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Embracing life's messiness: the path of presence, acceptance and surrender

Updated: May 4

Life has a way of becoming messy, filled with phases of deep suffering that often force us to confront what truly matters. During these challenging times, we come to understand the significance of health, self-compassion, self-care, and balance. Through my journey of suffering and healing, as well as my work with clients, I am constantly reminded of how we tend to hide from our humanity. Our vulnerability and fragility scare us, leaving us unsure of how to handle them, often making us want to run away from these aspects of our existence. In my experience and view, this avoidance is at the heart of our fundamental problem.

Amidst the business of our goals and the pursuit of our desires, it's easy to forget the simple yet profound act of being present and allowing ourselves to feel without judgment or haste. I've realized how we engage with life's messiness really determines how it impacts us. Hence, I've been on a journey, one that's less about doing and more about being. It's a journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and surrender to the beautiful messiness of being human. It is a journey of learning to be human, fully out in the open, breaking the chains of defense mechanisms, patterns of distractions, our shoulds, and rigid expectations.

Here’s what I have been trying to do. Here’s how I have been cultivating greater freedom and gentleness in this process:

  • Listening to the Body

One of the first steps on this path has been learning to listen to my body. We live in a world that often prioritizes mental cognition and ideas over our body’s messages. I have found so much calm in tuning into physical sensations. As I learned more about trauma and how life experiences impact our body, listening solely to my mind and taking directions only from it started feeling more like an act of cruelty. Deep breaths and moments of silence can truly become the stable anchors we keep looking for externally. These have been helping me connect with the present moment and embrace the wisdom of my body.

  • Setting Realistic Goals

As I journey deeper into this process, I am redefining what success means to me. It's no longer solely about achieving grand milestones; instead, I am learning to set realistic, achievable goals that honor where I am in life right now without robbing me of the simple joys of everyday life. I am reminding myself that it is about the journey, not just the destination.

  • Self-Care Over Achievement

In Brene Brown’s words, I am a recovering perfectionist and an aspiring good-enoughist. In this pursuit of presence, I've come to value self-care above all else. There's deep contentment in taking care of oneself, a kind of fulfillment that goes beyond the checklist of accomplishments. It's about nourishing the soul and finding joy in the act of self-nurturing. It is unsubscribing from the idea that we need to earn self-care or self-soothing or we deserve self-care only when we burn out.

  • Reflecting on Progress

Progress, I've learned, isn't just about ticking off life goals. It's also about how I hold space for my experiences and those of others. It's about witnessing the beauty of growth, both in myself and in the intimate journeys of my clients, friends, and others around me.

  • Setting boundaries that ensure a Positive Environment

Having space and energy only for people, things, behaviors, and practices that align with who you is a significant step of loving kindness that we can offer ourselves. I remind myself of my boundaries, making conscious choices to create an environment that brings peace and joy into my life, fostering positivity and growth.

  • Surrendering the need to Control

The mind often craves control, but I've been observing this desire more closely, trying to just observe and not give in. I am learning that true liberation comes from surrendering to the moment, embracing the journey with intentionality, and letting go of the need to control, especially not creating an illusion of control by worrying about things that are outside of our control anyway.

  • Valuing Life's Seasons

All of us deeply desire permanent, continued happiness, however, no year in our life has only spring. Life, I've discovered, is not just about pursuing happiness. It's about honoring all the seasons it brings—joy, sorrow, growth, and change. Each season has its unique beauty and purpose. Accepting all the seasons, and not resisting the ones that bring discomfort allows us space to make the best of that season, not resisting allows us an opportunity to practice surrender.

  • Practicing Forgiveness

Perhaps one of the most profound shifts has been in the practice of forgiveness, both for myself and for others. This one is tough, one that needs several reminders since our ego loves judging and blaming. Forgiveness sets us free, when we forgive we release ourselves of the burden. I am starting with small acts of gentleness, challenging myself to foster more compassion and understanding.

  • Continuous Self-Growth

Reading and learning have been helpful practices for grounding, and challenging my smaller egoic self one step at a time. Reading more about our mind and ego functions, intentionally observing the ego closely, and embracing growth, one step at a time.

I want to emphasize that mindfulness doesn't dominate every moment of my day; conditioning still has a stronghold. However, when I remind myself to be present and gentle, the burden of being human feels a little lighter. The seasons of life that I despise feel a little better.

Again, it isn't about perfection but learning to fully accept who we inherently are. It's about embracing the messiness of life, falling in love with the process, and uncovering the extraordinary within the ordinary. Living in the present moment and slowly learning to move away from being too attached to the past and the future.

I invite you to join me on this journey of surrender, presence, and self-discovery. Together, let's learn to witness the beauty of being human and find grace in life's most chaotic moments.

Does any of these practices resonate with you? Do you have a personal practice that allows you softer living? Share with me and other readers in the comments below.

water color painting of flowers in shades of pink and purple

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

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