Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance

August 9, 2017

A lot has happened in the last year that I have definitely not asked for. I feel like I’ve been a loose leaf cast onto a wild river, unsure if I would survive its rage or sink within it. Even though I have managed to stay afloat, my body has been broken and my spirit damaged.

And yet I find the many dark days in which I laid in a hospital bed not to have been the worst of it. Especially with more time inserting itself in between now and then — I am blessed with a short memory and it’s not like I was entirely conscious then anyway.

Now, back at my most aware, I find this time to be the very hardest. And that is because I can acutely feel the deprivation of my basic freedoms. Ongoing medications still leave me fatigued, and because of required appointments I am tethered to a schedule and a place. I find myself living in a city that I probably never would have chosen to live in.

Although I do like my home. I like that I am so close to my mom and sister and nieces and nephew. I like having kitties who love me and scold me if I don’t cuddle them enough. I really love having a few more choices in clothing, and am happy to have invested in a comfortable bed that I can call my own.

But I am writing this while I am at the airport ending a three week trip on the other side of the country. And as much as I am enjoying all of the comfort and love that waits for me in Alberta, if someone handed me a plane ticket to somewhere overseas instead, I’d snap it up in one hot second.


That impulse goes exactly against the advice I was given recently to choose radical acceptance. There is nothing I can do to change my situation right now, so the least painful path is to acceptance is to fully embrace it. I need to bear hug my reality, just as it is.

I am trying. When I’m at home and when energy permits, I am taking to my new surroundings. I am enjoying the beauty of my new city (when it’s not too $@#%ing hot to do so), and working to make our new place a home. Our small townhouse is becoming bright yet cozy. There’s a lot yet to do and I admit to dragging my feet some — not just because I hate shopping, but because I am also in denial that I am to be tethered to these “things”. Accumulated goods are the antithesis of the freedom that I am used to.

But I know it’s good for me. I need a place to heal. I need to be near my family and some of our family really needs us right now too. I keep telling myself all of these things and I know them to be true.

I just have to get it through my really, really thick skull.

Because the truth is that I couldn’t realistically accept that plane ticket overseas if it were handed to me. Not yet. I need to board this other plane and return home. And in the spirit of radical acceptance, this is what I am going to do when I get there:

— I’m going to reserve several hours this week just to reflect on these last few weeks of travel whilst cuddling with the kitties (assuming they have forgiven me for my long absence).

— I’m going to schedule more hangsies with my nephew. He sent me a note while we were gone, telling me he missed us. We’ll probably just do what we always do – binge watch old TV shows or go to the movies – but I’ve missed that time with him too.

— I’m going to try out the local poutinerie that I’ve been meaning to. And go see the Japanese gardens. And finally hit the summer farmers market in our small city.

I am an optimistic and positive person by nature. I have no problem in seeing the good that is in front of me, and as a traveler, I am adaptable.

And I don’t think radical acceptance has to be as immediate as the label might suggest. I think of it instead as a conscious choice to move forward with recognition of reality, and a commitment to make the most of it. I’m not going to suddenly be pain-free just because I want to be. That’s not how it works.

And with that, I am on my way home.

(Although I may not quite be done whining about it yet though. And please forgive me, but I think I have earned that.)