Entering the Doorway of Acceptance
By Susan Christine Greenwood
“Simplicity, clarity, truth.” Words so beautiful that even reading them aloud brings peace and calm.
For me, this is what ACOL has brought to my life. Complications are gone, replaced with simplicity. Confusion has gone, replaced with clarity. I present only the truth of my Self to all I meet, because that is all I choose to be, now. Life is so much simpler when I no longer hide behind the mask of self-protection. I see others clearly when I truly listen, and am focused on seeing the true Self behind their masks. Sometimes I see fear, and then I try to respond with love.
Each of us feels ACOL in different ways, and yet we all feel the same message of love, of unity. May I share with you some of the things I have felt?
When I first started to read ACOL, I found it difficult. The first volume seemed to address all that could be wrong with my thinking. I got impatient with the details—too many words for my “little self” brain to comprehend! My friend and facilitator, Donna Trudell, was so patient. When I got frustrated, she would smile and advise me to “just let it wash over you; just feel it in your heart.” Sure enough, the more I read, the more I could feel myself shifting in perception.
The day soon arrived when I was excited to open my book, when I understood that answers I had been searching for were always available, and that I could live in love. ACOL gave me the key to unlock my heart. I never want to close it again.
One sentence which opened my heart is, “Acceptance is a willingness to receive.” It is discussed fully in Chapter 2 of The Dialogues. I thought that I already understood the importance of acceptance. I had told myself many times to simply accept. I carried in my phone an image of a bronze statue of a woman, entitled “Acceptance.” She sits calmly with head lowered and hands folded. For me, she embodies the peace that comes with acceptance.
But I had forgotten that acceptance also brings gifts. I suddenly understood that I had been thinking of acceptance in a vaguely negative manner—almost like a giving up—until I read that it is, in fact, a willingness to receive. To receive whatever is, with joy and gratitude.
I saw that acceptance is a doorway. As we open our hands, palms up, in the classic gesture of acceptance, so we open our hearts to receive. Accepting and acknowledging pain, so that healing can be received. Accepting and acknowledging loss, so that peace can be achieved. I also reflected on past experiences, when love was available to me, was offered to me, yet I chose to see lack instead of the abundance of love. I was unwilling to receive. Wow! I actually enjoy this acceptance feeling now! And I accept, I receive, what is. And all is well.
When I live in each moment, fully present and attentive, I am living in relationship with all. I feel this most easily in nature. Sitting beneath a tree and watching the vibrant green leaves above tracing patterns against a blue sky. Acknowledging the cycle of life and seasons within the tree and all that it sustains. The delicate whorls of the bark. The twisted branches providing both sustenance and shelter for insects, squirrels and birds. Watching the movement of sunshine and sky reflected on water; the ripples glistening like countless shimmering diamonds on the lake surface.
Our true Self reflects divine radiance with each loving experience, just as the water reflects sun and clouds. The beautiful melodious birdsong, which greets each new day, always prompts me to linger a while and listen. To appreciate the connection between us all. Living in union with all that is given is truly wonderful.
The beautiful example of how we respond to a sunset given in Chapter 2 of The First Treatise, “A Treatise on the Art of Thought,” asks us all to consider our relationship with nature. Many of us pause to appreciate a glorious sunset or rainbow. Yet how easy it is to overlook that one perfect cloud passing overhead; that one intricate leaf swaying in the breeze; that single bird sweetly singing.
Earlier this year I was planning a trip to Santa Fe. I use the term “planning” loosely—a friend was going, and she simply asked me to join her. I had been thinking I would love to visit Santa Fe, and this invitation came as a complete surprise: a perfect gift from the universe. We booked our flights. Then she got sick, and so we cancelled. A few days later it became possible again, and off we went to enjoy a lovely week visiting her friends.
I realized that throughout the whole experience I felt contentment and peace with what is, whether we went to Santa Fe or not. Fine with however each day unfolded. And I thought, “Am I missing out on the excitement I used to feel about vacations and going to new places?” Soon I discovered that Chapter 10 of The First Treatise addresses this very subject—and yes, the “core of peace” which I feel consistently nowadays is so preferable to the highs and lows I used to feel. I swim in the deep waters of my true Self. I don’t miss the eddies or the white water on the surface.
I feel such relief now. I no longer hold the responsibility of judging others or their actions. I no longer have to be “Mother Hen”—the title given to me when I was intent on ensuring that others were happy before I could be happy. How free I feel now as I let life simply unfold! When I respond to what IS with truth and love, I have time to sing. To dance. TO BE. When I am creating and being—that’s when the magic happens.
I am childlike now in my love of life. I’ve returned to simplicity, clarity, and truth. I delight at the beauty all around me. A stranger’s smile. An unexpected hug. From the tiniest determined flower pushing it’s way up through the concrete of a parking lot, to the pampered orchids with their complicated beauty at the local botanical gardens, I appreciate it all.
The even better news is that I have the wonder of a child’s perception, yet none of the tantrums! I smile—a lot—yet hardly ever stamp my feet when life doesn’t go as I thought it should! “Each day is a creation.”
I keep a journal. Not daily, I simply write in it when something occurs to me that I want to capture. I was looking back over my journal in preparation to writing this article, and I found an entry written over a year ago, several months before I knew anything about ACOL. My thoughts at that time were:
“It all starts with me: I replenish myself from within and in turn, that rolls out to others, and comes back to me. Thus, I am at the center of a loving and caring universe (which I have co-created). So, why is self-love a word which has connotations of narcissism, self-absorption? Because don’t we all strive for a loving, compassionate relationship with ourselves? And the difference is whether I think of myself as an individual, or as a divine being, part of a greater divinity. Because for the whole to be loving, each part must be loving. So we must join together to co-create a loving, caring, sharing whole. In whatever ways we can.”
I read this again today, for the first time since I wrote it, and I know now with certainty that “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.” My teacher, our ACOL group facilitator Donna Trudell, complete with her ACOL book, appeared in my life just a few months later.
Life is full of miracles . . . when your heart is open and whole.
Susan Greenwood grew up in England, and has lived and worked in Naples, Florida, for the past 15 years. Reading and writing are life-long pleasures. For the past few years she has also enjoyed writing brief group meditations to share with friends.
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The Bliss of Gratitude is a Song
By Chris Fine
I sit here again in tears this night,
with a gratitude in my heart
that has touched my mind
and gone again higher to the Christ that I am.
Yes, we look at our “sins”
so we can see they never were.
This we must do to loosen the lie.
Yet to remain there forever looking at sin
is not the point.
The point is to go beyond.
I am grateful then, to the Christ I am.
To this Self I give thanks, that I am one with Love.
In that thanks
is my grateful joy
for all the help of Heaven
even in every “small” appreciation
I might extend in Love.
The benefit can’t be measured, of being in this gratitude and praise of Love given and received.
The Love that is generated
with tears of awe and thankfulness, peace and knowing.
There is healing here.
In this rest is a bliss so complete, a peace so gentle.
There is no mistaking that the angels of Heaven flock near me now.
And join in my gratitude, as they welcome me to Heaven’s Gate.
Glory and grace is ours
as we sing our song
of gratitude to Love.
There is no bliss,
such as this.
In gratitude, join me here,
we join in Love.
Chris Fine feels the wonder of the world through relentless application of ACIM and ACOL. She says, “What else are miracles for, but Love? And what else is Love for, but to know Self?