“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Imagine this scenario.
You have an important Flight to catch in a few hours. You've booked a bus transfer weeks in advance, as you leave the house you feel organized and excited for your trip away.
When you arrive at the Bus Stop, you stand alone with luggage.
Glancing around, you feel surprised you're the only soul waiting for the Bus.
10 minutes pass.
You're still alone and have the feeling something isn't right.
You decide to pull out your bus ticket to double check the details. You Read.
Your eyes grow wide in horror as your heart begins to sink into your stomach.
A lump spawns in your throat. You realize the Bus departed 90 minutes ago.
You've misread the arrival time at the airport and the departure time from the Bus stop.
This was the last Bus leaving for the airport this morning.
''Rookie mistake'', you think to yourself.
You walk over to the Taxi rank. An old lady winds down the window and you ask if she is free to drive you to the airport. She can, but it's not going to be cheap...
How would you be feeling at this point?
What thoughts would be going round your head?
This scenario was mine earlier this year.
A few days before this kerfuffle at the bus stop, I stumbled across the quote by Eckhart Tolle and thought to myself, what an exciting and curious way of living it offers.
To simply accepting what is. Not resisting, nor fighting the present moment.
How strange that only a few days later, the Universe would gift me with a perfect opportunity to test out this way of living. And Boy, am I happy it did.
Let me be straight, my automatic response would be a blend of anger, frustration and a pinch of panic. I would play the blame game. I would blame myself for being so stupid as to misread the timings. ''You moron, a 4-year old can read better than you''. Alternatively, to beating myself up, I could choose to pass the buck and begin to blame the bus company for not making it clearer on the ticket. I could stew in my own soup of victimhood. This always feels a bit better than mentally beating myself up.
These seem to be the 2 popular ways to deal with unwanted situations:
1. We take responsibility for what is but give ourselves a hard time.
2. We don't accept responsibility and give someone a hard time.
But just imagine how much different life would be if we all responded with the road less traveled.
Back to my story. I took a deep breath and I asked myself, how would I like to react? What would acceptance look like? With a smile on my face, I smiled at the old lady taxi driver as I said Yes to her offer of driving me to Airport. I went to fetch the money from a near by cash machine. It felt peculiar but at the same time, not forced. I genuinely felt at peace. My heart beat was normal, there was no tension in my body and I wasn't in a bad mood.
The Taxi journey was beautiful. It took about 50 minutes to the airport through the beautiful winding roads of the German countryside. The old woman and I chatted like old friends the entire way as we learned about each other's lives. I got out the Car feeling refreshed and calm before the flight. The rest of the trip went smoothly, despite the unexpected start.
Now I'm not sharing this to pretend I'm some sort of Enlightened Guru, we have enough of those in the world...
I'm sharing this story to remind you, we always have a choice.
With the right level of awareness, we can choose our reaction, even in difficult, unpleasant and unwanted situations.
For me, acceptance isn't about labeling what is, good or bad. It's about playing with the Cards that life has dealt you in each moment. Choosing to take responsibility for our reaction and realizing that in every seemingly negative situation, lies positive opportunities.
P.S Let me know your thoughts on this article. What does Acceptance mean for you?
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