The Magic of Acceptance

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Acceptance is a Magical Energy.

When I say ‘acceptance,’ I don’t mean simply hanging your head and giving up. That is resignation. That is a loss of hope. Acceptance is the ability to look around and assess where you are right now, in this moment in time, this very second, and just breathe and recognize this is reality, and be okay with that. To not judge the moment, or yourself in a negative way, but to simply allow it to be what it is. You don’t have to like everything about where you are and you don’t have to be ready to stay there forever. Just find a space where you can breathe and notice that you are okay, right in that moment. You’ll find that from a place of acceptance, you can often see the light well enough to notice what the next baby step forward is for you.

Each day as you wake up, spend a moment noticing your surroundings and your life. Take in the sights and textures of a few things around you, notice how your body feels, be with life. Don’t judge it. Just notice. Try and find at least one thing that you can be okay with, or even loving towards, in what you witness. It can be really, really small. Then notice at least one thing you can be accepting and loving towards in yourself. That part is even harder for most of us. It was for me. (And often still is.) But working with self-acceptance is really vital to healing all the underlying emotional energies in your cells and changing any self-defeating thought patterns that may have become ingrained in your mind.

There was a prayer that I said to myself every morning in the shower for a very long time, which helped me to find and understand acceptance. I still say this prayer when I am facing a difficult day. Prayer helps us call upon the larger energy all around us in a conscious way and to center our own mind. It doesn’t have to be focused on a religious affiliation. Even the simple mental wish for strength or for someone to have a good day can be seen as a prayer. This prayer is called the Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The Courage to change the things I can,

And the Wisdom to know the difference.

In many ways, when we accept where we are, we have to let go of certain things. We hold many expectations about things—expectations about the way things should go, about how others should behave or think, expectations about ourselves. Most of the time these expectations don’t turn out to be exactly what happens in reality. When we spend our time and energy thinking reality should match the image we have in our heads, we create energetic resistance. It is a state of disharmony and it is a lot like trying to force water through a blocked channel. It won’t work, but it can surely cause struggle and pain.

One of the fastest ways to change the way you feel about a situation that you have no ability to change is to let go. Accept that you have no control over it. For example, you cannot control someone else’s behavior. It doesn’t matter what the behavior is or what you do or say about it, in the end, you aren’t in control of it. Letting go of that allows you to find space to see options for either learning to accept the behavior lovingly or find distance enough to be free from it.

In any situation, including illness and pain, you can only control your part and your responses to the situation. Trying to control the rest of it is exhausting and anxiety producing. It won’t work in the end. But you can tune in to how you feel about the situation and respond in the most open, kind, and loving manner for everyone concerned—including yourself.

Lovingly letting go of the things you can’t change allows you to see options for the things you can change. Accepting what is allows you to open to Universal Life Force. It brings in trust that all things will pass. You can really begin to notice that this is true. No emotion or situation stays forever. They all shift at some point. Opening your energy channels to allowing Universal Life Force to operate through and around you each day acknowledges that you are aware that you are part of a larger whole and can’t see the whole picture. But you allow room for the mystery of the picture, even when you can’t see all of it.

(An adapted excerpt from my book Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing.)

Blessings,
Angie

P.S. Pre-registration is now open for Herbal Basics: Creating Your Family’s Apothecary. This online class will be fully released on June 30th. Those who pre-enroll will receive a free PDF as an early preview of the class so they can get started now. Early enrollees will also have early access to class the material as it posts. Join us and learn how to create a few simple, basic recipes to have on hand to support your family during colds, minor cuts, scrapes or burns, and stress or sleeplessness! Pre-registration price is $55.

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Stop Reacting and Look Inside Yourself!

Change yourself tolstoyEvery day I see people saying how much they want there to be love and peace in the world. I do it too. We want people to stop hating, to be kind, to be considerate, compassionate and respectful. We also want people to be wiser, stronger, braver.

In fact, it seems we all have a long list of things we expect from other people. Lots of shoulds and shouldn’ts. Even truly kind, loving and patient people have a hard time making it through an entire day without being rubbed the wrong way or feeling deflated by another’s actions at some point in their day.

There is nothing wrong with having our own perspective of how we wish to see things go. Each of us brings unique view of the world and this world would give us less to learn if that weren’t true.

But what happens when you feel yourself getting aggravated because someone is taking longer than you feel they should in front of you in line? Or they are behind you in line and are rushing you to finish?

