Saturday, January 21, 2006

Curious about Acceptance - We Need to Accept What Is

“Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” - George Orwell

“Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.” - William James

Those two quotations are speaking to me. Two weeks and four days ago I suffered an injury while picking up gym equipment before teaching my usual three fitness/aerobics classes in a row. Foolishly feeling that I was OK, I went ahead and taught. Not smart.

But, let me back up a bit. I have been doing vigorous aerobics and fitness classes for 22 years and teaching them for 14 1/2 years. Besides a few of the common muscle aches and pains, I have never had an injury. And, when I have had a pain, it was always gone within a few days. So, I convinced myself that with a bit of working out, I would be back to normal in no time.

James Fixx sums up my feelings, if we substitute the words ‘group fitness exercise’ for ‘running,’ “The qualities and capacities that are important in running - such factors as will power, the ability to apply effort during extreme fatigue and the acceptance of pain - have a radiating power that subtly influences one's life.”

Right now I am having trouble accepting the “pain.” There is plenty of it - so much so, that I have an appointment this coming Tuesday at a Sports Medicine Clinic and am also considering taking off the whole month of February from teaching. I generally teach 8 to 11 classes a week. Stopping for a month doesn’t appeal, but I am beginning to think that it will be wise.

Known for my positive attitude and the old cliché, “turning lemons into lemonade,” I have accepted that I am out-of-commission and am looking at the positive side of my situation. I do feel that everything happens for a reason. The positive is that I have a number of writing and website projects in the offing. If I am forced to retire from the hours at the gym for a month, I know that I will be able to not only focus completely on these projects, but will also be able to complete many of them.

Most of us also have heard the statement over and over again, “It’s not what happens to you that is important. It is how you handle what happens to you.” I figure that this may be a wake up call for me for several reasons. I will now have much more compassion for those who suffer with chronic pain. I will understand how hard it can be to accept unforeseen mishaps. And, I will be overly grateful for my usual healthy, energetic and pain free physical shape (once I get it back, that is).

It also spurred me to look up some quotations on acceptance, which I think you will enjoy:
  • The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” - Nathaniel Branden
  • If I could define enlightenment briefly I would say it is ‘the quiet acceptance of what is.’” - Wayne Dyer
  • The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Not only must the message be correctly delivered, but the messenger himself must be such as to recommend it to acceptance.” - Joseph B. Lightfoot
  • 'Age' is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.” - Martha Graham

What have you had to accept recently? How did it work out? Thank you for giving me the chance to write my opinions and, in this case, examine deep down how I feel. I am accepting my challenge much more effectively.

I will leave you with this final thought by Ralph Marston, “The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.”