What Are You Ready to Accept?

“Before you can do what you want,

You must know what you do.”

A therapist shared this quote with me many years ago, from a psychologist I am unable to find online today to attribute the statement to. Such wisdom here. As I contemplate the principle of Acceptance this month in pursuit of a larger quest for understanding how to manifest and sustain true happiness, I have realized so far that one of the things I do that limits happiness is to accept things as they are, for the most part, but without clearly expressing what I am READY to accept; that is, how much more abundance I am ready to allow in order to open my heart and consciousness with a greater capacity. At the same time, I am also realizing this month how we may also need to be clear about what we are NOT willing or able to accept, either in ourselves or our outer world of relations and life conditions.

What am I / are you READY to accept? I invite you to compose a list of positive affirmations (one or more actually) of the form:

I am READY TO ACCEPT ____________.

For example, I will share a small portion from my own list.

I am READY TO ACCEPT:

  • Full responsibility for my own choices.
  • A greater appreciation of Beauty, daily.
  • The freedom to establish and define boundaries.
  • The ability to communicate honestly.
  • The capacity to realize my creative and spiritual goals.
  • The time needed for stepping up.
  • Abundance from all endeavors.
  • Greater joy and gratitude in the Moment.
  • Daily progress toward Fulfillment: health, wealth, wisdom, happiness
  • humility, purity, vision

images are from pixabay.com

So, what are YOU ready to accept or receive?

Better Choices—A Lucid Dream (by Linda K. Watts)

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I am sometimes blessed to be a lucid dreamer. About a year ago, I “received” a dream that unfolded as a full story, in three separate acts! It was an unusual dream. It does not seem to have much to do with my own personal life or psychology, although it could pertain to an archetypal aspect of myself that I am not always aware of. Since the dream unfolded in three distinct act sequences, that is how I’ll tell it. Maybe this dream was meant for this blog or for some readers of this post, though at the time of the dream I had not yet even developed the idea of hosting this Better Endings blog.

ACT I

I see a business man walking along a sidewalk in a city environment. He is apparently quite successful. He is wearing an expensive looking grey suit and tie, he is obviously well fed, and he is a bit overweight. He has achieved a degree of comfortable repute with his business. Let’s call him Howard. Another man approaches him, stops him on the street and introduces himself. (Let’s call him, Jack.) As the Dreamer I know that Jack is a Mob Boss. Jack has heard of Howard’s success and he feels threatened by it, so he has approached Howard to offer him a deal.

“Join my team,” Jack invites Howard. “You will share in my success. We stay at the finest hotels and have all of the good things of life. You will merge your business with mine and be on my team.”

Thinking that joining Jack’s team could lead to “the good life” with little effort on his own part, Howard complies. He becomes a constant member of Jack’s entourage (read, mob gang). They travel together 24/7. But after a few months have gone by, Howard approaches Jack at a hotel they are staying at, in Chicago.

“Would it be okay with you if I sometimes do things just on my own, Jack? Like eating alone or sometimes spending a few days away from the team?”

Jack looks Howard up and down, sizing him up before he answers point-blank, “No, Howard. That would not be okay.”

Now Howard realizes he is, in a very real sense, Jack’s prisoner. He has been under Jack’s control, not an equal business team member with him.

The dream next shows Howard in a hotel bathroom. He looks out a small window onto a snowy rooftop in Chicago. He longs for his freedom. So, he climbs up onto the toilet, opens the window, squeezes himself through to the rooftop, and runs! He leaps from the rooftop into a snow drift below. Then he runs in leaps and bounds away from the hotel and Jack’s control, free!

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ACT II/ Part A

Free from the Mob Boss Jack’s control, Howard gets a shrewd business idea. He figures he can do business with Jack’s own clients and offer them to pay a little less to him for the same services; so he will benefit at Jack’s unknowing expense. He walks into a shop which has a front business area and a back office and he offers his deal to one of Jack’s customers. The store owner pretends to appreciate the offer and says he needs to check something first in the back office.  As the Dreamer I understand immediately what is really going on. The store owner has called Jack and reported Howard’s offer! He has agreed to keep Howard occupied until Jack and his gang will arrive. Though the dream doesn’t show the final conclusion of this ‘act’, as the Dreamer it is clear that Howard will turn to leave the shop just as Jack and his gang close in on him, guns drawn. He will be toast!

