Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Practicing Acceptance

I am a control freak (except when it comes to my house!) and the practice of acceptance is one of the more difficult spiritual goals I have set for myself. To accept the things I cannot change is fine as long as I am oblivious to what cannot be changed. The other day I was heading toward Boston and passed an anti-evolution billboard that screamed at me (or maybe that was my imagination). The 20-foot structure made of metal and paper was telling me that what I believe is false, what I have spent years studying, what I find fascinating, is just not true. I reacted with anger. How dare they tell me how to think? I spent an excessive period of time arguing with the billboard, with the people who paid for it and shoved it down my throat, or my eyes. I still feel self righteous indignation over this trampling, this invasion. I know I am overreacting. That is obvious. The question is why would that one billboard evoke such a strong feeling while others, informing all that one phone company is superior to another, doesn't even grab my attention? Maybe because I can choose which company to use, while I cannot change others. There will be a group of people out there that believe that man and dinosaurs co-existed, that believe that there is no way that we could be related to chimpanzees (they are so much hairier and definitely far more intelligent than man). Was I upset over the ego that was jumping out at me, or was I feeling a lack of control? I cannot change anyone's mind or belief system, just as I wish my own belief system to be left alone. I do not want anyone telling me what or who to believe in, my spirituality is sacred and unique to me. Maybe I felt threatened, that I was accused of being "wrong" or somehow defective because of my beliefs. What I do know today, is that acceptance is the answer, I am disturbed and it is up to me to pinpoint what part of me feels threatened. When I find that area I take back control. I have the ability to shift my feelings at any moment of the day. I have the choice to remain in the negativity and anger or to send love and light to the people I may not agree with as well as myself for my strong reaction. Life would be boring if everyone thought the same way, if everyone was a Red Sox fan or everyone a Democrat. There would be no dynamic, no change, and no evolution. So I will pass my sedimentary rock formations and smile and know that my loving God has been creating for billions of years, that snowballs and slushballs are just theories, that Pangy Day does have special meaning, and that yes, I, egotistical human that I am, did come from a speck of algae that the Universe created, and that millions of years from now, if I cannot reign in my anger over a billboard, I just might return to one.

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