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Acceptance is the Key to Resiliency and Success

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I was sitting on the sofa, waves of emotions poured through my thoughts streaming downwards from my mind into my heart. They are the sensations that wrap the mind in a fog or steal up the heart into a ball of anxiety. I allowed somewhat of a sarcastic puff of air to exhale out of me, blankly staring forward looking at my dog laying on the floor and the pile of dishes in the sink. I laughed at myself.

“This is what I do for a living,” I said out loud. My dog just gazed up at me with his perfect golden retriever eyes. These are the moments I walk people through everyday, when the mind goes blank or anxiety tightens the breath. When the burdens of life and living increase upon the back, neck and shoulders closing in on the individual’s breaking point. These are the very moments I train people on how to use a variety of tools and methods to find center, calm and grounding amidst the onslaught. 

As all of us can, I recognize that the life I live out in the world can be seen and experienced one way while the life I live at home, in private, can be lived out in another. Do I walk the talk? Do I live the practices I teach? Do I pause, take a deeper breath, refocus and hold to intention when  the waves of emotion or stress build up and the undertow threatens to pull me under? 

It is important to me to live congruently. What do I mean by that? I think we all know the person, perhaps we have lived being that person, where we are more like a chameleon of sorts, living one way within one set of circumstances only to show a different face in another. I’ve been that person whose shape shifting skills reached an admirable level, being a people pleaser while also longing to keep the peace I could morph my body into all sorts of contorted positions. 

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” ― J.K. Rowling

I was also truly apt at hiding what was going on within the insides, creating a facade of peace and strength while my interior was crumbling. I learned how to show up, play the part and be the actor on the stage. My body and mind paid the price as the reality of sustaining such practices became wearisome, it was not the life I wanted to be living.

Moments as I was having on my sofa, cross the paths of our lives all too often. They are always going to come, that is the truth about living in today’s world. What you and I do next is where the real story begins. I wish I could say that with all the skills I possess as a yoga therapist and spiritual advisor, I instantly snapped out of that space, but that would not be the case. I did place my feet more firmly upon the floor lengthening my breath, lifting myself from a slumping position to create intention deep within my body. It is those seemingly small adjustments that create different spaces time and time again. As it would be, something did happen that turned my sarcastic grin into a genuine smile.

In that moment something came back to me to serve as an anchor in the storm. I remembered being in two places at one time during a visit to an amusement park. This one in particular straddles the state lines of North and South Carolina where there exists a painted line that provides just such a space. I remembered the fun of it and the pictures that were taken, most importantly, I acknowledged that it was possible. It was the shift I needed to remind myself that one doesn’t have to pretend to not be where one is currently physically, emotionally and mentally. I can be in two places in one moment recognizing the stressors and anxiety of the day while remembering the practices that abide deep within my sense of being. 

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu

Acceptance is the very gateway to resiliency. Allowing oneself to be “both and,” or giving yourself permission to be in a bad mood, anxious or frustrated is key to your daily success. Take the labels off of what are deemed “bad” emotions in order to give them space to breath and move through the moment. It isn’t about feigning peace or contentment beyond what is actually happening but, being with what is actually happening. I can acknowledge that I do, indeed, know what to do in moments like the one I was having on the sofa AND I can still have the moments like the one I was having on the sofa and so can you. It is this ONE secret that has built up the resiliency in my life that has launched me into successful daily living.

Elle Miller is a trauma-informed C-IAYT yoga therapist and Body Advocate working to bring transformation into the workplace. Her speciality is  finding spaces that shift anxiety and burn out, zoom fatigue and disconnection. She created The Listening Project as a means to show  how subversive the very act of learning how to listen can become. Connect with her at Elle@LivingMangaliso.com to schedule your personal session or to find out more about our corporate offerings.

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