Tuesday, April 30, 2013

THE FREEING POWER OF ACCEPTANCE


I think a client of mine had a moment of clarity/light today while in the studio. She had cancelled an appointment last week due to being at the hospital with her mom who is nearing her end here in this realm of visibility and will soon be entering invisibility (at least to us who will be left behind for at least some time yet)

 She arrived exhausted and spent (her words) and then began to express how our culture doesn't prepare us for this. She actually at one point said, "I am not prepared for this."

 She is absolutely right about our culture and how it handles aging and death. And it is sad beyond words. So we talked a bit about that. And I shared a little with her of what I am learning about the subversive power of acceptance. She said some things about how that too is absolutely opposite of what we are trained/taught to do in this culture. And that is sad beyond words too.

 It was like she was being given permission to abandon the familiar gig that is so twisted, messed up, and unhelpful to us and to those who are slipping away....and consider that maybe there is a better way of experiencing these things and walking in them.

 I hope she finds her way there. It's the doorway into the possibility of real presence in both the light and dark bits of this life.

6 comments:

Bones said...

Thanks, Kent, for this story, and your commentary! I hope you'll expound further on how you're coming to understand acceptance.

Kent said...

Bones, I will try to add some to this in the next few days.

Bones said...

Great! I'll be looking forward to it. We're on a trip visiting long-time friends in a city where we used to live, and as we're catching up, most are sharing about issues dealing with aging/dying parents; others are facing terminal cancer themselves. Acceptance as it relates to end-of-life issues is much on my mind these days.

Kent said...

I will give you an example from a conversation that happened the night before the conversation mentioned with my client in this blog post.

My mom has Alzheimer's, she is 74 and her husband is 84. They live across the street from me and right next door to my brother. My mom's husband called saying he needed to talk to us. He is not even close to having the patience and temperament and care to deal with this situation with our mom. So a lot of talk is going on about what changes they are going to have to face. One being, the two of them living in their home alone is not going to be possible much longer.

But on this day we all sat down and he started in on describing how none of this is getting better. The doctors aren't helping her. Her memory keeps getting worse. And how they both are left nerve shaken and exhausted after even the shortest of trips to the grocery store or any other store.....and on and on and on.

Finally when I was able to respond to him and her, I attempted to help them understand this thing of acceptance as being something they both desperately need. I said to him "You two are dealing with two major issues; aging and Alzheimer's...both conditions that are progressive in nature. It's not going to change directions and get better. The doctors can't reverse this. You two are now caught up in a new reality. And you are not going back to where you used to be.

I went on to describe more to them and how there is a subversive quality to acceptance. That it is difficult to accept that things they once were capable of doing they are losing the ability to do. But if they could just accept that and let those things go, and step into a new reality without those things, they might just find some of the present stresses falling away from them.

I went on to say more but that gives you some idea of what I mean. What is sad to me is that they have never heard this before. Our culture has left people, as my client said, unprepared for a part of life that none of us will get to escape. I don't have much hope that my mom and Gene will get this. It's probably too late for them. But I am determined to live in this reality myself, and do everything I can, as I have been doing now for 8 years, trying to help my daughters and whoever else will listen, to live in a radically different space of awareness/reality. It does none of us any good trying to deny these things. At Ron, we here have just been looking at how this applies to aging and death.

It applies to everything.

Kent said...

And this is a very good listen

http://www.onbeing.org/program/contemplating-mortality/4653

Bones said...

I'll need to listen to the link later, as I have only a few minutes. But I had a thought come to me, after reading through your description of your mom and her husband's struggle. I began to think about acceptance and resistance. Just on Monday, we attended a Celebrate Recovery meeting with friends, and were exposed for the first time to the full Serenity Prayer as originally penned by Reinhold Niebuhr:

"God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen."

"Courage to change the things which should be changed" requires a degree of resistance to those things, rather than acceptance. When talking of aging and dying, those cannot be changed, at least not in any permanent way.

Need to think more on these things!