“While you think of acceptance as just another word, another concept, another trick of the mind, you will not see it as the replacement of learning, and as such as an active state, a state in which you begin to work with what is beyond learning, a state in which you are in relationship with what is beyond learning. It is in truth, a state in which you enter into an alternate reality, the reality of union—because you accept that reality. D.Day3.58
August is one of the in between months. As my daughter and her new husband, (who work in the service industry) say, it is the worst month for restaurants. There is too much going on: vacations, the State Fair, back to school. When Labor Day is over, business picks up again and is good through Christmas. I didn’t ask if August is worse than January, but that feel of the in between is in the air, contagious. There are things to do before summer is over. And it is time to prepare for a new rhythm.
Consequently we went, yesterday, to an animal park in Wisconsin, an annual outing. Being that it’s a tradition, there was great desire not to miss it, but it had been such a busy summer that it seemed about to slip away. And so, even though Mia’s family had just spent the weekend moving into their new house, we went, and it was about as perfect as perfect could be.
Yesterday morning, when I started this blog, I was feeling such appreciation for the way things have been. But today is a new day and I seem to have lost my focus. And why not?
We stand at the intersection point of the finite and the infinite in order to complete the creative act of becoming. (D:Day.6.1)
Are we ever removed from this creative act of becoming for more than five minutes? Acts that find us constantly swept into a new zone? A day of living changes a person. My time with my family is in a constant state of endings and new beginnings. I was grateful yesterday that they blend together, and I can appreciate both. I was grateful for this recognition. Today, my acceptance of this reality, after the big event of the family outing is over, turned in a new direction: to the reality of facing that my mom’s life is coming to an end.
I visited her, Friday, the day after the doctor gave her this news. She is soon to be 91 so it was not unexpected. It was not a “you have a month to live” ending, but an acknowledgment that her heart is failing and that there is nothing more that can be done to prevent it. I visited her with hope of the sweet connection that comes of facing ones reality. I approached, wondering if she would surrender to it. She has not. Facing death, as Jesus says in The Dialogues, is a process of acceptance like unto that which is experienced with our discovery of our true Self through this Course. There are stages to accepting a new reality. There is a time in between.
I trust that this is so, and yet Mom’s denial made me momentarily uncertain and wistful for a deeper connection right now, or at least, please Lord . . . soon! Yet it also helped me remember the need of accepting all the stages or states of our being, of our reality. There are stages to accepting a new reality. For some this approach of a new reality appears to be easy, but Jesus seems to suggest we will all go through the same “stages of grief” as we let our old lives go.
“Accept your anger for it is the next step in the continuum upon which we travel. When a person is dying, just as when a person is undergoing this final surrender, there are stages through which one moves. The first is denial, the second is anger.” (D:Day3.1) The next is bargaining and the final stage before acceptance, is depression. “Each stage may contain hints of the other . . . each stage is experienced and felt.” (D:Day3.52)
As I continue to feel the changes in my life in a new and enhanced way, I’m glad of this reminder of stages of acceptance. This variety of acceptance seems to me to be like the difference between memoir and statistics. It is why a memoir of war is about so much more than killing and yet causes one to abhor war much more than does a list of casualties. As with everything else, we each “accept what is” in our own way. There is no right way and the only “right time” is every day, every hour as we accept our feelings within them. There is our time—our time to participate in the creative act of becoming who we are, moment by moment, year to year, and even beyond time as we know it.
It may just be my view, but the process of accepting the physical life and the divine life as one, having them be interconnected, is why Jesus speaks of the stages of acceptance felt by the dying and spends so much time speaking of the constant acceptance needed to move into a new reality. It’s a reminder to me, anyway, that acceptance doesn’t come without feeling the feelings of all of it—the inner and the outer. I have witnessed this slow movement in myself. I am coming to acceptance of the changes in my life, in my way. And I am seeing that only “then” is there liberation from the old. I am not yet fully liberated, but I’m getting closer. The ultimate, liberating acceptance can’t be rushed, but it can be gentled by not being hard on ourselves or others as it comes.
You are not separate now from who you will be when you reach completion! You are in and within the relationship of creation in which created and creator become one. (D:Day.6.12)
As is so often true, your words are so timely and resonant for me as I watch my dear stepmother move more deeply into her Alzheimers. I remember too when my own mother was terminally ill and what a grace it was to be able to accompany her on that journey, even though we expected her to live and were only told she would not a few days before her death. I still struggle with acceptance of that, but this past Thursday was the eleventh anniversary of her death as well as the feast day of the Transfiguration, and I felt a sense of acceptance then that is deeper than it has been. ACOL, as well as your indulgent kindness and encouragement here, and that of others, has helped more than I can say.