What happens when you see a news story where people died because people were displaying their religious or political views in a violent way?

What do you do when someone speaks aggressively to you out of their own hate or their own intolerance for another’s hate? Or in any number of similar situations throughout the day when our views and needs push up against the views and needs of another?

Most all of us react, at least inside ourselves, at least for a moment, by wanting the person we are upset with to behave differently. We are internally alarmed that this person is not following the path we have decided is the safe and appropriate one. We are angry or afraid.

So our typical reaction is to respond by hating back or being angry with those who are angry. So that news story that outraged us? What is outrage but violence? When we rage about something we feel is wrong are we actually changing it or are we sending more hate and anger out into the world?

Emotions can be signals for us to make a change. These emotions are meant to protect us. But we can also get very swept away by the chemical reactions they create in our bodies. We can start to believe everything these chemical reactions tell us and we can develop thoughts and stories–lots of them–to back all this up.

Maybe a change does need to be made when we hear another story about a murder or a suicide or you hear others gossiping. But maybe the first change needs to start with how we respond inside ourselves.

Maybe we can pay attention to how we tend to our emotions and our thoughts and treat them as real things that have an effect on the world, because they do. Other people’s emotions and thoughts are what created the very issues we react to all day, right? We can’t ever change other people’s emotions and thoughts. But we can deal with our own. Those we can change.

When we feel someone is sending anger and hate toward us, it is hard to respond with something different. Your mind tells you it is only safe to respond with anger and hate. But that only creates more of the same. It is the mentality that starts arguments, leads to murders, suicides and wars. It leaves us all empty.

We can teach our brains that it is safe to respond differently. We can learn to respond to our body sensations and our breath and recognize that underneath it all, we are feeling the need to protect ourselves or society. By responding to our immediate surroundings, body sensations and breath, we can begin to calm down a bit. We can see choices.

Sometimes the choice is simply to release the need to react. To have compassion for another’s human failings, just as we have failings throughout our own day. But, even if an action does need to be taken, having the space of calmness opens our mind to seeing what responses might make a true change in the situation. And it allows us to respond with an open heart as well.

Change made from an open heart and an open mind is expansive, creative and loving. It heals. Change that is attempted from a reactionary place of indignation, resentment or outright hate may even lead to something happening. We may even call this a change, but it will seldom be for the long term good and it will never be loving or healing. It is not growth.

I know we really want the world to heal. I know we really want to see, feel and experience love and peace in the world. I know we all want to be supported and accepted in the world. We each have to take our own responsibility for our part in that puzzle.

That doesn’t mean working harder to make the other guy change. It means we each have to keep taking a closer look inside. Over and over, all day long, every single day. And changing ourselves .

Not by shaming ourselves, but by being gentle, loving and strong with ourselves. We have to be our own guides and the kindest parents and teachers we could have ever hoped for.

As we practice that with ourselves each day, we will begin to practice love and kindness with each other more easily. As our sharp reactions change to loving and wise responses, the people around us will begin to respond differently. As our energy shifts, it will ripple out. Start within yourself. Have peace there first.

Surrender: Non-Attachment & Peace

peaceWe all want things to go the way we believe they should go.

We want things the way we want them. While we may sometimes allow some room for discussion and potential compromise, ultimately, we tend to think we know how things should turn out. We seek that end goal and lose sight of appreciating the process it takes to get where we really need to be.

What we all need and want on a deep level is safety, comfort and peace. When things get difficult, as they inevitably do in life, we want to feel better. Now.

We can talk about releasing the need to have immediate relief all we want to, but when we are the ones hurting, afraid or angry, it gets very difficult to keep peace in our hearts and surrender to the next moment.

The paradox is that it is that very act of letting go of our need to control the situation that brings us peace and comfort and often leads to our safety.

When I was a young child, I played in the woods of Arkansas every day. I ran through these woods, jumping over fallen trees and skipping through creeks. I was not afraid of anything, despite my mother’s constant warning that I should be afraid of rattlesnakes.

Instead, I learned respect for all the creatures of the woods, including the rattlesnakes. I came across rattlesnakes occasionally, but I never let myself give over to my fear. I knew that fear of the snakes would make it more likely that I would react in haste and therefore be bitten. Instead, I always stood quietly in my place, looking peacefully at the snake. I sent calming thoughts to the creature and backed away slowly.

