Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up or compromising. Acceptance means living one’s life in accordance with the realities that experience is presenting.
Accepting Health Challenges
It means accepting that our bodies are changing in some ways, and that these changes create new spiritual lessons as we learn to adapt. For example, the acceptance of diabetes means that one embraces the tools necessary to manage the glucose levels, such as dietary changes, the correct types of exercise and management of stress, along with proper medications and herbs.
One of my clients is a shining example of acceptance.
When he was diagnosed with cancer, he made the decision to reduce stress in his life by embracing early retirement, changed his diet, integrated qi gong and also integrated traditional western therapies of radiation and other medications along with herbs. He also surrounded himself with positive support and let go of relationships that were not serving his life well. Thus, cancer was the wake-up call to start a new life. He is now living a cancer-free life that is more vibrant and balanced than the life that he had prior to the diagnosis of cancer.
Often times there are emotional challenges or pressures associated with change. For instance, the journey of cancer or any chronic condition can create a myriad of feelings beyond just the physical discomforts and challenges of dealing with a chronic illness. Some of these emotional feelings might include:
- A sense of losing control over the life.
- Grief over the loss of parts of the physical self that represent our sexuality (such as the loss of breasts or prostate after cancer surgery).
- Grief over the loss of the life one once knew and lived.
- Anxiety and fear around whether one can regain health.
It is important to acknowledge and process these very real feelings as the emotional work is also a part of recovery and effective management of any chronic or serious health issue.
One indicator of the need to process the emotional aspects of experience is insomnia.
Insomnia can often arise to signal us that we may need to change how we are moving through challenging experiences, be it physical, mental, or spiritual demands on our lives. When we cannot get adequate rest, it becomes difficult to heal because rest is a critical part of restoring and rejuvenating ourselves at a cellular level. Also, sleep nourishes the “hun,” the more benevolent parts of our spirit that allow us to be open, compassionate and empathic with others.
Thus, insomnia can be an important indicator that we may need to slow down in our lives and develop a practice of meditation, integrate more regular exercise, and also change what we take into our bodies. Usually, when these three aspects of living, meditation, exercise, and diet, are incorporated into the life, insomnia improves, the body rests, and deeper healing occurs across emotions, physical and spiritual aspects of self.
Shifts in paradigms and beliefs are also an important part of accepting challenge and change.
Many of us get into the comfort zones of routines and in doing so, we may refuse to see that change is occurring within and around us. Some people hold a belief is that if changes are ignored, challenges will naturally resolve themselves. Sometimes this is true, but often times, if changes are ignored, stressors become magnified and snowball to create even more challenges. Ostriching rarely is healthy or a helpful strategy. Yet, if we acknowledge and address changes proactively, we can develop positive strategies to help us adapt and even grow stronger through change.
For instance, when we age, our bodies naturally go through changes in terms of our level of immunity, mental energies and physical stamina. Once we might have been immune to common colds and viruses, but now find ourselves getting ill more frequently. Once we might have been able to deal with many stressors at work or at home, but now find that such experiences now evoke irritability, a sense of being overwhelmed, anger, or sadness. Similarly, we might also experience a decrease of physical stamina. Once we might have been able to push through injuries and discomforts and keep going, but now we find that injuries linger and fatigue might occur quickly.
By ignoring these changes, we may fail to use the opportunity to reevaluate diet, medical care, exercise and how we are managing stress so that we can maintain optimal health through all stages of life.
It is important to let go of the idea that what worked for us a year ago or even six months ago, will work for us in the current moment in the same way because we are ever-changing and not the same as we were six months ago or a year ago. We have to look at how we have changed and adapt by adopting new ways of approaching our health, relationships, work, and other activities in our lives.
Acceptance in Relationships
The same applies to developing healthy relationships, which we know plays a role in impacting our health. Like health, relationships evolve and change too. Only that with health, we may get some physical indicators that things are off balance–but in relationships the “off track” qualities may be more subtle.
The quality or frequency of communication may diminish. Romance and passion may dwindle. Intimate kisses and the soft spontaneous caresses become few and far between. People forget to notice and complement each other as sexually vibrant and attractive beings. Irritable and short tempers arise. As a result, the level of enthusiasm to engage a partner or spouse may also simply wane. Rhythms fall out of sync. Left unchecked, these signs of relationship erosion can lead to dissolution of the core energies of the relationship.
Some people ignore these subtle signs and think that a relationship will just right itself without any effort other than just spending time together. However, it takes more than simply being in each other’s presence to overcome these signs of relationship erosion. When we accept and acknowledge that these challenges are occurring, we are then empowered to work together to transform those challenges into growth experiences to become closer.
Even the finest ship needs a bit of motor work and maintenance to maintain smooth sailing, especially amid an ocean of ever changing waves. How willing we are to do that work of maintaining the motor impacts our ability to sustain healthy and evolving relationships over time. If we shut down and stop talking when things get rough or allow irritability, anger, or miffed feelings to be the predominant energy, it stops us from extending love, compassion and true effort to push a relationship forward through challenge.
If we hold a belief that changes and challenges are opportunities to grow and create even more connected relationships, then we create commitments to make the time to actively and directly work on the motor of our relationship from time to time. We keep talking and working together to find ways to move through the rough spots as a team.
Our early upbringing and family dynamics play a large role in how we view and deal with relationship changes. If we grew up in a family where differences were viewed and resolved positively, we tend to have a style of feeling comfortable with talking through difficult moments and working in teamship.
If we grew up in a family life where arguments, withdrawal, criticism and harsh tones were used to deal with differences, then we may bring those negative patterns into new relationships when differences or conflicts occur. This style rarely contributes to a healthy and safe environment for this kind of volatility can alienate one’s partner or spouse and result in a feeling of having to walk on eggshells to avoid triggering the partner’s temper or harsh words. Thus, stress increases and a sense of nourishment from the relationship diminishes.
Interestingly, energy healing arts such as medical qi gong can play a large role in helping individuals transform deep rooted patterns that influence how they move through relationships. Unlike psychotherapy and traditional counseling, medical qi gong releases the energetic patterning that influences not only behaviors but our perceptions of realities, such that we are able to develop greater empathy for other people’s perspectives, feelings and experiences and as a result, show higher commitment to support and validate one another in relationships.
Our ninety-minutes “Energy Bliss” medical qi gong sessions are available as a healing tool for health and relationships during the spring, with $10 off on appointments set before 5/20/2011.