I will never forget the day I was sitting in my therapists office and she kept telling me that the only solution to the hell-hole I was drowning in was to accept myself. I looked at her with bugged eyes and thought, ‘are you fucking nuts lady, ACCEPT MYSELF, ACCEPT THESE THOUGHTS?!’
Fire started to rage within me and I told her I couldn’t meet with her anymore. It was unacceptable to meet with a therapist that ‘sucked’ so bad. I thought she didn’t do diligent work in college if that was the only ludicrous solution she had to offer me.
I went on a wild goose hunt for the next year trying to find a therapist that would offer me a golden solution to all of my mental insanity, but every single therapist I went to ‘fucking sucked’ and said the same thing. I kept telling myself that none of them must have done well in college, they must of all went to the same sucky school.
After about a year of ‘perfect therapist’ hunting, I gave up. This was around the same time I went to India for a yoga teacher training. It was at the training that I finally understood the concept of self-acceptance.
My ego is extremely malicious, it wants to attack me and just about every other human being. There is a saying from Carl Jung that ‘A judgement is a disowned part of our shadow’. During this time in my healing journey, I was throwing up disowned emotional vomit on others, exorcist style. If my ego wasn’t telling me to go jump off a bridge or that if I left my house I was going to die(literally), then it was screaming unjust slurs louder then a fire alarm at just about every human that I came in contact with. I still to this day do not know why my shadow went through this phase of rebelliousness (nor do I need to know) but it was intense, petrifying, and extremely hurtful. I knew that it wasn’t my true self thinking these thoughts,but some entity or dark spell attempting to take over me.
I have always been a VERY extreme human being (and a perfectionist), so as soon as I had the desire and willingness to heal, I wanted my mind to be ‘perfect’.(whatever that means) I thought that every thought had to be pure and reflect sainthood. I even went to the extreme of attempting to train myself ‘how to not think’, while I locked myself inside my house for weeks on end. I was living in a delusion and utter madness! Because my thoughts were so insane and starved of love, I attacked myself that much more. I went from being someone who didn’t give a efff about anyone, to wanting to become Saint Mallory over night. There was no way in hell that the thoughts I was experiencing ‘were acceptable’, there was no way I would budge and surrender to them. I had to figure out a way to ‘fix them’, I didn’t believe acceptance would ever be able to ‘fix them’.
That is, until I literally had no other choice in India. In India the fire alarms within my mind were louder than EVER before in my life- it was unbearable. It was the worst pain I have ever felt. The thought about killing myself kept replaying in my head because I couldn’t handle the intrusive dark thoughts anymore. I had been on the healing path for over a year-I spent every waking second reciting mantras, reading/listening to self-help books, practicing yoga/meditation, and praying my tail feathers off. I continued to weep away, while curling up like a fetus in a ball. I felt so hopeless, like nothing I ever did would take the sorrow and pain that was happening within my psyche away. All I desired was authentic connection with others and to feel love, but how would I ever feel that if my psyche was constantly attacking every human I came across. I felt like a failure. I had the perfect package for healing, minus the main ingredient of acceptance.
After about a week of teacher training, I broke down to one of my teachers, an angel to this day I will say helped save my life. (words will never be able to express the gratitude I have for you J) I told her about the wild attack of the zoo animals that was happening upstairs in my mind and she told me to ‘love all the noise like it was a hurt child within me.’ I was extremely resistant to her guidance because I had no idea how that would be possible, but her presence emanated such deep gentleness and grace, that I couldn’t help but to be willing to give it a shot. With patience and radical persistence, I started to feel the results of acceptance. It has been a practice that has become my entire life ever since.
Sometimes some spiritual teachers make the process of acceptance and self-love sound SO much easier than it is. I am here to tell you it is NOT easy at all, it is challenging as fuck. It is a process. It is practice. We have endless opportunities every single second of the day to strengthen the muscle of acceptance.
If we can wake up every day with the intention to accept ourselves unconditionally and allow every moment of judgement to be an opportunity to accept, then we are way ahead of the game! (no matter how offed up our thoughts may be)
Our willingness to accept our shadows means we are already ‘there’. There is no big bad ‘there’ in a spiritual journey. What our soul is seeking is self-acceptance in this moment. This is the process of evolution. Old patterns are playing themselves out so that they can be seen, felt, and accepted. This is healing. Purity is not measured on the foundation of what thoughts we are thinking, but on our willingness to accept whatever arises. I have an unshakable belief that acceptance is the highest level of consciousness, that it is transmutation- alchemy, magic, a mystical phenomena. It is not for us to understand, ‘figure out’, or play mind loops with. It is as simple as accepting what might be an irritating moment as the key to our liberation. It is a miracle in the mundane.
We can either show up every day with aversions for the mental (of physical) climate we are experienceing, or we can show up with the awareness of heaven- the perspective that every moment is a gift to be able to heal and remember the truth of our eternal naked essence. Every single time the hurt child within wants to judge someone, ourselves, or straight up hate life- we can remind ourselves that it is ALL OKAY! Every little and huge damn thing, is ALL OKAY!
I am not telling you that this is the magical solution that will make all the pain dissipate instantly. It might all be okay, but it is a slow process for the suffering to cease. In this process we build the muscles of character and virtues. Acceptance is like going to the gym to get a six pack, it takes serious perseverance to see the results. This is what I didn’t understand when I was on a therapist hunt that year- that accepting myself once wasn’t going to do the trick. I had to do it about 1,000 times to see results. The good news is, is we probably have over a 1,000 opportunities to practice per day!
So, what do you choose today, to resist everything that comes up and create deeper pain and suffering? -OR- Find radical acceptance for all that arises, remembering that in each moment we accept we are working out our salvation? We can’t control what arises in our minds or in our life, but we have the choice to choose how we respond. The choice is yours. I am going to try my best to choose acceptance today, and when I don’t, I will try my best to accept that too : )
Farewell humans. Blessings to you on your acceptance journey