This post is part of a series of posts where we are looking at the 7 Attitudes of Mindfulness which you can see listed HERE. So far, we have looked at the attitude’s of Non-Judging, Patience, Beginner’s Mind, Trust and Non-Striving. Today we are looking at:
The Attitude of Acceptance
The attitude of acceptance means to have a willingness to see and feel what is happening in the present moment and accept things just as they are. Naturally, this is not always an easy thing to do.
You may be experiencing pain – physical or emotional. You may be tired, irritated, frustrated, bored, regretful, anxious, grieving. Look it in the eye! Acceptance does not mean passive resignation and that things cannot change for the better. On the contrary, acceptance will bring clarity to what you need to change, find a way through, or adjust to. As that last sentence indicates, there are some things that can be changed / improved / fixed, some that we have to endure for the short-term by going through the motions until it is over and some that we need to find a way to live with.
It’s important to understand that in the context of mindfulness, acceptance is not the passive acceptance of the intolerable. Acceptance is not ‘giving up’, resignation, spinelessness or detachment. Acceptance describes the embrace of the true, deep understanding of how things really are. It is a pause, a period of allowing, of letting be, of clear seeing.
For further information on The Attitude of Acceptance let’s hear it explained by Jon Kabat-Zinn himself.
For something a little different from previous weeks, I wanted to share an Acceptance Self-reflection Exercise that my class did when I did a 6 week Mindfulness Meditation Workshop. It will help demonstrate one way that The Attitude of Acceptance can be applied in a practical sense. It’s a series of questions to ask yourself based around a main goal/s you would like to achieve.
To help you understand the context of the questions and how to answer them, you will see the answers I gave when I did this exercise in September / October 2013 listed after the questions below. We had a time limit in class and I didn’t actually complete it (didn’t answer the final question). I was supposed to finish it at home but haven’t – tsk tsk! You, however, have ALL the time in the world to answer the questions but I don’t recommend dragging it on for years! Actually, since you will have more time to ponder over your answers, I reckon you’ll do a much better job of it than I did!
Before you start to answer these questions, think of a main goal/s (could be just one, a few, or several!) you have that you would like to achieve and base your answers around that. As you’ll see in my answers – I had quite a few goals that I wanted to achieve!!
My goal is to: ……………
The thoughts, feelings, sensations and urges I’m willing to have (accept) in order to achieve this goal are: ……………
In making room for this pain, what are you standing for? (list your values) ……………
Or, if you weren’t struggling with/running from/fighting with/this pain, what would you do differently in your life? ……………
It would be useful to remind myself that: ……………
I can break this goal down into smaller steps, such as: ……………
The smallest, easiest step I can begin with is: ……………
The time, day and date that I will take the first step is: ……………
My answers back in September/October 2013:
- To complete my photography studies and improve my photography skills. To set up a more professional looking blog and to eventually have a photography website with a gallery and shop. To be earning an income by doing what I love.
- Self doubt, self-criticism, lack of confidence, comparison to others, fear of failure.
- Self respect, self-confidence, achievement, pride, happiness, enjoyment, success.
- Make better use of time. Achieving, progressing, learning.
- I am only human. My dream of loving what I do and doing what I love. My passions. My interests. My strengths.
- Finish photography course. Determine if further training is needed or desired. Engage graphic artist for logo & blog expert to help with a new blog.
- One assignment at a time.
- Oops – didn’t answer this one!
It’s over a year later now and not only am I in a much better place in regards to my answers to question 2, but I have made some progress towards achieving the goals I listed. I have finished my photography studies and I have my new blog. I engaged a graphic artist and got my photography logo. I also got some help to create a self-hosted and more professional looking new blog. I don’t have a photography website yet and I’m not earning any money doing what I love … but I’m on my way! Baby steps! 😉
Next Monday 26 January is not only Australia Day but also a special milestone in this household, so I will be posting in relation to those things on that day. I’ll return to my Mindful Monday posts on Monday 2 February with a post on The Attitude of Letting Go.
FYI – The photograph used for today’s post is one I took at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Queensland in December 2014.
Ciao for now,
[This post is linked up with One Mother Hen for Open Slather]
What a lovely post.
Reading this has made me realise I have not thought about myself for so long now. Oops!
I am really enjoying following your series. X
Thank you Jody! I didn’t think about myself for many, many years. I always put the family first. That was admirable but in hindsight – silly! I paid a price for neglecting myself – so I make sure these days that I do make the time to do a bit of navel gazing and self-care. 😉 x
Love the exercise at the end. My answers would be eerily similar to yours but I am going to write mine out as I plan later this week for my return to the studio xxx
So glad you like the exercise! I’m not surprised your answers would be eerily similar to mine! lol Good luck and enjoy your return to the studio! 🙂 xo
I love love love this series of yours!!
Those questions are fantastic!!
You’re so lovely – thank you Ann! 🙂 xo
I think I definitely need to bookmark this page and come back and work through these questions at another time….When I am not trying to multi-task and watch the tennis!
LOL such a typical woman with the multi-tasking there Zita! I really found answering these questions helped break down my goals into smaller achieveable tasks and to diffuse my fears and/or blocks! Hope it helps you too 🙂 xo
What a fab set of questions to make big tasks, ones that bug and worry me, seem much easier to cope with. There is a few things I have been meaning to do and you’ve given me a push to put them down on paper, and see they are doable!
Thanks Alicia! I can’t take credit for those questions as they were set by those that ran the workshop I went to. I can say though that they really do make BIG things that are overwhelming feel and seem much less daunting and a lot more achievable 🙂 x
A great exercise to do, Min and I have difficulty sometimes with accepting and letting go. Once we can do that, there is certainly a weight lifted from our shoulders. Thanks for the information and video which I’ll be taking time to view and also do the exercise. Thanks also for #ztt I look forward to it each week and it gives me a forum to explore the area of Zen. xx
I read this with a smile on my face because I did NOT get acceptance at all until relatively recently.
My husband tried to explain what it was about and I rejected it and even with the listening to Jon K-Z and others I still did not understand how to became accepting.
I can’t pinpoint a time but I know with the learning I have done via books, videos and CDs and of course, my real life experience of cancer this past two years, I have learned that acceptance means to allow everything.
And with that, everything comes and goes. I am so much better for this and I realised how tightly I was holding onto control…of what? Nothing.
Acceptance can be hard Denyse … especially when it comes to accepting something we don’t like or want! Fighting acceptance of reality can be exhausting and by accepting we gain some freedom in a sense. It’s a hard one and you’ve done well to reach the point you’re now at! 🙂 xo