If I had reacted with fear of being bitten, energetically, I would have sent that signal out to the snake. When we know another is reacting out of fear, we tend to be fearful of them and prepare to protect ourselves.

The thing is, if both parties are doing that defensive dance, it leads to hostility. Someone gets hurt. Someone has to be willing to let go of their fear and detach from trying to control the outcome. It makes it less likely that anyone gets bitten.

Applying this to a real world practice we all experience, we can use the example of showering. No one wants the water or soap in their eyes. It burns like hell. But, have you ever noticed that when you squeeze your eyes tightly closed you actually force the water and soap into your eyes? The best way to prevent getting soap in your eyes seems to be to relax.

Of course we don’t leave our eyes open and just let the soap run in, but when we gently close our eyes (no squeezing!) the soap runs harmlessly right over our eyelids.

Yoga practice gives us another daily life exposure to non-attachment. When we are trying to force our way into a pose, we make it that much more likely that we won’t be able to do it. Or, we hurt ourselves and feel frustrated at our efforts.

When we practice surrender, we are able to remember that it’s the practice that is important, not the ability to achieve a specific pose.

We are able to keep softness in our muscles and pay attention to our breath. The paradox is, when we do this, we often achieve our poses with more ease and less pain. We go to the edge of discomfort, but we don’t force through to pain.

It is much more difficult to practice taking this attitude of surrender into our relationships, our work and our finances. These are the things we fear will cause us the most harm, so we struggle against them the hardest.

But, this fear and struggle is what creates and perpetuates the many issues we all face in our day to day lives and we are all waiting for the other guy to lay down their weapons first.

We want to make sure that we are the ones with our mental guns always aimed and ready. We are expecting pain and clenching on that fear. No wonder we keep seeing and experiencing drama. We haven’t completely let go of it, ourselves.

Of course, our own way dealing with the world becomes the way that our family and society deals with the world. We are reflection of each other. There is no they, only us. Each of us is a part of the greater “they.”

We are like cells in a body—tiny parts that make up the entirety. Each cell responds in unity with each other in order to ensure their own survival and the survival of the greater whole. When cells fight each other for their own survival, at the expense of the whole, we call it disease.

If it goes on indefinitely, everything dies, including troublesome cells.

None of us knows the ultimate good of even our own lives, let alone the lives of the entire world. It seems the smart thing to do might be to admit this and relax in the knowledge that we don’t have to control the outcome of everything.

We only have to be responsible for our own inner harmony.

The result is not our business.

But, when we breathe and soften, we are more likely to get where we all want to be.

Originally published at http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/09/surrender-non-attachment-and-peace-angie-webster/

Surrender: Non-attachment & Peace

Surrender

Surrender: Non-attachment & Peace

This is a link to my article on elephant journal. I hope you enjoy! Please share your comments and feel free to share the article with anyone you feel inspire to.

Slow Down

Today I want to explore the struggle I have had with the near constant feeling that I must hurry. It is an urgency that rests in every level of my being. It is hard to even rest and relax because I feel I must “hurry and get it done”. There is always a feeling that what I am currently doing isn’t good enough and there are more important things to do. Even if what I am doing is quite important, I feel even more urgent as if not hurrying will cause me to fail or miss something vital. The opposite is true. When I hurry, I am not able to think as clearly, so I make more mistakes and take longer.

There are certainly times when there are deadlines and even emergencies. But hurrying does not help the process. If I make more mistakes and take longer, this would not be a good thing in either situation. It could even cause harm.

I once heard, “Late is late, why agitate?” It makes sense, but it has been hard to put into regular practice. I tend to always feel like I am running late, even when I don’t know what for. I dislike being late or falling behind. But it does sometimes happen, despite good planning. I find that when I can stay calm and accepting, I am able to get more done and accomplish the task more completely, in a shorter period of time than when I get panicked and rushed. Sometimes I even surprise myself by finishing on or ahead of time even when I thought I would be late—when I am at peace.

I can see situations and people that may have taught me the behavior of being tense and hurried. I hold no bad feelings for any of them. All brought me to the lesson I am learning now. It is time for those old patterns to fall away. They have served me well. They were meant to protect me and others. I can see a better way now. I want to try the way of peace, calm and acceptance. If it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to hurrying and trying to control everything.

Glorifying being busy and in a rush is the way many in society cope with life, not knowing a better way. For me, I can see that this causes more mistakes, lost opportunities and creates mental and physical disharmony. I will do it differently no and pray that the hurried ones I encounter will find peace also.

