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Where I Am Now, After Practicing Acceptance and Letting Go

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Where I Am Now,
After Practicing Acceptance
and Letting Go

An image of clouds at sunset representing where I am now, a place of peace, in my life

Where I Am Now, After Practicing Acceptance and Letting Go

I find it sometimes hard just to let the ribbons of Life ebb and flow. There is a part of me that always wants to control everything that is going on around me. This sense of control creates a contentious relationship in my mind between the forces of accepting and letting go and the forces of trying to have power. I wonder sometimes does this war in my head ever end. However, I have also found that I don’t have to participate in the action.

Accepting and Allowing the War in My Head

I have experienced moments where I felt peaceful, sometimes for days at a time. As I have gotten older, I’ve learned that I can create that peace by allowing the war to rage without interfering in it. I started with accepting that my brain has automatic thoughts. Accepting and allowing my automatic brain thoughts was not an easy task to learn. Learning this skill has taken years of practice, and it is not always successful. I would guess that 90% of the time, I can live in a space of joy, peace, and contentment. The other 10% of the time, my mind seems to be raging against the machine, or itself, or someone else, or something else, and I get caught up in the battle. When that raging voice happens, I have found the best thing I can do is go for a walk.

Putting the Mental Energy to Good Use

I once heard a neurologist describe emotion as “e”motion, energy in motion. When the emotions in my mind are running strong, it is a challenge for me to get to the grounded space of joy, peace, and contentment. Instead, my mind would rather soak itself in the running commentary, yelling voices, and amped up feelings, even if it causes me to suffer. I’ve realized that to parts of my mind, the feeling of power and sense of control that I feel when I’m experiencing elevated emotions seems positive even if it feels negative to the rest of my body overall. I have also found that I can burn off some of that “e”motion by walking or biking. I put the elevated energy levels in my mind into powering my legs, and usually, after about thirty minutes, my mind grows quieter and sometimes even still. That quiet space or stillness is lovely! It’s also a win/win scenario; I gain a more peaceful mind and get physical exercise.

No Negative Feelings Seems Positive

Another paradigm I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover is, I don’t have to feel the emotion of happiness to be happy. There seems to be this space of joy, peace, and contentment inside me, which isn’t an emotion, but it feels positive or happy to experience. It is almost as if little to no negative emotions seem positive to my mind and body. I can also explain it as detaching myself from negative feelings, allows me to feel freer in life. The action of accepting and letting go of my negative emotions opens a space in me to reside in a warm bath of just being, or depersonalizing my emotions, allows me to be present in my life.

Zone of Tolerance or Zone of Acceptance

I’ve heard that space called our zone of tolerance. For me, a better title is the area of acceptance. It is a space between my emotional ups and downs, where I can accept life as it is. When I acknowledge that I have extraordinarily little control over anything, my life becomes more comfortable. I let go of fighting the system, my beliefs, or others’ beliefs and reside in “I am”. The area of acceptance in me allows the world to be, as it is, without trying to force my changes on it. Nicely, as I’ve practiced, that zone of acceptance has grown wider.

Of course, I also had to learn to let go of the fight. Parts of my brain thrives on the conflict. Again, I’ve also learned how to let go of the drive for the fight with practice. Usually, with acceptance, I also realize that the battle has very little to do with me. Instead, it is driven by some belief that I learned in my younger years, and that belief serves no purpose to me now. I accept that part of my brain wants to fight for a sense of control, I let go of my attachments to that feeling, and then I let go of my attachments to the thoughts and beliefs supporting that feeling. It is a process that, again, I had to learn and practice.

Practice? What is there to practice? This is all in my head.

Yes, and no.
Our brain generates emotions to motivate our bodies to take action. When we can’t see any available action, we feel restless, haphazard, anxious, and stressed. However, remember that neurologist described emotions as energy in motion? When we feel an emotion, it’s physical. We experience them in our bodies. I teach that once we feel an emotion, it’s a feeling. Emotions are the command our brain sends out to motivate us to take action; feelings are the commands’ physical sensation. Feelings are the energies in our body in motion. Thus, if I want to calm that emotion down to get back to that space of joy, peace, and contentment, I have to physically use that energy.

Eleven years ago, when I was suffering from depression, I found walking gave me some relief from the rage and darkness. I suspect part of that relief was from me burning off that “e”motion. I now walk three to six times a week so that I can stay mentally balanced. I “need” that exercise to use up some of the power that feelings have in my body. I put that energy into motion, moving my legs, and then there is less of it to drive insufferable thoughts in my head.
The other discipline I practice daily to make my life better is meditation. I made a video about some of the gifts that meditation has given me. You can watch it here: The Gifts I Receive From Meditating. I meditate every morning and sometimes a second time during the day. When I experience elevated emotions, meditation helps my brain cut through all the noise and get to the situation’s reality. Meditation doesn’t fix the problem; instead, meditation helps me see it without my brain biasing my perception with an exaggerated sense of control shading everything.

Thus, by practice, I mean walking and meditation have helped me improve my ability to accept and let go of situations and emotions that could cause me a lot of suffering.

Thus, by practice, I mean walking and meditation have helped me improve my ability to accept and let go of situations and emotions that could cause me a lot of suffering. Practicing is not always easy; it is always helpful, though.

Final Thoughts

All of the personal reflections I’ve written are about my experience of navigating my life with the least amount of suffering. Some of the insights I’ve learned are a product of age, and most of the result of practicing awareness, especially self-awareness.

Acceptance and letting go are two skills I’ve found invaluable for making my life easier. Once I accepted that my brain has thoughts automatically, whether I like them or not, I more easily let go of the need to fight my mind by trying to stop or avoid the thoughts. That acceptance and letting go gave me the freedom to begin evaluating each idea and whether it pushed me toward or away from my life’s dreams and goals. After that evaluation, I could start training my brain to automatically think in ways that created my life instead of limiting it.

Where I Am Now

I am intentionally creating my life my way. I am treating myself the way I want to be treated. I am living a life I deeply enjoy. I like myself. I love myself. I still have my problems, and I am still working on them, and fortunately, through all that, I can say I am living my life my way. That is where I am now.

Terry Hershey had this quote at the end of his daily Sabbath Moment today. It is a beautiful expression of where I am today:

Do not squander this day, say the mystics. Leave being right behind you, let it go, let it go, let it go. Return to Love. What else would we do? How else will we recognize the light? Love is running through the streets on the heels of the music, running through the pain and above the sky. It exceeds anything it encounters—recognizes all it meets and changes everything in its wake.
Paula D’Arcy

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.
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November 12, 2020
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Teaching and Coaching
I will not transfer or sell your data to anyone.
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©2022 Broadlands Media, Inc
All rights reserved.
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