Acceptance

Acceptance.  There are several formal definitions from Merriam-Webster‘s online dictionary, none of which really cover the meaning I want to convey here.

How do you define the word?

From my perspective, acceptance means that I’m just going to take things at face value and do nothing to try to change a person or situation.  Most of the time acceptance enters into my thought process after a particularly negative event.  I find myself struggling with how I feel about a situation or a person.  The thoughts all lead to the same conclusion.  If I can just accept things/the person for what/who they are and realize that I have no control over it/them, I’m much better off.

However, there is something about the concept of accepting things that just makes me put up my ‘deflector shields’. I just seem to rail against that word because it feels like I’m giving up.   I think there is something I should be able to do to right the situation   Make a correction.

In reality, that is not the case because developing the ability to accept people, things, situations can give one a sense of relief and calm.  In stead of fighting my way upstream like a salmon, accepting those things I have have no control over provides a sense of tranquility, eliminating needless frustration.

On those occasions, my very wise and insightful husband reminds me to reflect on The Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Acceptance.  It’s not all that bad.  In fact, it is extremely good because it frees us from negativity.  The simple act of accepting, those things/people we cannot control or change,  lifts a HUGE weight from our shoulders, heart and soul.  It allows us to feel better and to be happy.  That is a wonderful thing.

Namaste.

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Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank ~ Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone

How I Visualize The Comfort Zone

The topic for the May Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank writers is: ” How often do you step outside of your comfort zone?  If yes, how, when?  If not, are you considering it?”

I think instinctively, we know what The Comfort Zone is.  It’s that place where we are content.  Let’s not mix things up with a bunch of change.  Why would I want to leave something where I’m not feeling any stress or pressure?  Well, there are plenty of good reasons to leave that space because the action of doing so will help you to grow.  I know.

The revelation to Step Outside of My Comfort Zone came to me sometime in the ’80s.  Discussions centered around being stuck in a rut.

Who Wants to be Stuck?

The part about being stuck didn’t sound very pleasant to me. I recognized that I was ‘stuck’ and needed to do something about it. The answer came in the form of stepping outside of my comfort zone.  It’s not easy because we like what we know.  It’s familiar.  I hesitated, but I knew it was something I had to do.

One of my biggest steps outside of my comfort zone was going back to college to get my degree in Computer Science.  Working full time, going to school at night after working all day, making time to study and knowing it was going to take longer because I was a part-time rather than a full-time student.  The desired result was I would change careers. The unknown was being able to find a job in a new field. My parents thought I was crazy to leave the security of an established career. I suspect some of my co-workers thought I was nuts too. But you know what?  I did it. I got the degree. I found the job.  All of that reinforced so many positive things; the most important was that I was doing something about my current situation, investing in myself and my future. If I hadn’t taken that step, I would have remained in a job I didn’t enjoy, frustrated and miserable. By taking that step, a whole new world opened up for me and I felt alive again. The reward was well worth the initial trepidation I felt.

I continue to look for ways to step outside of my comfort zone. Yes, it’s still met with that initial fear/hesitation but I am equipped with the knowledge of all the great things that happen when I push through that fear. The end result, the rewards far outweigh the perceived risks.

My current venture is to write a book. I’ve wanted to do this for years. One of my first steps toward this was taking a Writing Workshop last month. There I was in a room of 499 other writers, listening to Dr Wayne Dyer share aspects of his journey. I’m thinking, wow, this is a big goal and step outside of that oh so comfortable comfort zone. I’ve written blogs and made my first attempt to write a book last November with a Novel Writing Challenge, but this workshop, this is the reality of what needs to happen. I started to think all of this is scary stuff. Then that little tap on my shoulder that tells me, remember how much fun it is to step outside the zone? Ah, yes, it is! Time to plunge, really plunge into this with everything I have. I’ve done it before, I can do it again. So I’m working on my book proposal and it feels like I’m off to a bit of a slow start, but that’s ok because I know my momentum will come.