The words from ACOL you quote here are going to stay with me this week. I just came from a beautiful (but, for me, quietly emotionally intense) weekend with my stepmother, father, and my brother and his family, who are down in Georgia from Connecticut to visit and see how they can help as things change. It was such a sweet weekend, with my brother and I having long conversations about God and many other things. I had ACOL with me and showed it briefly to my brother, who was not at all dismissive and seemed genuinely engaged by it.
What you say about the need for accepting all the stages of our reality….yes. It is hard at times but feels possible.
I wish I had something to write that doesn’t feel obvious or trite about your mom. I know the experience of losing one’s mother, and it had its moments of paradoxical beauty. She quoted Julian of Norwich all the way through. You know: “all shall be well, and all shall be well. and all manner of thing shall be well.”
Much love and gratitude.
Derek, What an incredibly sweet and heartfelt response. Thank you. Thank you for me and for my mother and your support of your own mum and of the “new life” of this Course. I love how you wrote accept accepting acceptance. It is easier when life’s circumstances are favorable and I appreciate your recognition of that too. Yet the “less than favorable” conditions of life bring such deep feeling and with those deep feelings, if not right away, eventually, greater clarity. What startled me as I felt my mom’s lack of acceptance was the dawning of how crucial accepting of one’s reality actually is. It’s another way of saying “accept what is” yet it felt quite different to experience it in this way. Many blessing to you and your mum.
Thanks Mari for taking the time to write back. Yes, the word ‘angles’ comes to mind. Sometimes, the same thing said another way ‘registers’ more clearly; goes ‘kaplunk’ (‘like yes, I see now’). Love you Mari. x
Thanks Mari. A lovely Post – and personal.
Acceptance is something that I am relishing at the moment – ‘accepting acceptance’ I guess you could call it. I am blessed by favourable human circumstances at present to accept accepting acceptance. The acceptance is an internal one.
I don’t feel I have as good a grasp yet of accepting external changes. As I mentioned, human circumstances are favourable at the moment, and so, there are no external challenges.
I felt some sadness reading about your mom (mum here in Australia). My mother too is ageing and has had trouble with her health which I am helping her with as I live with her.
Your Post has reminded me of the ‘creative’ nature of everything. That nothing is wholly complete. Even the attribute-less God is aware of the attribute-laded expression of Itself. Movement and more movement. Mm. Lots to quietly ponder and be with.
Love to you truly and your mom truly and family.
smell of freshly ground coffee â€“ for me straight back to being a 7 years old with my dad, in the suremparket when they let you open the coffee bean packs and grind your own.
Mari, the death of your mother will be the death of an era for you, won’t it. So much closure with your daughter’s wedding, all the moving out, now your mother moving on. What a process you are and have been in this summer. Wonder what you are being readied for as your life is clearing from family responsibilities. Acceptance and change.
When my husband, David, was dying, I too wanted a closeness with him as I feel birth and death are such gifts, times when the veil between us and a Greater Realty grows thin. However, it was not to be. I had to accept he was entitled to his way. He chose the way of denial. Four days before he passed on, he asked the hospice nurse “This isn’t always fatal is it?” His denial increased the burden I was carrying and my heart felt blocked.
Such a lesson to me to lay aside my expectations and be with what is. Put crudely, I wanted him to die the way I wanted him to– meeting my needs for intimacy and closure–. It’s almost funny put in those terms.
Love and tender moments are my prayer for you at this time, Paula
Paula, You are so right, and so poignant and funny! And so in sync with me in many ways. (You can see why I marvel at your grace with change.) I haven’t given up hope for my mom, as we’re a ways away (possibly) from her death, and the time that she will be in more of a position to accept it. Me too. It will ease my acceptance if we can have closeness. The good thing is that it really made me realize how much accepting my reality has to do with the closeness I can achieve with others. If I were in denial about all this change, I would hardly be able to relate at all! Looking at this situation alongside that of accepting the changed reality we experience with this Course, is very clarifying to me. I never know when I write if it will be to others or not!
Thank you so much for responding so personally.
Many thanks dear Mari.
Indeed acceptance is what brings true comfort, and not the other way around.
And it is soon followed by welcoming, more and more welcoming and even celebrating of what comes our way. Once accepting and welcoming become our way, we are freed from grief.
Jacques, I love that expression that acceptance brings true comfort. Yes! Thank you.