Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Acceptance vs. Resignation


After our sit tonight, we had a thought-provoking reading from Barry Magid’s book “Ending the Pursuit of Happiness,” in which he talked about acceptance versus resignation.

He described resignation as a rather negative state of hopelessness, whereas his idea of acceptance was much more positive. Not necessarily without anxiety, but also not without hope.

He gave the example of his own desire to live in a clean and neat apartment, whereas the reality of having a small child meant often that was not the case. Instead of resigning himself to decades of clutter, he decided it was within his power to clean up as necessary to be content with his environment. This is the same guy who made a pledge when he became a late-in-life parent to always be honest with his child, but not always nice.

I like to think of myself as accepting any physical limitations I now have with the idea that there is always the possibility of improvement instead of losing all hope. I had a small victory at my yoga class this week in that regard. My favorite teacher offered the opportunity to do a shoulder stand, something I hadn’t done for several years. She also presented a simpler inversion to those who didn’t want to try it. I opted for the shoulder stand and was surprised at the ease with which I moved into the pose and even more so at how good it felt.

I love the fact that acceptance still leaves open the possibility that anything can happen. It seems a far more exciting way to go through life.

9 Comments:

Blogger Cyndy said...

Yeah, why settle for resignation when acceptance has so much more to offer! It seems like resignation would tend to close you off from things like shoulder stands. Congratulations on that - it sounds kind of advanced.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- My shoulder stand didn't look nearly as good as the one in the picture, but I was upside down! One lesson I learned long ago in yoga is not to look at the person next to me. It's all about MY practice.

12:00 AM  
Blogger lacochran's evil twin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:27 AM  
Blogger lacochran's evil twin said...

One of the things that I appreciate about yoga is that you don't know what you can do until you try. Things that look easy sometimes are the most challenging and things that look impossible are sometimes very doable! Congrats on the shoulder stand.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

LA -- Seeing that in your first comment you were trying to give me credit for a hand stand, I was going to quickly set the record straight to say I am resigned to never doing a hand stand. A shoulder stand was quite enough for me! I do try most things, but I could never do a hand stand even as a kid, so I seriously doubt it will happen in my lifetime. But then, who really knows?

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear B,

Blogger ate two comments in succession, so I'll just say: YAY on your shoulderstand! Glad you felt strong and secure enough to try and enjoy that again.

And, I often dance between resignation and acceptance. For me, resignation usually contains some self-pity and assumed helplessness. Acceptance does hold so much more possibility, and feels much better!

F.

1:19 PM  
Blogger karen said...

I really like this idea - very true!

2:16 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

my head doesn't mind going upside down but the rest of me strongly resists. I'm all about downward facing dog and the mountain pose - that's about as yoga-ey as I get

4:27 PM  
Blogger wordwitch said...

I tend to lean more toward resignation...not truly intentionally, though. I've been working more on acceptance over the recent past.

On a different note - for those of you interested in odd, innovative, experimental music - check this out:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/431174517/blue-sausage-infant-negative-space-lp

11:44 AM  

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