I woke up this morning pondering how it is so hard to accept what is. Our brains say – yes I get it. We may even bring it into mindful awareness every day through meditation or yoga.

We think we have it handled, and then … out of the blue we find ourselves getting impatient, frustrated or triggered.

For example, think of the last time you were driving and were cut off by someone else. Or you were running late and got stopped behind a school bus or a red light? What thoughts, sensations and feelings came up?

road rage

So how can we handle these turbulent emotions and accept what is….

In the moment we become aware of our reactions we have a choice: to allow the fight or flight  reaction to take over with its rush of adrenaline and cortisol; or to center ourselves with full deep breaths and consciously let go of the stories, judgments, and resistance to what is happening.

With mindfulness practice, our reactivity gets less and less.  Our acceptance of the highs and lows of life grows and we become more centered and less volatile.

Like a pendulum we find our way to the center.

From a scientific perspective, the more we meditate and calm our mind, the more neural pathways we create and reinforce our ability to come more quickly to a calm state.

It is a practice…. that may take a long time if not a life time.

The Dalai Lama says that while we cannot stop an emotion from arising, we have the power to let it go, and the highly trained mind can let it go the moment it arises.

writing  on water

The Buddha shared a metaphor for this state of mind. He called it “like writing on water”. Whenever an unwholesome thought or emotion arises in an enlightened mind, it is like writing on water. The moment it is written it disappears.

Through meditation and mindfulness practice we learn to master our reactions and center ourselves.

We re-balance ourselves and in doing so, learn to accept what is.

The next time you are in traffic be ready to breathe deeply and let the emotion flow through you…

And don’t get upset with yourself for getting upset! Let it go.  Just keep practicing coming into the present moment.



31 comments on “* Pondering – accepting what is

  1. Love the metaphor of “writing on water.” Thanks, Val, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with everything you say, we seem to think alike in many ways.


  3. Thank you for this, Val. After seeing a disturbing road rage incident on the news the other night, more people could benefit from this practice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree Jill. Even the most centered people can be filled with rage on the roads. Perhaps it should be part of the driving test 😉


  4. Carrie Cannady

    Love this, Val. I am reminded of an author who talks about fight, flight or freeze. I had never even considered that “freeze” is one of the reactions that many of us have. I’m still sitting with the idea that maybe taking a moment to “freeze” when we are triggered, provides a space or moment to center, observe – in order to get to the core of – and then release that rising angry emotion before we project it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting point Carrie! I actually deleted freeze from this post because it is a pretty extreme reaction. I have a client who does freeze when startled or triggered. Its pretty scary though as everything closes down in her body and brain. She describes it like an animal appearing dead when it becomes prey….
      Pause on the other hand helps us re-group and is key!
      Thank you for being here 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m pretty calm and accepting about “it” when “it” is short-lived . . . like someone cutting me off in traffic. “Stoopid is as stoopid does.”

    I still get caught up with resistance for chronic situations of perpetual duration ~ my sister’s illness, my mother’s failing memory, Tigger’s health issues, etc. I find myself wanting to wave my magic wand and make “it” disappear . . . but my wand is MIA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this Nancy. When we care its natural to want to fix and makes things right, rather than accepting the situation with all its heartache and pain. This is tough for me as well. Hugs xo


  6. suzicate

    I can usually let the little things go; it’s the things I take personally I have a hard time not taking back after I release them. Yes, I know I need to work on the second agreement; hence, I’ve started rereading this (The Four Agreements) book! And currently I’m on that chapter, ha!


    • Letting go of things that don’t matter is so much easier than letting go of things that we are attached to or invested in. When we take things personally we are attached to our self image and what others think. So glad you are reading the book again Suzi! Everything is in sync 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Practice, practice, practice. This certainly explains why monks are much more mindful, present and joyful than us urban folk! Great post once again Val.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Practice, practice , practice. Reset and practice some more! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful post Val. x Reading about ‘writing on the water’ reminds of a post I wrote a while back, have you ever heard of a Buddha Board? It’s a lovely thing, and is along the same lines as writing on the water, except you write ‘with’ water on a board and then watch it evaporate. Both my daughter and I have one and it’s a very therapeutic practice. Here’s the post where I mentioned it in case you’re interested in reading it… https://ramblingsfromjewels.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/a-buddha-board-pink-brains-and-chinese-flutes-hey-whatever-works-right/
    ‘Accepting what is’ takes an enormous amount of practice… something which I am still working on… 🙂


  10. Val such a beautiful post. I know as I age I am getting really good at letting it go. Imagine what I could do if I meditated as well. I find it hard to close my creative mind down, even when I did Tai Chi and so I have a long way to go. But happy that when it comes to traffic jams Im a lot calmer these days. Can you suggest a simple meditation in the mornings to quiet my mind?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kath,
      Thank you for sharing this. Sound alike you want minuscule moments of calming 😉 Listening to music or a guided visualization is one of the easiest approaches. There are lots on the internet. I like these free ones:
      Also sitting and saying a mantra in your mind can be helpful in centering yourself. A traditional one in yoga is “so hum”. It means I am. “so” on the inhale “hum” on the exhale. When our mind is hyperactive we need to give it something to do other than to keep thinking! Good luck 💛


  11. Center. Center. Center!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Meditation and mindfulness create a space in us. I can see how this has allowed me to feel the agitation and anger but not hold onto it. It is exaclty what you say Val, PRACTICE practice, no getting around that one! Have a lovely Friday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is so good, Val. And it really works if we practice enough…I’m still very much work in progress but happy to say there are fewer and fewer occasions when the frustration stays with me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Val, ‘like writing on water’ this is it! And that little moment when you can choose whether to engage with the emotion or not… just let it go. Really essential piece of writing, children should be taught this in schools – or maybe they know it already. It should be nurtured, encouraged. Thanks for an inspiring post

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much T. Mindfulness in schools is only just beginning to be introduced here in the US. Imagine the impact on a new generation … and the world!


  15. I am one that needs the reminder to just keep practicing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Loving What Is | Spirit Lights The Way

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