Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Road to Acceptance

A friend sent me a link to a short video of music, photos, and quotes of Eckhart Tolle. I watched it this morning and thought how like him it was - quiet, calm, and affirming. There was one quote in particular that spoke to me: "The longing for love that is in every child is the longing to be recognized, not on the level of form, but on the level of being." That is a hard thing to ask for and a hard thing to achieve. In thinking about why this is so important to me, I remembered when my quest for recognition started, three years ago.

In the summer of 2005 I had days when I could not stop crying. I went about my routine and never knew what might turn the waterworks on or how long the tears would flow. At times I sobbed, gasping for air. In early August I had a doctor's visit for something unrelated, or so I thought, and she recommended I talk to someone about how I was feeling. I didn't want to go down that road again, but she gave me a referral and strongly suggested I follow up.

I made an appointment with the counselor for the next week and cried for the entire hour. I could clearly point to one thing that was making me sad - my friend, Marie, was battling lung cancer. Marie and I spent hours talking about the important things in life, and relationships topped the list. I had mixed feelings about my children getting older; I celebrated their independence while I missed being a constant in their lives. This brought up feelings I had about my relationship with my mother; I had thought for years that as circumstances changed we would grow closer, but we actually saw less of each other with each passing year.

I saw the counselor every week for a month, bi-weekly for 2 months, and then once to wrap things up. It only took eight sessions for me to pinpoint what I needed to feel better: acceptance. Acceptance that my friend was dying of lung cancer. Acceptance that my children were growing up and into their own lives. Acceptance that my mother would decide for herself how much of her life she wanted to share with me. I could continue to wish things were different, or I could accept things as they were, which would allow me to more fully appreciate the time I did have with the people I love.

I didn't use the words Eckhart used in his quote, but the longing to be recognized has been at the heart of what I have wanted for three years. I want my mom to see who I am as her daughter, now myself the mother of adult children. Acceptance has been the path to peace. I accept who my mother is and what she is able to share of herself. I can now accept our relationship as it is and feel grateful for the time we have together.

6 comments:

Elaine said...

You make a powerful point, Sharon. Unfortunately, it's way too easy to lose sight of the importance of 'acceptance' and unknowingly steer away from it, which leads us back to the disappointing land of "should" and "why isn't it?".

I've lived in both places, and acceptance is a much more peaceful place to be. Congratulations on finding your way!

Elaine
wisewomencoffeechat.com

Kate said...

Sharon;
You write so beautifully about this difficult journey of acceptance; of letting go of our need to have things a certain way, and to simply "be" in the places we are with grace and compassion (for ourselves and others). I find great strength in your words and will continue to read more. Thanks.

Laura said...

Thanks for the clarity of thought. I guess the power of acceptance is that it is only in us and does not demand anything from anyone else. Is this the midlife epiphany that we all wish we "got" when we were in our twenties?t

Laura
RebelliousThoughtsofaWoman.com

akakarma said...

Great post! Serenity Prayer says it to me- to accept the things we can not change....

Anonymous said...

Acceptance of people and life as is. Not my best quality but I work at it.

Anonymous said...

Love the comment- Serenity prayer for sure!