A WALK INTO THE UNKNOWN

I am tired. The seemingly endless task of applying for disability, keeping the shelves stocked with food, the bills paid and my spirits high can be exhausting. Let me rephrase that. Not can be exhausting – is exhausting.

I am not at all unique in this experience. Some have rushed to my support in ways that both humble and dazzle me. Others offer lip service (see earlier post), and still others don’t lift a finger. And so it goes, as the remarkable journalist Linda Ellerbee would say at the end of her show, Weekend. A great show that aired for an all-too-brief period of time in the mid 1980s.

It seems clear to me that the key to any successful life management is acceptance. Life is what it is and we are each faced with the task of accepting the reality we are in. This brings me to the theme of this essay: acceptance. The art of acceptance, if you will.

Acceptance does not mean giving in. At times the idea of accepting something can feel like we are giving in, surrendering, engaging in an act of shameful weakness, but we’re not and it isn’t. Not even close. If acceptance is an act of weakness then why is it so hard to do? In truth, acceptance right sizes the reality we are in and, as a result, places us in the strongest possible vantage point from which we can manage our lives.

But why is accepting our realities so hard to so? I think there are several answers. One answer is habit. John Steinbeck said, “We are creatures of habit, a very senseless species.” How true. Most, if not all if us, know couples who are miserable together but stay together anyway. Most, if not all of us, know people who stay in jobs that make them miserable because change is big-time scary. Better the devil you know, is the tragically misguided tenet on those fronts.

I think fear of change is often our biggest obstacle to acceptance. If you accept something you then have to deal with it, which likely means change and change often requires us to take a walk into the unknown. And that can be scary.

But if we do this, and give ourselves permission to take a walk into the unknown, an extraordinary thing begins to emerge from the mist of doubt and step into the light of day. An awareness that we’re okay. We really are okay. And we are okay because no matter where we go, we are there. This emerging awareness leads us to a light that lets each of us see that as long you and I are present in our respective walks into the unknown, we are each our strongest ally.

Once this awareness grows and strengthens, the art of acceptance can be a welcome endeavor. You, like me, get to discover that while change is coming, you are staying, and isn’t that beautiful? I think so.
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