Acceptance & Permission

The previous post was all about dealing with undesirable situations in a procedural way. This one looks at the flip side of that approach, suggesting that sometimes it is better just to accept where and who we are, and give ourselves the permission to be. In doing so, we can relax and conserve our energy, or focus it more effectively, instead of struggling against what is often just a natural part of life’s process.

Last Monday I gave myself the week off. Acceptance and permission. The weather for the week was set to be lovely, my editing work had come to a natural end, and I only had two client calls scheduled. Besides the promise of sunshine and the efforts of the last few weeks, my decision was motivated by an acknowledgement that my mood was not the best.

I had spent the previous day with friends – a relaxed coffee with one, and a few hours on the beach with another – and found myself saying to them both: ‘I am sad about the break-up of my relationship; I have lost confidence in my work, my writing and my book; and I currently don’t have enough clients. But my life is great.’ Throughout that day it was obvious to those close to me that I was busy with my thoughts. I was in a reflective, subdued state, and perhaps more at the mercy of my feelings than a day in the sunshine warranted.

With the relationship issue, there is little I can do but accept my place in the grieving process. My loss of confidence is cyclical. From time to time it just happens. I have had it before and will have it again. These days, it’s like a visit from an old friend whose annoying presence nonetheless prompts me to appraise where I am, reassure myself that all is okay, and relax for the duration of his stay.

When I woke up the next day, I realised that all I could do was accept the fact that I was experiencing an emptiness and make the best of it. With the assurance of sunshine, it seemed the best I could do was take the week off. Relax. Be on holiday. As it turned out, it became one of the most productive, restful, active, fulfilling and promising weeks I have had for a long time. It was a complete success.

I spent the week doing whatever I wanted to do. I exercised more than I usually do, going for bike rides and long walks, I meditated more, I enjoyed my time more and was able to relax more. Paradoxically, I was also more productive (this is the third new post I have written in the last six days) and there were developments with my work too: I received a request to speak at Amsterdam University; a client finally had the breakthrough we have been working towards for the last six months; and there were promising leads and conversations about work in the future.

Having questioned everything, the answers came effortlessly and I ended the week as I began: in the company of friends. The beautiful weather continues as I type these words, and I look back over a week whose success was grounded in an acceptance of where and who I am, and the simple permission to be. Plus, of course, all the beauty of the town where I live and the precious, transformative power of sunshine.

Haarlem March 2014

Related posts: The Subtlety Of Feeling | Accept Who & Where I Am | The Beginnings Of Acceptance

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