Tag Archives: acceptance

365 Challenge Day 16 – Energy

1 Jun

Today I’m thinking about energy. Probably because I’m still kind of jet-lagged, and even though I’ve rolled with it the whole week, taken it easy and gone to bed early, it’s starting to piss me off.  Despite all my years in a spiritual practice that is about acceptance, one thing I have always had a hard time accepting is tiredness.  I don’t like feeling tired, in fact I kind of hate it.  Hence all the coffee drinking I have written about before.

I had an amazing day, I spent almost the entire day outside, walked in the woods, spent time with my kids at their soccer games, spent time with friends, had yummy and healthy food including a green smoothie, and did some meditation.  And yet, all day I had this sluggish feeling, even after drinking my coffee.

I’ve come to where I can accept that feeling pretty well if I think it’s temporary and I know the cause.  If I go out dancing and don’t get to bed until 3 or 4am and I’m tired and sluggish for the next day or too, fine, I smile to myself knowing it was worth it.  If I’m sick or jet-lagged, I’m pretty good about accepting it and allowing myself some days of rest if I feel I need them.  But apparently I have my limits.  I have a timetable.  I reach a point when the sluggish feeling extends beyond what I feel is warranted and I become resentful!  The resistance I have to it is almost primal.  As though I fear it will last forever.  As though I fear my very health and life were in jeopardy.

Energy is a funny thing, now matter how much we have, don’t we always want more?  We are a culture of coffee drinkers, and red bull drinkers.  We are a culture that values achievements and “doing” and does not value rest and “not doing”.  And I am absolutely guilty of these mindsets.

I guess in the end what I have to realize is despite feeling low in energy I did have a great day, and I have to remember that is possible.  Being tired is not the end of the world.  This post is really more about acceptance than about energy.  We are all heading in the direction of someday having things slow down, we hope it comes later rather than sooner, but life is unpredictable and one never knows;  it would be nice if we are able to bring acceptance and grace as we move into that era of our lives, and now is the time to practice that.


365 Challenge Day 7 – Adaptability

22 May

There is flexibility of the body (which is another great topic!)  but today I want to talk about mental flexibility.  Adaptability.

I come from a spiritual tradition that puts a lot of emphasis on discipline and effort. There are often stories of yogis meditating for several days straight without break, yogis that wreck their knees from sitting cross-legged so long, and stories of all sorts of exciting and psychedelic experiences that come of deep and prolonged concentration practices. (Of course, most of my teachers tell these stories in the context of what not to do!) There is often an emphasis on trying harder, sitting longer, and pushing through whatever may arise, such as fear or sleepiness. In Zen there are even more extreme stories, such as of monks meditating all night on the edge of a well, or with a sword held upward directly under their chin, to avoid dozing off.

To some extent I can appreciate the benefits of such discipline and structure, and could probably use more in my own life and practice, but I ask myself, To what end? If you want to be an Olympic gold medalist, then yes, you will need this level of discipline and striving. But is it necessary/beneficial on a spiritual path that has the ultimate goal of eliminating suffering?

At some point the striving and rigidity can in themselves become the cause of suffering, rather than means to its end.

When we resist life, we suffer.  When we are able to adapt and accept the realities that life presents, we can move more fluidly through its unpredictability and uncertainty.

We often have conflicting motives and desires, and the challenge is in navigating and responding to them.  If I hold an aspiration to improve my strength, my health, and my yoga practice, I can’t give in to every urge to lay on the couch.  But if I force myself to go to the gym or to yoga class, even on a day when I’m not feeling well, then I’m probably missing the ultimate goal which is to live a life with ease and happiness.  The trick is to bring acceptance to whichever choice I make.  If I chose to rest, I need to do so wholeheartedly, knowing I am taking care of myself and my needs, and not feeling guilty or lazy for skipping class.

Bringing acceptance to life does mean that I’m complacent.  I still have preferences, lots of them!  And I still have goals and aspirations, and things I want to change.  I try to hold the long term aspiration, and at the same time respond as best I can to the immediate need of the moment, without resistance, or regret.  With grace.