I’ve just intentionally triggered the “not-being-prepared” collective nightmare within a group of adults. I feel their discomfort and defensiveness upon hearing my words:

Let’s review our homework from last time.

They didn’t have homework.
How could they?
Many I’ve never met before.
But, still, it takes them a bit by surprise.

 

I continue, sans poker face. Tension eases. I hear bits of laughter as I continue:

The assignment was about acceptance of reality. 

It doesn’t matter if you didn’t come here with a full powerpoint ready. 

And if it doesn’t matter if you don’t remember there was an assignment. 

You’re here and aware. That’s enough.

I started as I did to underscore the message: this spiritual learning isn’t me on stage doling out answers . I am leading them to the font of spiritual answers: themselves.

They are the experts. You are the expert. I’m just here to help.

As a good Socratic teacher, I begin with questions everyone can answer:

Would everyone raise their hand if—–in the last month—–they have had some trouble accepting reality as it is? By a show of hands, how many of you worked on acceptance willingly or otherwise—in the past 30 days?

All the hands go up.

 

I notice Lynn, across the room, still has her hand up after everyone else has dropped theirs.

Lynn, do you have any thoughts about acceptance you want to share?
Oh, you were scratching your ear?
Is it alright if I count it as though you were raising your hand?

Do you have something you have learned about acceptance you want to share so we can learn from your experience?  Either something really good that worked or something like don’t stick your tongue in the outlet.

She gazes towards something above her, exhales, and prepares to speak.

 

You

What about you?
Lynn’s response is good, but I don’t want to start there.

Let’s do a moment of pretend.
Let’s pretend  you are the person who I just asked.

After your turn, I’ll tell you what Lynn said and I’ll share some other ideas we discussed. But in a moment.

I want to start with you.

What would you say you’ve learned recently about being patient and acceptance?

Seriously, you could have opted to skip ahead. But you didn’t. You could be reading Lynn’s answers right now. But you’re not.

Consciously or not, your brain is probably considering answers. Because beknownst or unbeknownst to you, you have been in this life seminar for the past 30 days, and you’ve done some take-home work about patience and acceptance.

In the past 30 days, with regard to being patient as I deal with reality, I learned…









 

If you have an accountabilibuddy with whom you check-in regarding your spiritual health, email them your response.

Lynn +

Lynn’s hand is still near her ear. I imagine she is editing words in her mind.
Finally she says, “Acceptance harder with family.”

Deep, knowing laughter pops up.
The truth is often very funny.

Here is a compilation of snippets from the ROTB_live talk about acceptance:

“When I remember to stay in my lane, I am more patient.”
“Equanimity comes from knowing what you can control.”
“Surrender is accepting reality, plus love.”
“You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it.”
“Acceptance isn’t approval.”
“One only gets better at patience. One never masters it.”

The holidays

You don’t have to like it, but the holiday season seems to be the end-of-the-year final exam in being patient with reality.

You can be upset about that all you want, but it’s not going to help.

Here’s what can help. This card. Print it. Keep it with you.

 

Then, whenever you find yourself tensing up, getting ready to argue with reality, take it out and color in a star. 

Reaching for the paper, instead of following the established neural pathways towards anger, will help you from getting too impatient. 

Take it easy on yourself. 

And remember what Lynn said: “Acceptance harder with family.” 

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Black Lives Matter

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Mess. With intent to douse her brother with water, my 11-year-old Annie tugged on the backyard garden hose. “Stop! Stop! Stop!” I shouted. She didn’t see that the hose, tangled on a garden stake, would damage a portion of the garden if she pulled any further. She...

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  It was wrong We had decided to stain the diminutive cedar fence Minwax 203 — Early American. Two months into Covid-19. We conscript the kiddos into “family time backyard improvement project.” We parents have, at the very least, a different opinion as to the right...

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