On Tuesday evening, like most Tuesday evenings, I was on the tennis court at my local tennis club.
Working through the volley drills we were being made to do, again and again, I noticed these ginormous menacing cumulonimbus clouds approaching like some scene out Harry Potter. I found myself getting more and more distracted by them. I wanted to play tennis god dammit! Go away rain. Although let’s face it we do need the rain.
It’s silly watching clouds form and getting angry with their formation…
In that moment I suggested to myself perhaps there is room here for observation and acceptance. Much like I endeavour to do with my tennis game and life. It is a bit ridiculous to get upset about watching clouds form. Yes there is a consequence for their formation – we stop playing – but I have no influence over their formation.
What if there is no resistance to the moment to moment experience, there is only observation and acceptance?
With my tennis game – and in life generally – I have noticed my wondrous capability when I observe and accept. It’s not resignation. I learn to break the cycle of habitual reactivity.
The thing is, how do we stop yelling at the clouds? How do we stop our desire to throw our tennis racquet in a McEnroe fashion?
We do it by developing the courage to accept the present moment. You see, this is the very essence of living purposefully and presently. When we do we obtain freedom…freedom from reactivity. On the tennis court (and in life) it’s our ability to accept whatever ball is going to come our way. Whatever storm is heading in our direction, that becomes the key to our freedom to just enjoy the game of life for what it is.
It’s our ability to learn to accept whatever life throws at us…that’s the key to freedom.
Acceptance is the key to freedom! Not resignation.
It’s so simple and yet so profoundly difficult. Acceptance says to me, I am enough in this moment.
If like me, you have ever felt you’re not good enough, or, like me, still feel at times you’re not good enough to warrant the achievements you have reached. If, like me, you have asked, who am I? Or you find it difficult to recognise what you are capable of. Consider observing and accepting rather than evaluating and assessing.
There are so many books, articles and people telling us the true way to fulfilment and happiness. The best way to be ourselves. The best way to make a million. The only way to run a business. The clear path to success. All these books and stuff have one thing in common – they are about an end goal. They are about striving for something. Which by the way is wonderful and very human. They are all about what you could be.
But what if you are enough? Acceptance, not resignation. What if within you are all the ingredients necessary? What if how you are feeling now (positive or negative) is enough? You can use your feelings in a useful, unattached way as guiding lights, sign-posts even.
What if you could live now, be now, and let go of the attachment to tomorrow and use yesterday to guide you through the present?
Someone very famous said we only have the present. What if you could use your current feelings, emotions, and thinking to connect with yourself and communicate more powerfully with others?
When was the last time you did something fully? Not thinking about the next thing to do. Not wondering who you might be meeting next. Not thinking through the next steps. Did something wholly, with acceptance that it is what it is.
At any given point in our lives, we are constantly looking into the future. Angry with the cloud formation, wanting to change it somehow. Wanting to predict the trajectory of the ball on the court rather than simply accepting its path.
Whether we are thinking about what time the next bus comes to assessing whether we need to allocate more resources to that project in six months.
Observation and acceptance fuels a freedom of knowing of your feelings, a knowing of who you are, a trust in yourself, and an ability to be yourself – only then will you be trustworthy.