Happy Birthday to Me!

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I’m visiting family this week, and for my birthday week I thought I’d rerun one of my favorite articles to celebrate. I’ll be back with new posts next week…


If you’ve ever observed an older person sitting on a porch swing, park bench, or town square, whittling away an afternoon, you’ll catch an air of detached observance that seems to hold a secret space full of magic. It’s as if they’re part of the Peanut Gallery made good, with wise-cracks replaced by wise eyes that take in life just as it is without needing to fix anything.

There’s a nonthreatening sense of peace emanating from these folks that causes people to want to connect with them, if only for a momentary nod and smile. We don’t tend to think too deeply about what draws us in to this particular energy, but if we asked most people my guess is that they would say that older people have lived through a lot, so they deserve a little friendliness from the rest of us.

Yet I think that it actually goes deeper than this. These sages have perfected an art form from which all serenity springs, and their vibe is attracting their tribe.

These connoisseurs of contentment have figured out a formula that Pythagoras himself would be envious of: They’ve cracked the code to radically accepting life without resistance to anything: the good, the bad, or the ugly.

What’s so amazing about radical acceptance? When perfected – whether while porch swinging or grocery shopping or staring in the mirror at our reflection – radical acceptance brings with it zero loss of energy due to the drama and discontent inherent in what we don’t want. We get to take all our immense creativity, drive, joy, strength, and wit and sit these solidly in the corner of what we do want out of life. Radical acceptance holds the template for recreating life as we’d like to see it.

Think of it this way. You’re out shopping for bath salts. A company sales rep walks up to you to ask for your opinion: Do you prefer Epson salts or Himalayan? In this scenario, you’re a product reviewer looking to take on new clients. Now you can play this a lot of ways, yet only one way is completely authentic, free of self-judgment or over-analysis. This is the path on which you DON’T worry about your level of bath salt savvy so as to impress them, or obsess about your appearance, or wonder if you have what it takes to sell yourself to this company. You just give an honest answer about what you know about bathtub salts and then present your product review proposition.

How refreshing is that? It’s more rejuvenating than either Epson or Himalayan salts, I can tell you that.

In fact, practicing staying with what is and walking right into what we’d like for our life – also known as staying present and facing fears – are two of the best practices we can take up in order to create a life of radical acceptance.

When we stay with what is, we’re simply observing our emotions instead of getting caught up in them. Even if we do get caught up in them, we can redirect ourselves back to observing. Our emotions, when observed, are tools that teach us more about ourselves: our desires, our fears, and what it is we need to heal in order for us to move forward.

Facing our fears allows us to gain the courage, over time, to accept life as it is. The more scary stuff we’ve walked into, the less intimidating it is to walk into scary stuff. Eventually we don’t spend much time obsessing about making sure everything is ‘just so’ and instead let it be as it is because we know we can handle it.

Radical acceptance brings with it a lot more than just the ability to porch swing like a pro. Because it is the place where all resistance to life dissipates, it allows us to harness our energy and manifest our deepest desires into existence. All our thoughts, emotions, and actions are freed from the captivity of apprehension and can be used to create a life that is as magical and inviting as a couple of wise old sages swinging away the afternoon in the shade of pure serenity.

Featured images courtesy of Trevan Braswell at FreeImages.com.

Get your copy of ‘The Power of Now…A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment…In 15 Minutes’. Great reading for those busy spiritual seekers who’d like some guidance on staying present and letting go of fears.

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Share the joy