just say yes!

When we put down ideas of what life should be like, we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to our life as it is. – Tara Brach

This is my favorite quote this week. I have many. I am particularly fond of Tara Brach’s work on Radical Acceptance.  Radical Acceptance, according to Brach is “the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as it is. A moment of Radical Acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom.”

Radical Acceptance by Tara BrachThis book (and several others) along with many years of spiritual counseling, is the foundation upon which my website and blog, Living “What Is” are built.  It took me a long time to let go of what I thought my life should be instead of accepting what it is. I chased every promise of a cure…. I studied self-healing… I meditated… I prayed… and still my illness progressed.  I felt a great deal of guilt around the fact that I couldn’t make myself better, feeling unworthy and depressed. I am, after all, an occupational therapist. I thought I should be immune to illness. Wrong!

I am not sure of how or when the shift occurred. Perhaps it was the first time I used my walker to walk around my neighborhood.  It was parked in the garage for several months before I had the courage to use it. Part of my suffering was around what others would think and I felt a great deal of shame that I was unable to heal myself. Here’s my journal entry from that beautiful Fall day.

Cruising the neighborhood has a whole new meaning for me today. My vehicle – a four-wheeled walker with a seat. The color is lavender and it comes equipped with a basket, all terrain wheels and hand brakes. It’s a beauty as far as walkers go.

The first block I was on the verge of tears and experiencing a whole myriad of emotions were caught in my throat. I wanted to turn around and go back. I felt stupid and told myself so. Did I really even need it or was I exaggerating my need for an assistive device? Perhaps it would be better if I just continued to walk on my treadmill.

And then, I noticed the breeze blowing through the trees, the beautiful flowers, and the small boys delivering The Shopper Stopper. My thinking shifted from thoughts of woe to gratitude and appreciation. For the first time in a long time I could look about while walking and enjoy my surroundings more easily when I wasn’t concentrating on each step.

Today my walk was short and close to home. Perhaps tomorrow I will have the courage to walk further knowing that it really isn’t about the distance. Rather it is about being seen and opening my heart to acceptance of what is.

My life is good. When I let go of my thoughts about what it should be and embraced what it is, my life changed for the better. What is happening to my body “sucks” but it is not who I am…. and finally, after years of teaching others about the importance of self-care – mind, body, spirit and emotions – I am taking care of myself.  I write, support, coach, teach, and create.  I am a wife, mother, and friend. I have a different life from my friends.  My illnesses have taught me how to live… and I am living well.

When we put down ideas of what life should be like, we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to our life as it is. – Tara Brach





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