I’m not a fan of the part of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that talks about Acceptance – mostly because people refer to it so much but don’t look further into the program of recovery found a few hundred pages before it. I agree with the principle of acceptance being the answer to all my problems… here’s the part that I’m talking about:
“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Page 417
This has been true in my life – if I just change my outlook on things and accept them as they are – I seem to have a better day. I used this recently with an attitude I had about work, I was pretty frustrated – it took an earth person (a person not found in the rooms of AA) reminding me that it was my attitude that was hurting me to get me to change my attitude. I still have the frustration, but my attitude makes it bearable and I am then more tolerable to people around me. That’s the key-just accepting things and moving with them.
Kind of like when you’re sanding wood or cutting meat – you want to go with the grain – you’ll get less resistance and a better end product.
My boss, nice guy, sent me an article to read from GQ on Stephen Colbert – he said he’d know I’d read it if he saw a blog post on it… so here I am, lol. It was a really great story, the writer manages to paint the picture of Colbert in my mind that seems familiar and yet different. I think this Colbert will be a joy to get to know.
A terrible thing happened when he was very young, his father and two brothers died. Many people who have that type of tragedy happen seem bitter or sad – but he just seems to be full of joy. People ask how he can have this much laughter and joy in his life with that big thing hanging over him – he credits his mother who was broken by the incident, but not bitter – she managed to love her son throughout the grieving process and teach him joy.
He is actively involved in all parts of everything that’s going on and he wants to be. He talks about intention – “the end product is jokes, but you could easily say the end product is intention. Having intentionality at all times… the process of process is process.” I liked that quite a bit.
He also shares a lesson about “learning to love the bomb” it’s here:
“I went, ‘I don’t know what this is, but I have to do it,’ ” he said. “I have to get up onstage and perform extemporaneously with other people.” He was part of the same Second City class that included Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello and Chris Farley. “Our first night professionally onstage,” he said, the longtime Second City director Jeff Michalski told them that the most important lesson he could pass on to them was this: “You have to learn to love the bomb.”
“It took me a long time to really understand what that meant,” Colbert said. “It wasn’t ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get it next time.’ It wasn’t ‘Laugh it off.’ No, it means what it says. You gotta learn to love when you’re failing.… The embracing of that, the discomfort of failing in front of an audience, leads you to penetrate through the fear that blinds you. Fear is the mind killer.” (You’re welcome, Dune nerds.)” GQ The Late Great Stephen Colbert – Joel Lovell, August 17, 2015
It wasn’t that long ago I was struggling to figure out if I was any good at a new job – seemed every day I was being shown one more thing I couldn’t do right. It was so frustrating that I was almost brought to tears a few times. I was close to quitting and had even talked to my sponsor about finding something different. One day I just gave up, my supervisor came over to point out my failings one more time and I just laughed (which pissed her off a little bit), I was finished and i knew I wasn’t going to be able to ever get this down and they’d likely let me go. From that moment – from the laughter forward – I figured it out. The stress vanished, the fear dissipated and I just did the best I could (which is actually pretty good most days).
People often say to me – you’ve survived so much it’s amazing. I think it’s not much – not much in comparison to Colbert, or others who have lost or been hurt. We all have our own journeys to make and will leave with scars that help define who we are. I don’t go through life trying to avoid the brambles – I just keep my destination in mind and keep moving trying to do the right thing. The right thing usually means not treading over those I pass along the way, but stopping to offer them a hand.
Acceptance is the key, laughter and love will help you through it and accepting doesn’t mean giving up.