Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Accepting It All

By Healingyoga

Yesterday I had one of those days when I just didn't like how I was showing up -- on and off the mat. As if judging myself over how I was being wasn't enough, I compounded it by adding a heavy dose of resistance. Funny how this should happen mere weeks after having an in-depth conversation about accepting one's humanity as well as one's divinity. 

It can be easy to feel this in relationship -- we completely adore the other person and yet there are those moments when we just want to smack them in the head (or shake them or knee them in the...erm...a delicate area). In ourselves, it can be harder to see. That wonderful ego of ours keeps us seeing what is. There are some days we can only see the dark stuff or the stuff that we like to label as "bad" while on other days we are more apt to see the positive or the "good." The question is, can we love both? 

I once knew a lovely man who lived from a very even-keeled place. I never saw him get angry. There were times when I could hear some frustration in his voice but he would quickly get himself back in check because he felt that anger or those darker emotions such as sadness or frustration were unproductive (and not very spiritual). One day we were working on a time-sensitive project that went horribly wrong, requiring us to scrap what we'd already done and start the project from scratch. For a split second I found myself getting nervous -- or perhaps curious is a more apt description, wondering how he was going to react. I'd never seen him lose his temper and I was wondering if this would be the moment. Without even frowning or uttering a curse, he calmly dismissed the mistake and said we would run out for more supplies and start again.

I must admit that a part of me was disappointed. I wanted him to get angry. I wanted to hear him utter a 4-letter word or yell or perhaps run a hand through his hair in frustration. Instead there was nothing. You would think that I would have been happy to see him so calm but I was actually unnerved. It didn't seem natural that he wouldn't be annoyed and express it. Throughout my relationship with this person, he often deflected any sort of dark emotion. He diffused situations with a calm phrase and, with a handful of exceptions, he didn't show all that much passionate emotion.

It brought to mind a flatline -- not much deviation either up or down. Neutral. Calm. Or, some would say, dead. While I can appreciate not being reactive, what I find odd is the lack of life. Perhaps it's my Italian heritage but I appreciate passion, even if it's deemed negative. There's nothing wrong with expressing long as you can let it go. Think of the child who is crying and saying, "I hate my friend!" one minute and then laughing and playing with the friend 5 minutes later. There's something beautiful about how quickly children move through emotion. I would say that's because they don't resist it and they allow it to be there without judgment.

While children seem to have no problem with this, adults, on the other hand, struggle with this concept. I will say that being with the person I mentioned above made me feel a bit...curious. If I were to display anger or frustration or some other expression of humanity, would he be able to handle it? Would he ignore it, dismiss it, avoid it, try to talk me out of it? It definitely made me feel like he wouldn't be all that accepting of me, the whole package. And it got me thinking about whether I accepted the whole me too.

I have those days like yesterday. I was feeling something that I didn't want to, for I felt like it was a sign of weakness. Rather than just allow it, I stuffed it down and ignored it. This only made me more cranky. I tried to talk myself out of it -- "A "spiritual" person wouldn't get hooked by this...she would know better..." Finally, I realized that it was time to stop the madness and just love it. Just like I mentally high-fived myself for an accomplishment a few weeks back, it was time to celebrate this and let it be here too. It's the light and the dark, the humanity and the divinity. It's about acknowledging and accepting both and realizing that holding each is not just necessary but an expression of love.

Years ago at a meditation retreat, a young woman sat behind me in the meditation hall. The retreat called for silence so we didn't speak to each other until the last day. Somewhere around day 4 or 5, I noticed that she'd have this beautiful smile on her face every time I saw her seated on her cushion. By the final day, she looked positively radiant. It was like she was glowing from the inside out. I could practically feel her love, her joy, her peace. She moved me so much that I felt compelled to speak with her on the final day after the silence was lifted. I told her how moved I was by her beautific smile and presence. She informed me that she was a new Marine headed to training. 

My heart took a dip upon hearing that, for while I thought that she was brilliant for getting the practice into her body before heading into a military career, I feared what would happen to her radiance as she endured the rigors of the military. I found myself praying for her safety, the preservation of her peaceful radiance. Somehow I knew that she would be able to hold both the humanity and the divinity during her experiences as a Marine. I'm not sure where her journey took her, as I never saw her again. I'm sure she's seen both the humanity and divinity in her world as well as the beauty of accepting both the humanity and divinity in the world and in ourselves.


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