Right now, my favorite network T.V. show is The Middle on Wednesday nights. It’s about a blue-collar/middle class family living in Indiana who fall short of experiencing the American Dream one episode at a time. As much as the middle-aged mother tries to rationalize and sanitize the reality of a life with little money — three outrageously different kids — and a man’s man of a husband, she finds herself humbled at the end of every episode. Not humbled in a defeatist kind of way but rather in a way that leads her out of her head and into her heart. Basically, striving to find a balance somewhere in the middle.
She models the idea of letting go and surrendering to the many things (and there are many) in her life that are simply out of her control. She is a heroine in so many ways because she never ceases to look her life straight in the eye — call it by name — and embrace all it has to offer, including the very ugly. No matter how much she thinks her life should be a certain way, she always comes to realize that her life may not be perfect — but rather great just as it is!
This is the kind of radical acceptance that I strive for on a daily basis. To accept the things I cannot change — change the things I can — and respect the difference between the two. A kind of Serenity Prayer practiced in the Twelve Step Program yet profoundly empowering to anyone trying to live an authentic, balanced life.
So often, especially during this technological age, we are taught to think our way through anything and everything. Yet, we often forget that we are so much more than our heads. In fact, we have a whole body underneath that head that is hardly ever tapped for insight — perspective — and wisdom. Many times the body is ignored and left dormant. A Sleeping Beauty of sorts just waiting to be awakened and made whole.
Not unlike Frankie Heck — from The Middle — life can sometimes bring me to this awakened state. Of course, I usually have to be brought to my knees first — laid out flat and then — and only then — will I give up the fight and finally accept the situation at hand. Not a fun process — gut-wrenching actually!
This kind of leap of faith goes way beyond rational thought and takes over my entire body in a way that brings me back to my instinctual self. The self that can no longer explain or rationalize things away and resigns itself to being tired and hungry. Tired of thinking everything to death and hungry for a simpler process that comes straight from the gut!
This is the middle ground that Frankie Heck comes to at the end of every episode. Through the laughter and tears that accompany her and her family from one messy week to the next, she always seems to land steadily on her feet. No longer in a wishful thinking state but in a state of unfettered awareness that changes her from the inside — out and surrounds her with an inner peace that clearly shines through and exudes: All is well — all has always been well — and all forever well will be.
How about you? When have you come to a radical acceptance of something in your life? What was it like for you and what did you learn from it?