We have finally made it to the mighty Redwoods. Both Shane and I breathe a heavy sigh of relief. We are ready to get off the road for a few days. We are ready to piddle, to meander a bit in the lush woods around Elk Country RV Resort and Campground near Trinidad, California where we are hanging our hats for a few days. We are ready to just relax after a week of grief over the loss of our 14-year-old dog Keidi (which happened expectantly on the first day of our trip) and to soak in the significance of this vacation-turned-sojourn.
It was with this frame of mind that I sat on my yoga mat the other morning, for some nature-inspired, relaxing meditation time. The Eel River meandered slowly before me. In the distance, chickens clucked. Closer still, a blue jay hopped amongst the fallen leaves, head cocked inquisitively in my direction.
Of course, even in the middle of nowhere, there was Wi-Fi, so I clicked on YouTube and searched for a 15-minute meditation (about all I can handle). One from Eckhart Tolle immediately came up. Bless Mr. Tolle─ he has saved me from insanity on several occasions.
“Allowing this moment to be takes you out of thought,” said Mr. Tolle, in his signature monotone voice.
Okay, I thought, I’m with you, Eckhart. I would like a few less mosquitos buzzing around in my head.
Then Tolle said something about acceptance. Oh boy. Good-bye relaxing meditation time; hello emotions. In my mind’s eye, I see our little dog’s face, smiling and panting, her deep eyes wide and loving as she gazes up at us.
“Whatever you accept, you go beyond. That is the miracle. Whatever you resist, sticks with you.”
The statement hits me like a two-by-four. Do I really want to go beyond the alive Keidi, that Keidi that would rub her eye goobers along my just-washed pants, the living, breathing Keidi who would stick her nose in between us for a nuzzle every time Shane and I hugged? Do I really and truly wish to move beyond that reality and allow a new and different reality to take place?
No! Came the instant reply. Stay with me Keidi. Don’t leave!
But wait, another voice says gently, aren’t you committed to learning how to accept and even embrace change moment by moment as you walks through the world? Isn’t that what being a Gentle Traveler is all about? And isn’t loss─ and the inevitable change that comes with it─ just another part of that journey?
Darn that “still small voice” of my inner intuition. Why does it have to be right just about 100% of the time?
Lesson #1: The Mind Devises Clever Ways to Avoid Acceptance
I continued to breathe in and out as Tolle continued to speak about acceptance with intermittent spaces of silence for practice. After a while, I noticed a pattern to my thinking. In came a thought. Then, interestingly, a secondary thought came in immediatley like the scrub stage of a car wash. It appeared as if it was designed to erase that first thought clean away. I waited for the pattern to happen again.
The next thought was of Keidi, along with a customary and understandable feelings of sadness. Immediately, the secondary thought had its scrub brushes whirling in the form of a familiar voice:
Don’t feel that emotion; Don’t you do it! What good will it do for you to feel anyways? Toughen up and get on with your life!
Acceptance means accepting the external reality of the moment and, more importantly, accepting the internal one as well. This includes unpleasant emotions– and that nasty critic.
Accepting the moment as it is, however, is where true bravery lies.
Do you sometimes resist thoughts that bring up unpleasant emotions? What particular devices does your mind use to cover them up?
#2 Acceptance Leads to Awareness and Healing
Why is it such a courageous act to accept all that is happening in the moment, both externally and internally? Marianne Williamson says it best:
“The more room you give yourself to express your true thoughts and feelings, the more room there is for your wisdom to immerge. “
Here’s the rub: expression of one’s Truth cannot happen until Acceptance of that Truth happens first.
What are you wanting to express right now? What do you need to accept before that expression can take place?
#3 Acceptance of What Is Allows One to Go Beyond It
So to paraphrase Williamson: when you give yourself room for expression of your Truth in the moment, wisdom is born.
What does your Wise-Self look like? Feel like? Sound like?
My wise self is bumbling at times, serious at times, carefree at other times, but always inquisitive, always devoted to evolving consciousness, always standing awe-stuck in the middle of the living force that exists all around her.
She is Traveler, treading gently in the world and beyond. Now with a friend to boot: trusty Soul-Dog, smiling her dog-smile and trotting her dog-trot by her side.