Friday, January 10, 2020

But....HOW do I Practice Acceptance (My Super Power in Development)


Image by John Hain from Pixbay

Today in yoga class, we had a good giggle.  Just as we were to stretch into our final rest pose, Shavasana, the drill of a maintenance worker started up loudly in the building next door that shared the long side wall of our classroom.  It juxtaposed against the calming, meditative music now taking a backseat to the jackhammer being amplified in the space.  Our teacher, after a few jokes, reminded us that as we began to breathe and set our minds to meditate, we had a great opportunity to accept what we cannot change and continue on. 


Image by windyschneider from Pixbay
I've spent this first week of January with the intention to purposefully practice acceptance of the things I cannot change. What I know is that this is not an innate part of my nature. Neither is it something that I can just decide and then I am.  However, as this little, somewhat silly opportunity to accept what came up, I found that I could do it without much effort due to the groundwork I've laid these past few months with brain plasticity and rewiring.

One surprising tool that has really helped me is the Calm App that I have on my phone.  I had gotten it to help me fall to sleep.  Several people I knew had recommended it for the music and stories which is what I tried first. These past two weeks, though, I began to do the beginner 30 days of meditation training with Jeff Warren.  At 4 days in (Inner Smoothness episode), I learned a new word-equanimity. Its definition is mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.  Learning to not balk or run away from uncomfortableness, but be able to literally (and figuratively) sit with it.



Meditation with Jeff Warren

The thing that has helped me the most was how he guides to "Notice your thinking.  Every time you catch yourself thinking or visualizing and can notice as if from a perch outside, you are strengthening your focus and equanimity muscle." And so, I've been doing this each day when I meditate in bed as my husband is sleeping next to me.  He snores.  So, it could be distracting, but I'm allowing it to be.  Or when Willow, our 15-pound long-hair cat decides to nestle in the area that really makes my leg feel uncomfortable, I allow it and maybe eventually move my leg so that he leaves.     



I am practicing to notice my thoughts (self-talk and/or images) that come up.  I notice if it's a judgment, a plan, a worry, a bracing, a sinking into the past.  I label it and let it go.  Jeff's explanation that the thoughts will happen and that the more we notice, label, and release these thoughts, the stronger we become in doing it.  And then, as we practice doing this during these times of meditation, we then find that we can do this when we go back into our day.


And so, I am beginning to find some positive changes.  First, I look forward to meditation time.  As I've stated before, I have ADD and have always been a doer, so being able to enjoy this is miraculous.  It used to be torture for me.  Second, and the most amazing, is that I'm beginning to do this when something uncomfortable or even painful hits.  


Last week, I had a bought of nausea, dizziness, and fatigue that started with a headache upon waking.  It stayed the whole day and into the evening.  That evening, though, was a special night.  We had tickets (from Christmas) to go see a Michigan State basketball game.  I got dressed to go, but I could just feel that the two-hour drive there, dinner, the game, and drive home, was going to be beyond what I could handle.  I was bummed.  




But, I did not sink into a deep sadness, which has been my norm when the fibro symptoms have caused me to cancel.  I was able to be okay with it.  And my quiet night alone ended up being fine. 

I know I have a long way to go with this, but I'm really seeing positive changes already.  I feel that I  am already becoming flexible and resilient.  I'm learning how to handle this life (even with the symptoms of fibromyalgia) with grace and ease.

Have you tried meditation?  If you're anything like me, this seemed a bit silly, maybe even a bit voodoo-ey. I'm finding now, that it's a concrete practice that's rewiring how I react.  I will continue to explore this topic of acceptance in upcoming posts.  I'd love your thoughts, questions, concerns, experiences to help me in my exploration. 

Thank you for visiting my blog today. 

I am committing to posting once a week on Fridays.  However, as you know,
my new normal means that some times I have to listen to my body and am
not able to follow through as planned. Thank you for your understanding.

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7 comments:

  1. Hi, I've been meditating for many years and doing many different kinds. It does not make me an expert though just some one who needs and loves to find that calm and peaceful place. As a matter of fact I think it is essential. I posted just yesterday on my facebook page 'If we can touch the peaceful feeling within ourselves, we can notice it and also nurture it in the world.'
    I found it interesting that you explain to label the thoughts before releasing them. I will definitely try this. What is a bracing thought? Thanks

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    1. For me a bracing thought is when I am WAITING for something to hit: pain, etc. As a child, my mom would say that becareful of feeling good because as good as you feel something will happen to make you feel that much worse. As an adult, more recently, I realize that came from her dealing with being bipolar. However, that did get engrained into my young consciousness. Working on not bracing, but letting things be.

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  2. Thanks for your post, I relate in so many ways and have been looking for a positive way to start my day (right now I tend to scroll through google news, not really positive). I'll try the calm app and see how it goes. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  3. Thanks, Katie! Releasing my thoughts to drift into sleep is something I've been working on too. (I'm glad when I hear my husband's snoring because I know my awakeness is not keeping HIM awake.) Observing a thought and letting it go is a great technique. I was glad you mentioned the Calm app. I have it and had forgotten about it. Nice job on your blog!

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement. The Beginner's Guide by Jeff Warren has really helped. I finish day 30 today. Now I'm starting MBSR with https://palousemindfulness.com/MBSR/week1.html it's a free 8-week course. I'm excited to start it.

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Let us have a positive dialogue. Please, keep comments non-judgemental and uplifting.