Acceptance: How can you accept things you don’t like?

Acceptance“I think that if you do spiritual practice correctly, it reflects and undoes your habits of closure so that when you stop doing those habits you are left in your natural state, which is wide open, loving, radiant, happy, sane.“ -David Deida

At some point I stumbled onto the realization that neither running away from my problems (suppression, denial, distraction, etc, etc) nor the opposite extreme of wallowing in the drama of them was terribly useful for making them any better.

What did and does help is first noticing that something is happening and then being in that objective part of me that can notice how I am in it – while I am also fully feeling it. The exact results of this are variable, from the thought/feeling passing quickly to a lengthy succession of difficult experiences happening one after the other… pain, crying, etc.

And it is not that these things go away and never come back. Indeed they are always available. The one thing that is consistent, though is that they get easier and easier to be with. I get more comfortable with them to the point that when they come I do not immediately react with running or wallowing, but have a choice about how to be in them… “Wow, I’m really frightened. My belly is a rock and my throat hurts. I can see an entire drama arising in my mind about this. I think that I will watch that drama like a movie playing in my mind and not act on it. I can see that it is not true, just what my mind is creating to make sense of this fear that I am feeling.”

This kind of liberation is an immense blessing. Not being ruled by fear, jealousy, greed, anger, pain, etc. is wonderful. And of course, sometimes I am able to notice and accept and sometimes I run or wallow long before I ever realize that something worth noticing is even happening.

In the mean time, I am reassured by the Buddhist idea of The Middle Way, which contrary to its name is not, as I understand it, about staying in the middle, but about balance, about allowing everything as it arrises. The Middle Way says that we should accept all parts of life, all ends of the spectrums; that sometimes you will need one extreme or another and sometimes you will need the paces in between. The Middle Way, or Middle Path does not embrace just one way, it embraces all ways, it stays at the centered in acceptance and accepts everything.

Acceptance is a big deal. It is difficult for me to do. It is hard to accept things that I don’t like or want and yet it is one of the best practices I have found for helping me deal with those things. Acceptance doesn’t mean I have to like those things, it just means that I acknowledge them (versus trying and ignore them) and then let my mind move on to something else (instead of focusing on them and creating drama). Acceptance means that when thoughts and emotions float through, I say hello and let them go.

One thing that you can try is something that I’m using a lot lately to get me through a really tough spot in my own growth. I’m struggling a lot with overwhelming thoughts and emotions about my own self worth and I remembered a Buddhist practice I learned a long time ago in Thailand.

In this practice, when you notice a thought or emotion you say what it is, you name it, and then let it go by actively looking for the next one. In this way you are first acknowledging and then letting go. This is a beautiful way to practice acceptance.

This time, I’ve been thanking what arises as well. A thought will arise and I realize, “Ah, you’re trying to protect me. Thank you for trying to protect me.” This little addition of gratitude makes a big difference. It helps me acknowledge the thought or emotion for the good that it is trying to do, which goes a long way towards accepting it and letting it go versus resisting it or wanting to dwell on it, figure it out or turn it into a drama.

Elena Maria Foucher writes about personal growth on and teaches Meditation Made Easy, simple tools for relaxation, over Skype. Contact her at

(This article first appeared in the online magazine

Broken to Joy: How to Recognize Resistance & Make Friends With It

(video) Resistance can be tricky to recognize… if it is working properly it is designed to distract you from the pain underneath it. How can you recognize resistance and how can you deal with it once you do? This video shows you one way that I’ve found works well.

What’s your experience with resistance and making friends with it?


Broken to Joy: How to Let Go, Part 2

(video) Once we’re ready to quit the cycle of denial and reliving our pain, we can acknowledge it and let it go… Oh happy day!
Here’s one technique that I use with clients for acknowledging pain – without denying or reliving.

What’s your experience?


Broken to Joy: How to Let Go, Part 1

(video) We tend to do a mixture of two things when we’re faced with something that we don’t like: we deny it and we relive it in our heads over and over. Neither of these are terribly helpful for letting go of the pain.

What’s your experience with these things?


Broken to Joy: How Patience Speeds Healing

(video) Patience helps lighten the load. You feel safer and more confident making change easier.
Frustration adds another layer of ick to work through.

What’s your experience with these two?


Broken to Joy: Stepping Out of Turmoil – Practicing During Turmoil (3 of 3)

(video) Caught up in a storm? How to stop the thunder and lightening?

The third step, after remembering that your thoughts aren’t you (you have thoughts like you have a shirt) and practicing remembering that enough that it is easy to do… you can finally remember in the middle of chaos!

Stepping out of turmoil is but a practice away…


Broken to Joy: Stepping Out of Turmoil – Practicing Perspective (2 of 3)

(video) Stopping all that noise in your head?
First, remember that you are not your thoughts and feelings. Remember that you HAVE thoughts and feelings, like you have a book or a pen. This creates some breathing space in the middle of chaos when your thoughts and feelings seem to be your whole world.

Then, since most of us have a strong habit of thinking as if we are our thoughts and feelings – that our thoughts are all that exist – it’s important to practice this “new” perspective… Changing that habit takes practice, so doing something on a regular basis that reminds us is useful!

There are lots of things you can do to remind yourself… pick one and do it!

What’s your experience?


Broken to Joy Series: Stepping Out of Turmoil – Getting Perspective (1 of 3)

(video) A juicy bit… How do we stop the thoughts and emotions that are causing us so much pain and turmoil?

The bad news is we can’t.
The good news is we can create a way to not be overwhelmed by them, a way to step out of them and back into ourselves. We can stop thinking and feeling that our thoughts and emotions are our whole world by remembering that actually we are much bigger than they are… we are not our thoughts and feelings, we are having thoughts and feelings.

Simple. Profound. Effective.

Try it for yourself and see & feel the difference.

And feel free to share your experiences so that we can grow and learn together, from each other.