I’d Like to Thank . . .

. . . my producer, my director, everyone in the cast and crew. 

Who hasn’t, at some point in their lives, practiced their Oscar acceptance speech?  Or maybe yours was a Grammy or a Tony or an Emmy. This seems to be a fairly common undertaking, almost a rite of passage for many. We see people receiving great acclaim and being celebrated, and then we daydream about having that experience. We roleplay. We practice it.  

Humans like to win. We like to be celebrated. We seem to be hardwired for desiring acknowledgment and recognition and appreciation. We are primed and ready to accept our award. 

But most of the time when we use the word “acceptance,” it is not followed by the word “speech,” and it is not thought of as an opportunity for celebration.

We most often talk about acceptance as the reluctant agreement to acknowledge aspects of our life we don’t consider desirable.  Learning to accept our situation, whatever it may be, is often seen as a type of emotional maturity. Acceptance is the final step in the five stages of grief as outlined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. It is the first step in the Serenity Prayer — God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. In other words, acceptance is what we do once we’ve tried everything else. We realize we’re facing a situation that we can’t avoid or alter, so then, and only then, we step into the practice of acceptance. 

What if we treated the acceptance of life-as-it-is in a similar way to how we might accept that Oscar?  

If I was an Oscar nominee sitting in the audience and my name was called as the winner, I would stand up and walk on stage.  That is, in essence, a “yes.” You want to give me an award? Yes, I will accept it. The word “yes” has a transformative power. What if in the process of learning to accept something more unpleasant, we found a way to put “yes” in somewhere. 

“Yes, I am experiencing this situation.” 

Even before we have passed judgment or determined outcomes or engaged in any analysis, we can acknowledge with a “yes,” and that “yes” can signal to the brain and the body and the spirit to prepare for that which is good and positive and “yes.” 

After I walked on stage to receive my Oscar, I would deliver a speech.  This speech could be crafted in many different ways, but almost always its main ingredient would be gratitude.  When life hands me a challenge rather than a trophy, gratitude becomes even more necessary.

“Yes, I am experiencing this situation. I’m so grateful for every resource, friend, and belief I have to help me through.” 

In the moment of struggle, what we’re experiencing might not feel like a gift or an award, but the act of acceptance can have the same vibration in either situation. Accepting my present moment exactly as it is can be an act of gratitude and a moment of “yes.” 

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