-19 comes along, with all of its ramifications
And as we think about this virus
Stuff comes up
Fear perhaps
Or anger

And so many thoughts
I wonder if I am going to die?
I can’t survive without my job!
I am going to lose everything!
People are going to forget me, and I’ll be all alone!

and so the bad times roll and
we go from feeling to feeling
from thought to thought

nobody misses me
nobody care about me
I am expendable
I am worthless
I am not enough

Stick pain

The original pain of the virus, and our current situation
All the things we have now added to that pain

Acceptance takes us down a different path
We notice all that stuff that comes up
But we don’t fuse with it

We label it, yes
“I am feeling afraid”
“I am feeling worthless”

And we accept it for what it is
A normal human feeling that comes up in times like these

“Hey, I am having a human experience”

And then we let go

Not an easy task

I remember reading a quote for Ann Landers who said
“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”

We let go, not in the sense of trying to drive the feeling away
Because that just leads us to patterned avoidance behaviors
That often don’t work

Behaviors like isolation
Or drinking
Or even behaviors like joining a foolish
And semi-violent protest over “sheltering”

But we let go in the sense of noticing the feeling
The thought
Accepting that it is there
Offering ourselves some self-compassion for the presence
Of the pain

Then putting it aside and moving on

If we have allowed the stick pain to drive our lives
We notice that it has taken over the driver’s seat,
And he kick it out!

We may not be able to kick it off the bus (so to speak)
But we can send it to the rear!

And then we do what we care about
We go toward who and what is important to us.

Oh, it’s another Covid19 day
I notice, I am feeling anxious, and sad
I notice that I am worried about my finances
About my health

I notice that what I want to do is obsess
And check the “numbers” every five minutes
I notice that I want to take out my anger on those around me
I notice that I want to “use”
I notice that I want to isolate

I notice my thoughts
I accept my feelings

And then I do what I care about
I move toward what I value

I value people
So I will make some phone calls to friends

I value creativity, so I will practice the piano, or guitar
Or bagpipes! (be careful with that one)

I value peace, so I will spend some time doing deep breathing
And I will go to an open place (where I am allowed to be)
And I will do a walking meditation
Noticing the “gifts” and “treasures” along the way

The baby calf
The hawk hovering on the wind
The sunrise, burning golden red

The fact is we cannot avoid the pain of illness
Or pandemics
Or lost jobs
Or threatened businesses

But we can keep that pain from being sticky
We can move to acceptance

“IT’S RAINING!!!!!!”  “Yup”

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