Last week, my husband and I went on vacation to South Whidbey Island. Spending time with a panoramic view in a cozy cabin was restful, peaceful, and filled with gratitude. However, as is usually the case, there was also an occasional stirring of shadow. As some of the shadows presented themselves to my awareness, I realized, with growing anxiety, that I was questioning myself and my life choices…. again. It’s not really questioning as much as slipping away from acceptance and moving towards the aversion that stems from lack of faith and trust. Trust that I have made appropriate choices and will continue to do so. Faith that I will provide for my well-being and physical needs as well as continuing to expand my spiritual awareness. Acceptance of who I am, the choices that I have made, and that I and my life are enough. For now, my shadows primarily reside in the doubts created due to a lack of earning money and creating any retirement plans other than working (which I’ve yet to discover). However, I do not think it really matters what the rationale for our doubts and fears are. What does matter is the root cause of our suffering which frequently contains an element of lack of acceptance. There will always be an abundance of support for the ideas that our anxieties present. Whether from society, friends, or family, there is someone or something that will readily confirm and justify our fears if we allow it. Voices that encourage a lack of acceptance.

In my experience, I have noticed that underneath peace is acceptance. When I accept my self, my life, and others, I find peace. Instead of the chorus of doubts that lead to diminishing self confidence, faith, and trust, I can reassure myself that I am enough and that I have done the best I can. I can allow for more than I have been conditioned and taught to see. I make allowances for alternative outcomes, unconventional life choices, and birth peace and well-being. Peace becomes a state of being because I am not following the path of avoidance, doubt, and grasping. We cannot change that which we are unaware of or denying. The choice is whether we face our emotions openly and honestly or fuel them. Acceptance is born from honest observation free of judging or attempting to force something into that which we seek. Our lives are what they are; we are what we are. Refusing to acknowledge all that our lives have to offer – pleasures and pain, wisdom and stupidity, awareness and denial, danger and safety, health and disease – simply closes us off to genuine living.

For many of us, we have conditioned ourselves to discount the positive and wise choices that we have made in favor of strengthening our doubts and fears. Question the wisdom of unconventional life choices? No problem, I can’t be trusted to be responsible in spite of having been just that for almost 53 years! It seems that regardless of one’s quality of life, if it isn’t measuring up to societal standards – which are frequently fear based attempts to control and secure a future that is uncontrollable – we are failing to tend to ourselves appropriately. There are no guarantees in life. In spite of our best efforts to do what we can to plan for a safe and secure future, we are still faced with the unknown. This does not mean ignoring the reality of our lives. For me, accepting our lives in totality and seeking balance through wise and appropriate action is a more genuine path than working for some preconceived notion of security.

Instead of accepting others views as reality, I can broaden my perspective. I prefer to remember that human life can manifest in infinite possibilities. This includes my choices to trust that I will be ok in spite of society telling me otherwise. That my life history actual supports my continued exploration of alternative life choices. I accept that my faith and trust are a wise choice not a mutation of denial. I embrace my willingness to lead an unconventional life and utilize that knowledge to break free of limiting expectations that push me to conform. I accept my life for what it is. Then, I utilize that information to foster change, growth, and wisdom. I create space to manifest my soul’s potential and authentic being by finding my own voice. I continue to birth an authentic life regardless of the shape and form that it takes. I find acceptance and create peace.

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