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April 4, 2011

“Through practice, I’ve come to see that the deepest source of my misery is not wanting things to be the way they are. Not wanting myself to be the way I am. Not wanting the world to be the way it is. Not wanting others to be the way they are. Whenever I’m suffering, I find this war with reality to be at the heart of the problem.”

Stephen Cope

I have noticed myself using the phrase “willing my body” a lot lately to describe the state of mind I have been trying to shift.  It is that hope-tinged state of denial in which you want things to magically be different without having to actually DO anything.  Lately I have seen myself willing my body to be allergy-free.  I have been willing my knee to be strong enough for any activity.  And so on.

When I stop to think about it, this state of powerless longing and wishful thinking reminds me of how it felt to be overweight as a child.  I would go to bed at night praying that I would wake up in a thin-person body, and in the morning just as my eyelids were fluttering open I would have a moment of hope that maybe my wish had come true!  But then I would look down at my body and see… well… me, and I would feel powerless once more.

There is nothing wrong with making wishes.  Wishes give us hope and tell us a lot about our desires and the sources of our pain.  But wishing on its own is not enough; in wishing we put the power to create the changes we seek in an external source, weather it be God or fate or time or other people.  I want to make my own wishes come true.

But how?!  I was thinking about this the other day, and I realized the missing piece: acceptance.  Let’s take the example of willing my knee to be able to do any activity.  In order to fulfill my wish, I first have to accept my knee’s limitations.  Only then can I work with it and strengthen it and give it the attention and love it needs to fulfill its potential… and with that thought, I realized the active power of acceptance.

Acceptance does not have to be a codling, codependent term.  True acceptance is empowering because it gives us a realistic and loving foundation from which to approach change and growth and healing.

I am realizing that I have still not truly accepted my body.  If I had, my behavior would not implicate a struggle for power.  My behavior is still sometimes a wild pendulum swinging severely from intense focus on health & weight-loss (power grab) to this wishful “willing” my body to change on its own (feeling powerless to enact change).  What I am working on instead is active acceptance: the realistic yet compassionate awareness that yes, this is my body as it is right now; yes, we have been through a lot together; yes, my body is not in ideal shape yet; and yes, there is potential for more change.  I think the key to active acceptance is the incorporation of time. When time is a factor in acceptance, we do not get seduced by this fiction that anything is permanent or stuck.  We accept things as they are, as they were, and as they can be.  This paradigm breathes life into the situation and gives us hope that we can be the ones to shape the future.

I invite you to make a wish!  Heck, make three!  And then, rather than waiting for the genie to pop out of the lamp, try to figure out what is keeping you from making your own wishes come true 🙂

❤ Diana Banana

image courtesy of,r:12,s:0

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2011 8:25 am

    I really like the concept of active acceptance. I would love to be able to do that with my body, something I need to work on.


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