ACT II/ Part B

Here’s where it becomes very interesting as a dream! I am now shown an ALTERNATE dream scenario, a different way that Howard could experience his Freedom. This act picks up again from the same scene of Howard having jumped from the hotel roof, skipping away happily to enjoy his escape from Jack’s control. This time, however, he does not revert to his old business ways. We see Howard exploring his newfound freedom, staying in the cover of night to avoid being recaptured. He comes to a remote, natural enclave area, like a small, recessed canyon with Red Rock cliff walls.  Howard looks UP. He sees, looking back down at him from their comfortable perch near the top of the cliffs overhead, two otherworldly Beings, one of them holding a flute. They are Guardian Spirits of some nondescript sort. They have been watching Howard.

“Can I climb out this way?” Howard asks the two gentle Beings who use no words but smile openly when he sees them and asks them this question. One of the two beckons a way that Howard can climb up the cliff. He does so. Howard climbs up and then crosses over the lip of the red canyon cliff wall.

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ACT III

Still in this extended, lucid story-dream, I am shown that Howard has been experiencing a wholly new and different life situation since his choice to climb out of his old life to Freedom. Now Howard lives in a small, rural sort of community. He lives an average life, one of service to his village. Everybody knows him, and he them. He does good deeds whenever he can, always being willing to lend a helping hand to a neighbor or to give from his own meager resources to anyone in need. He has lost weight and he wears common work clothes, not a business suit.

As I wake from the dream, I am given a title for it: “The True Meaning of Spiritual Freedom”. As I open my eyes I have the distinct awareness that if Jack were ever to be face to face with Howard now, he would not even recognize him!

So, that’s the dream. I share it with you now as a story for this week’s topic of Better Choices. I will let the story’s message speak for Itself to you, as it may hold different meanings for different readers.

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What do better choices–or Better Endings–look like in YOUR life experience? What forms might they take? I invite your insights and stories! (May 5, 2014) – Linda

How Quitting Smoking Helped Me Gain Detachment and Spiritual Freedom

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I started smoking in 8th grade, when I was only 15. My father smoked so I emulated him, sneaking cigarettes at first from his packs and then later, from 18 on, buying cartons at a time. By college I was a pack-a-day smoker, with favorite brands I identified with: Old Gold, Kent, Camel non-filter. I had friends who were also smokers since high school and I felt more “cool”—less of a nerd—by smoking. It began to represent me as a habit I thought was part of my persona. I smoked when I drank coffee, studied, wrote poetry, journalled. These all became intertwined as a pattern that I believed identified me as an individual.

But I was also athletic in college; I was on a successful fencing team. These two practices of smoking and fencing clashed. I learned this the hard way when once, at a fencing tournament in Rhode Island that I had worked hard with two of my teammates to qualify for, I literally collapsed on the strip after just a few seconds, unable to get my breath. I lost this bout; winning it would have let me move on to the next round in the tourney. That very evening at the hotel, by synchronicity–and divine intervention–I saw a program on TV about what the lungs of a smoker can look like. I committed that night to quit the habit.

No smoking sign

It took me exactly a year to break the habit. I started by switching to low tar and nicotine brands, True and Carlton. I allowed myself to smoke as many of these as I liked, but no other brands. These were bland and relatively tasteless compared to the heavy duty brands I had used before, so my desire gradually weakened. Then, for the grand finale of a month or so, I switched to salted sunflower seeds. I allowed myself to eat as many of these as I liked, to satisfy the oral fixation smoking had established. I filled glass after glass with the hulls of seeds I ingested, replacing salt and the cracking of seeds for the nicotine and smoke of cigarettes.

It worked. I reached the point where I would rather have nothing in my mouth than another sunflower seed. A few months later I attended a college lecture with a roommate of mine who smoked, Michael. Triggered by a disagreement with something the speaker had said, I asked, “Michael, give me a cigarette!” I took one drag, though, and I felt a nauseating, “negative” charge of electricity that spread in moments from my head to my toes. I put out the cigarette immediately, and I have never had the slightest inkling of  a desire to smoke, ever again. That was 1975.

Quitting smoking was amazing in my life for its results. I could BREATHE again. My head and thoughts felt CLEAR, as if for the first time ever. I could CONTEMPLATE—which I have daily since 1974 as a spiritual practice—and not feel “earthbound” with a clouded mind. I felt FREE to think, to explore, to thrive.

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In retrospect, quitting smoking counted as a success, as a coup, something I have been able to bank upon many times since whenever other negative habits or thoughts have developed in my life. If I could break the smoking habit (and around the same time, drinking alcohol, which dropped away very easily, though), I could detach myself from anything, or anyone, that might otherwise hold me down or hold me back from pursuing my dreams. Quitting a ‘bad’ habit gave me the strength to implement good habits based on self-discipline and freed me to pursue my dreams with passion instead of compulsion.