In preparing for the holidays, we’ve been putting up decorations, lights a tree, etc. We didn’t do much of this last year because of my wife’s health and the pregnancy related complications leading up to Christmas, so it was important for us to get some of this done early this year. Shelby decided she wanted some outdoor ornaments (some lighted balls), which proved to be hard to find. We went to half a dozen stores looking for just the right thing, but we never found what she wanted and ended up buying the materials at a craft store that would come close to replicating it.
During this shopping excursion, which seemed to last many hours stretched over two days, I found myself being negative and feeling a bit put out by having to drive around town and browse stores during a busy holiday weekend. I was trying not to complain, but I felt like I had been taken over by this entity of unhappiness and couldn’t snap out of it (often referred to by Eckhart Tolle as the pain body). I would periodically become aware of my unconsciousness, but it didn’t do any good. In fact, noticing my unconscious behavior seemed to frustrate me even more. I was negatively judging myself for being negative, and the vicious cycle of judgment had begun.
There I was, the guy who likes to write about how perfect things are, and how all suffering is self-induced, etc., and yet I seemed stuck in a stereotypical male role of following my wife around a store with my hands in my pockets, feigning interest in things she pointed out, hoping that it would be over soon. The underlying dis-ease came from a desire to be somewhere else, and the desire not to spend too much money on this project (a good example of how desire is at the root of all evil ;-). I could periodically see myself in that disgruntled role, implying that there was at least a glimmer of consciousness shining through, but not enough to break free of the spell.
When I checked in with my body, I noticed I was feeling fatigued and wondered if my physical state was contributing to my psychological state. Which came first? The physical dis-ease or the psychological manifestation of negativity? While I was looking for something to blame for my bad mood, I remembered a quote from A Course in Miracles, “I could be seeing Peace instead of this.” I knew from past experience that this was true, but I couldn’t see it in this particular circumstance.
I finally had a moment of clarity and remembered that acceptance of one’s own resistance is necessary when you find yourself in a situation that seems unacceptable. I would usually associate this measure (of accepting one’s inability to accept something) with a much more serous life situation, such as great suffering, illness, etc., rather than a trip to a busy shopping center, but to each his or her own.
Upon this re-realization, I reassured myself that it was completely okay for me to feel stressed, bitchy, etc. In effect, I forgave myself for my own non-acceptance (and for being a bit of a jerk). After that it felt like a weight had been lifted. I was able to relax a bit simply by being okay with my own resistance, and, interestingly enough, when you’re okay with not being okay, everything feels okay :-)
This re-discovery of the power of acceptance didn’t occur until near the end of our shopping excursion, and a nice scenic drive home helped round out what was an enlightening day of doing things that I didn’t want to do, but had to be done. I share this with you, knowing that it may damage your opinion of me, in hopes that it may help you get through the holiday season in One Peace.