We are ALL worthy

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We are all, each one of us, children of Divine Source. Everything in creation, seen and unseen is also from this same Source, usually called God. (Replace the words I use with whatever word makes you feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter; it is all the same—Universe, Source Energy, Creator, Ultimate, or God/Goddess.) There is not only no reason for us to feel unworthy, but perpetuating feelings of unworthiness is much like denying our divine nature.

I have felt my connection to God and the miraculous since I was a child. Long before I had words to put to the experience, I felt God, angels and spirits flowing around and through me. I did not grow up in a household that attended church. I simply knew. I think this is how we all start out. As children, we understand our true origins and it doesn’t occur to us to question it.

As I got older, I asked more questions about God looking to put words to the internal knowing I felt. I remember the first time I did this. I was about six. I felt that the answers I got were incomplete and even confused. I felt like there was more that we weren’t allowed to talk about or that the adults we denying their own internal knowledge. They were holding back in some way I did not comprehend.

By seven, I sought out my answers by going to church on my own. I rode a church bus to Sunday school at a local church every week. This was the beginning of my learning that some questions are very shocking and others aren’t allowed. Ideas of shame, fear and anger seem to be the prevailing thought pattern in most churches.

Since then, I have attended various different kinds of Christian churches. As an adult, I have read and studied the texts of other religions as well. The realization I keep coming back to is that God is not limited to the definitions and dogmas of any particular religion. I do feel that religion can be and is useful. But we have to be careful not to limit our understanding of God to mere words and their interpretation. God is ultimately beyond our full capacity to comprehend while still in this dimension. God must be more intuited and felt than rationalized into words. Neither science nor religion can fully explain Truth. However, both science and every religious text I have read confirm that Energy is everywhere. Everything is made of it and surrounded by it.

If God is in us, and we are made from God, then we are not unworthy as God’s Children. To act as if we are is to deny the gift of the spark of God we are given. Psalm 82:6 says: I say, ‘You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you.’ What else would you call children of God but gods? We co-create with God flowing through us, into the reality all around us. We are miracles and we are participants in miracles through the energy of God. Yet feelings of unworthiness cause us to deny miracles all the time. We act as though admitting that we are capable of asking for and receiving a miracle is somehow wrong or to be feared.

We ignore our intuition (the voice of God) and resist even asking for the real transformations we seek. Many of us are afraid to even voice that we understand our true connection to Source. It almost seems mandated that we hold ourselves in a small place and call ourselves bad and unworthy. We fill ourselves with guilt for simply existing. But we are God’s children. Source brought us into being. Source is Love. Source is part of everything. It can be denied and ignored, but it remains.

Jesus spoke of this many times in the book of John, including referring to Psalm 82:6 in John 10: 34-38.  In John 14: 9-12, Jesus affirms again that we are all interconnected through God and that we are able to do all that Jesus did—and more. Speaking to Phillip, Jesus said “Have I been with you all this time, Phillip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say ‘Show me the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these.” To me this means learning the things Jesus taught and applying them. I don’t see that as a blind belief that we would be somehow saved through the birth and death of Jesus. I understand that we are to come back to that intuitive “knowing” that we already have Christ consciousness in us from the start. The goal then is to return to it, to resurrect it in us. It is a remembering of our true origin, our divinity. The one we were born with and forgot along the way. This opens us to much more than we are able to see without it. It also allows us to stop condemning and judging ourselves and each other. Our minds and hearts become open and able to see and perform miracles.

In John 14:20, Jesus says “On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you”. This is interconnection! I have heard many interpret this as meaning we will not understand this until we reach Heaven, or until the Apocalypse comes. To me this understanding creates Heaven! Heaven is within, no matter where you are. God is not dependent on time or place. If God is within, we are experiencing God at every moment. We simply lose awareness of this. Reminding ourselves is so important. In remembering this, each one in themselves, we transform the world. We create Heaven on Earth and in all dimensions. The only thing we can do with this understanding is to love ourselves, each other and everything in creation. Love is transformative. It creates miracles.

When we hold ourselves or someone else as unworthy or even as separate, we are denying our essence. We need to remember that the underlying message of every religion is love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding of ourselves. Without fear. In peace. It is what Jesus taught. There is no reason to limit God in our minds and hearts. God is limitless. Christ awareness is in every person. The Divine is in every person. We are all part of God. ALL is in God’s image. ALL are worthy of love. Do not judge. Do not fear. Be at peace.

