Monday, July 09, 2007

Radical Acceptance - the book

I got the book from the library, by Tara Brach, the author of the YJ article I mentioned the other day about fear. I started reading it last night, and like the article, just about every sentence is hitting home. It is amazing, I finally found something that SPEAKS to me again. And wouldn’t you know, it’s Buddhism, again. The author brings Buddhist acceptance to our crazy, sick, Western lives. I am looking forward to reading more, and perhaps learning some techniques that will help me experience real acceptance. Because lately I’ve been trying to do it, but it’s not getting any farther than my head. I can say it in my head, but I don’t feel it somatically. And really it has been amounting to a little bit of flailing about, a little directionlessness, a little lack of self-discipline, which is actually creating some anxiety and fear (you know, of being out of control). Brach talks about finding ways to connect with your inner goodness, and once I do that, I can live from that place, and I won’t want to be doing all these harmful things that I’m doing to myself right now, like eating crap and wasting time fiddling around.

But there’s a paradox here I’m struggling with – she’s saying that our feelings of not being good enough stem from our culture of always having to acheive, to get approval, to improve, to be better (than we are, than other people). And here I am, working on a list of GOALS. Here I’ve written out, plain as day, things I don’t like about my life and myself and want to change. How to reconcile that with loving myself as I am?

And the whole idea of loving myself is another complicated thing – especially because I’m still learning what love really is. I try to imagine feeling about myself the way I feel about those kids I babysit, and, well, I can’t imagine it. I have a hard time even feeling that unconditional about my best friends! That difficulty has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with my insecurities, I know that. It is hard to really want the best for someone when you are jealous of them. And since I have let go of my jealousy of those kids, I really can love them better. It is a process. Perhaps my friends are next. As for loving myself, well, i want to learn. Maybe this book will help me begin to imagine it.

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I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.