Yes I’m a huge proponent of stepping oustide of your comfort zone. I do it a lot. I highly recommend it because I have found it has helped me to grow as a person. My life has been so much richer as a result.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers shared on this topic:
Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
pencilfox: http://www.pencilfox.com
Christine: http://christineesovoloff.tumblr.com/
Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com

Namaste

Make the Decision to be Happy

Embrace Happiness

Sunflowers make me smile.  They symbolize happiness for me.  I cannot tell you why, it is just something I feel.  I believe happiness comes from within, a conscious decision.  I know from personal experience this is true. I believe The Art of Being Happy is as simple as Making the Decision to be Happy.

Yes, every day we are bombarded by external factors that influence our happiness. BUT, once we make the decision to be happy, it is much harder for those things outside of our control to affect our happiness.

Let me give you an example that happened in my life just last week.

Friday morning, my alarm goes off at 4:25 AM. I’m tired. It’s been a long week between work, exercise, life in general. My feet hit the floor. I hold my hand to my head, wishing desperately that I could just change the alarm to 5:30 and get another hour of sleep. Yet I get up at this hour because I’m committed to going swimming with my husband.  This year I’m signed up for my first swimming event and Friday is one of our regular swim days. A negative feeling started to come over me and I was working very hard to shake it off as I didn’t want it to affect my day or me!

We’ve all had those mornings where a number of mishaps occur as the day starts and we just let it snowball into a bad day and feeling terrible.  I recognized the signs that morning and decided I was going to ignore all of them.  This is how my morning unfolded.

Heading out to the car, too many bags to wrangle between my purse, my lunch bucket, my messenger bag for work and my workout bag.  It felt like I was fighting with all of them, including myself, to just get out of the house.  Straps slipping off my shoulders, thermal coffee mug balanced in one hand, keys in another.  Sigh.  By the time I got everything loaded into the car and I plopped into the driver’s seat, I was exhausted. Yet, I told myself….and this is key here, I wasn’t going to let this perceived effort and feeling affect the tone of my day.

The swim was good. I did my normal meditative swim and did my best to shake off some of my perceived negative feelings from the moment my alarm went off. I wasn’t going to let any of this turn it into a bad day. I made a conscious choice.

Fast forward, I’m in the locker room getting ready to head to work. The last step in my routine is to fire up my flat iron for my hair. With a flick of the thumb, the switch ended up popping off,  flying through the air (with the greatest of ease)….sort of slow motion now with a nice little cartwheel movement.  You know how that is with your eyes following the trajectory of the fragmented object.  My jaw drops open, I look at the flat iron in my hand with the now missing switch mechanism….  that little component that will turn it on/off and think, now what? I’m pretty sure my shoulders slumped in disappointment. I looked in the mirror and saw a bit of a horrified look on my face because of what happened. I assessed my hair and thought, well, I can live without the final flat iron finish today. And then I smiled and thought, I’m not going let this affect my day either. Another conscious decision on my part to have a good day, be happy and not allow any of these very minor outside events alter my day.

Now here’s the beautiful thing. The events of my day started to turn around. I started to laugh at all those silly little things that really didn’t matter. I was happy. I was having a good day. I made a choice to be happy and have a good day.

Here’s what happened next.  My husband got tickets for Iron Man 3 after work. We thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Had a great date night.

Because of the conscious choices I had made early that day to not let things outside of my control get to me, I ended up having a perfect day and I was happy. I felt happy.  It’s internal to me.  It’s part of who I am.

You see, I like being happy. It’s a choice. I think I was able to understand and grasp that concept fairly early in my life. Have things affected me adversely? You bet. Have I allowed them to fester and rob me of my joy? Sadly, yes. But, here’s the great part, I never let those things, those setbacks, last very long. I need to be happy. I want to be happy. It’s something that comes from within and I can make the choice to be happy and I do. How simple is that?

It seems like many of us search for happiness through things, events and others. The “I’ll be happy when this happens” or “when someone else does something”.  No, that doesn’t work and only makes happiness all the more elusive.  The secret is realizing where happiness resides. It lives within in you and is waiting for you to ask it to be a part of your life.  Make the decision to be happy.  Once you do, it just becomes effortless. Now that’s priceless.

Namaste.