Expanding our view of Divinity (or don’t put God in a box)

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It is impossible to put the Divine in a human box. God can’t be defined with a label, words, or ideas. Our minds, as amazing as they are made to be, are not capable of conceiving of That which is part of them, which they are also part of. It is like asking a drop of water to understand that it is made of ocean and still understand the entirety and complexity of all the oceans. Impossible! The Divine that we come from is so much more immense than that. Yet humans actively frame the Supreme in small human context.

This must be forgiven because we are, after all, human. We think like humans. We put things in human terms. It is easier to understand when we do this. Fear of things we can’t understand and can’t control contributes to this tremendously. We can only see and control what is directly in front of us, right now. And often that is difficult. This is a really hard thing to let go of sometimes. But think of the drop of water. It floats in the ocean and rests, even when it’s getting tossed around on a hurricane or a tsunami. It just knows it is water, all the time, wherever it lands. Water eventually returns to the ocean. You are always a soul. You will eventually return to God, no matter how rough the ride or how long it takes. Don’t let yourself feel too separated due to fear.

It seems that we can easily fall into the trap of believing that we have the only right or true way of understanding the Divine, or that we know the only true name by which to call Him. Many cultures and religions have fallen under this spell. So much hatred, death and war have been perpetrated under the illusion that it is possible to place the Supreme into a human concept and know Him precisely through a single unique truth. But how can we say that God is infinite, everywhere, All, if we limit the Energy that flows from Source to only where we can see and clearly understand and define it? Each of us is created with this same energy, just as all things are. We can’t say that one person is less made of God Energy and is therefore less worthy than any other. Nor can we say that any creature or creation is less worthy since it is all created from the same Source. Behaviors may not be desirable, emotions may not be pleasant. These are fleeting and can be changed. That should not be forgotten. The essence, the energy from God remains the same, always. Behaviors and emotions only cloud this and disturb our ability to see it clearly. Like clouds we can wait for them to pass. There are also methods to assist them passing more quickly, like meditation, tai chi, qigong, yoga and energy medicine techniques.

If you understand God to be capable of doing anything and being everywhere, and you believe that He loves all and distributes Divine Grace, regardless of merit, then you seem to have removed all limits from God. These are the ways I understand the religions of the world to view the Divine, regardless of what name they refer to the Lord by, or if they choose to use a name at all. Ultimately God is limitless, and far beyond our capacity to grasp what that might mean. Each soul perceives the Divine through its own filters. The filters are many. There is the filter of your own unique soul’s personality, your “youness”, the filter of your experiences and woundings, the filter of the culture you are raised in (which includes your parent’s views and the religion you were exposed to), the filter of your education, and on from there. But part of God’s wonder is our unique and individual ability to experience God through the window of our own mind, body, and soul. We are each expressions of Him/Her/Life. This includes everyone, even people that do not believe or not like the term God. It doesn’t matter what the language is! We all believe we are alive! We get too caught up in words and they trip us up. Let others experience what they need to and appreciate that they are pushing through the clouds just as you are.

I am in awe of the Universe, and I easily accept that God appeared many times, in many cultures, to so many different people and in as many different ways as needed to help humanity learn and grow. I believe He is in many different places at one time, manifesting eternally. Our fear has taught us to look at only what we see right in front of us, but now, through technology, books and travel, we can see so much of the world that we can see that God has been blessing ALL of His people, forever. He does not neglect some while He spares others. He has been sending teachers with His message for all ages. I have no doubt that the Lord Himself has walked among us and taught far more than just the man called Jesus in Galilee. He continues to do so. Many texts have been written with accounts of these teachers and Saints. They all teach the same message. No matter the culture or the time. God is Life Energy, and is Ultimate. We must accept this and stop trying to place our own images on everything. We didn’t create any of this and we don’t control it. But we are souls and we can simply follow Jesus’ prime commandment and love God first and foremost and each other as ourselves.

All people seem to be seeking God in their own way, even if they are not comfortable calling it by that name. In the end, the journey is theirs, and maybe we all need to have a little more trust in each other and the Ultimate that we need not mold everything the way we believe it needs to be. None of us knows how it is supposed to be, really. Some struggle differently on their path than we do on ours. Help them, love them, heal them. If you can’t do that, then at least don’t harm them. We are all lights of Divinity, no matter how we come to understand that, or how long it takes us.