Posts Tagged ‘acceptance’

Goals v Acceptance

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

In an earlier blog one of my correspondents was talking about how changes in society are affecting the environment in which our children are growing up.  Whether you are running a business or just reading self-help books we are all exhorted to set and pursue goals.  Some people would have us believe that all we have to do is to visualise our future powerfully enough to just ‘reel’ it in’!  After many years of earnest endeavour and experiment, using allsorts of different techniques, I really don’t think it works this way… at least it doesn’t seem to be that way for me.

I do believe that well-formed goals help give us direction but one of the things we hear much less about these days, and is much more counter-cultural, is the value of acceptance.  No matter how powerfully we dream and focus, Life unfolds and hands us all manner of surprises.  Often some of our best experiences come about as a result of apparent ‘accidents’.   Seeking to control everything (which is, of course, and exercise in futility) is doomed to failure and makes it harder for us to keep our minds and hearts open to the forces of serendipity.  Many famous inventors owe their fame to the intervention of these random factors. 

I think there is still mileage in this prayer:-

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference….”

What do you think?

Pond Life?

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

I don’t know if you have heard the expression ‘Pond Life’; it means “A worthless or contemptible person or group.”  So as regular readers will have noted that following the renovation of Cooke Towers (not on the constituency expenses!), we have now moved onto the next phase of upgrading Munstead Waters.  This has meant that I have been spending many a happy hour digging pits for filters and trenches for electricity supplies, not to mention being up to my elbows in silty, brown goo that we have been filtering out of the water!

However, and this is the point of my tale, I find that I am totally engrossed by every pond skimmer, dragonfly larvae, tadpole, snail and fish!  They all have their place in the bio-system of the pond.  If I don’t get the environment right for the bacteria that breakdown the fish pooh into plant food, the water starts to poison the fish.

The thing is, that in every group, business or family it takes all sorts to make the system work, and yet we judge others because they don’t behave as do.  In the pond, this spells death…. is it much better in a family or business?  Allowing others to be who they are, do what they do and getting on with doing ‘our thing’ isn’t a bad recipe for a good life.  I am rather of the opinion that Pond Life should be a complimentary term rather than an insult, what do you think?

“The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives.”

Gangs & Governments

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I was listening to an interesting radio programme (Gangs, Guns & Families) which gave a fascinating insight into this area, as Suzella Palmer & her son talked about the realities of this from their dual perspectives as academic and gang member.

Something that got me wondering was when the son, Zane, was talking about the role of the gang in looking after its people and the need to stay on top that lead to an ‘arms race’ from fists to knives to guns.  It struck me that this is same language and strategy as governments employ.  The odd thing is that whilst we consider one completely legitimate the other is condemned by society.  Another programme was observing the parallels between both extremist Christians and Muslims, both of whom were quite happy to kill others to save their souls!

The thing is that when we judge people, and label them as  something of lesser value, then we make it impossible to communicate with them.  No one wants to be judged and we all fight back against that.  We aren’t all either in governments or in gangs but we all fall into this trap.  If you want to communicate, then you have to set aside judgements and respond to what you experience….


“The major block to compassion is the judgment in our minds. Judgment is the mind’s primary tool of separation.“  Diane Berke

“To sit in judgment of those things which you perceive to be wrong or imperfect is to be one more person who is part of judgment, evil or imperfection.”   Wayne Dyer


Silence is (sometimes) Golden

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Isn’t it fascinating how the same stimulus can cause totally different, polarised experiences? Since we had children one of the things that I love is driving with my wife, and after a while, we lapse into a companionable silence. There is absolutely no need to fill it and we both just sink into it like a warm bath.

Yesterday, we went out for a meal and whilst we had a nice time, I noticed that I was rather quiet, and absorbed in doing useful little jobs, happy to let the others ‘carry’ the conversation. However, had they not been there then I know there would have been a lot of rather uncomfortable silences. So what makes the one experience so positive and the other rather awkward?

I suspect it is something to do with:-

  1. The level of unconditional acceptance there is in the relationship, and
  2. The ability to say whatever you wish, should you choose to do so

If you are constantly trying to editorialise to find safe, acceptable things to talk about then that prevents the flow.

Acceptance is just about the greatest gift we can offer each other. To say, in effect, I see you, flaws and all, and accept you is hugely liberating and affirmative. The more spiritually elevated of us are able to do this for more of the people we encounter.

Whether it is in your home, or your family, at work, or just out and about, see if you can be a little more accepting and spread a little ‘gold’ around…

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Mother Teresa

Serenity, Change & Wisdom

Sunday, May 11th, 2008


“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. ”  Reinhold Niebuhr

Change is a bit like that.  There are things that you need to change, and those that you just have to accept and make peace with.  In the latter category, is other people.  We might hope that they choose to change, but in the end, we can’t change other people.  We can’t change our parents, our siblings, our partners, or anyone else.  How much emotion and energy and “if only”s must we waste before we can find a place of acceptance?

We can waste so much time and energy trying to change all those things that we have no power over, and absolutely fail to invest any of it in the one thing that we can change, the only thing we can change… ourselves.

I sincerely hope that today does not find you in this place; but if it does, that this simple piece of wisdom might help.

England expects

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Nelson famously signalled to his fleet on the eve of Trafalgar “England expects that every man will do his duty”. He was hailed as a doughty British hero for this, but most of us get into rather more trouble where our expectations are concerned. We have a world view that cons us into ‘believing’ that everyone is like us (or at least they should be!) We are for some reason constantly caught off-guard when this turns out not to be true, despite our many years of contrary experience.

Even when we have no conscious expectations they are still there beneath the surface, waiting to trip us up. Now I am not unrealistic enough to suggest that we are capable of totally disarming this mechanism but if we could move, even a little way, from expecting to accepting, the world would be a better place and we would be a lot happier.

One of the greatest gifts we can give another human being is our acceptance. We all worry about the burden of others’ expectations and judge ourselves when we believe we have fallen short. It is a blessed relief to know that we are enough, just as we are.

Expectations are also a major cause of stress in our lives. For some reason we expect that yesterday’s dirty, late overcrowded train will today will be on-time, clean and have a seat for us! Once we start dealing with the ‘real’ person in front of us, or the ‘true’ situation in which we find ourselves, we start to be more successful and a good deal more content. Of course, once we have started to offer this to others, we can begin to give ourselves a slice of the same cake….

“Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration of another’s personhood.” Karen Casey

” Our entire life consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.” Jean Anouth