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.