Isn't it funny how you run across a message just when you need it? This week I was rummaging through my poetry file and found a poem I'd written in longhand after hearing it on NPR's, The Writer's Almanac. The poem is entitled, Lost, by David Wagoner. In part it goes like this...
The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here.
And you must trust it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers.
Then a kind friend (you know the type of friend who gently reminds you of what you already know?) sent an email reminding me of psychologist, Marsha Linehan's concept of radical acceptance. The construct includes these points:
Freedom from suffering requires acceptance from deep within of what is. Let yourself go completely with what is. Let go of fighting reality.
Acceptance is the only way out of hell.
Pain creates suffering only when you refuse to accept the pain.
Deciding to tolerate the moment is acceptance.
Acceptance is acknowledging what is.
To accept something is not the same thing as judging it good.
Between the poem and the reminder of radical acceptance I recalibrated my thinking--entered the "here." I have a terrible tendency to romanticize the past and think backward, allowing heady nostalgia to run amuck. "If only I could go back to 'what was,' then things would surely be better. I was young then and didn't appreciate my smooth skin and slender figure." Or just as bad, to run ahead of myself, "I'll certainly plan to get this done (fill in the blank here with any action step or goal) and all will be well. I will have finally arrived." Either kind of thinking is not helpful. So instead, this week I relished folding warm clothes just out of the dryer, appreciating my swift, instinctive movements and a stack of fresh-smelling t-shirts; when I held my grandson, I kissed the top of his head and breathed in his toddler fragrance, felt his soft palms on my arms; when I stepped on the scale, I accepted the number--"This is where I am today. All is well. I'm alive and in the here." Standing still. Listening. (The poem in its entirity.) Lost