"Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally." Eckhart Tolle

I don't know about you, but when I first studied the above quote from Tolle, years ago, I fought it for a long time. To me, acceptance meant saying it was OK, that I approved of the situation. How could I accept these totally unacceptable things in my life? I simply couldn't.

However, I've since discovered that acceptance of what is has nothing to do with saying it’s right or proper or should continue. It has nothing to do with condoning the actions of others. It has to do with finding inner peace. With observing the matter as it is and accepting that it is in fact happening now, or has in fact happened in the past. No judgment. The person or situation is just allowed to be.

Then, from that place of acceptance grows the means to move forward and start making a change in whatever parts of it you can and want to change. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done. But if you were able to do something, you would be doing it from a place of acceptance of what is in the moment. You would be coming from a much calmer, more peaceful place, a much more clear-headed place, out of which to take action.

Right now, have a look at your life and choose one particular "unacceptable" thing that has happened or is happening. Baby steps. Make it something fairly small initially. Then, give attention to it, without labels, just focus on the situation, the memory, the person, whatever comes up.

Where can you feel it in your body? What part of your body changes in some way (contracts, tingles, or becomes uncomfortable) as you begin this exercise? Put your attention there, breathe into it, relax into it, realize that this is a part of your life. It has happened, it is happening. Calmly feel the feelings, the sensations, without labeling them.

Remember, don't make them wrong, don't even call them pain or 'sick feeling,' don't refer to it as anger or grief, no labels! Most importantly, see if you can just let go of the resistance to what is. Release the NO to this moment. Just drop it. You may be surprised by how quickly things shift and how quickly a greater degree of peace comes over you.

You may now actually be in a position to find new ways to perceive this situation or person. To put a new spin on it, if you will. And, from a place of acceptance, you'll be able to more calmly take any action that seems appropriate in this moment.

The action step need not be directly related to the "wrong" or "bad" situation, either. It may be that you let it go from more than the emotional perspective. Maybe you tear up pictures that remind you of the person or situation, or throw away the box of stuff from that old boyfriend that's been bugging you to have around. It's up to you. What would help you feel better right this moment?

Acceptance of what is in your life reduces your stress levels, permits you to think more clearly, to move more of your awareness into the present moment.

So stick with it. Take baby steps. Be gentle with yourself. Just do what you can, what feels right to you, to feel better now. You're worth it!

©2011 Kim O'Hara

Author's Bio: 

After over 16 years of effort to find inner peace, Kim O'Hara was inspired to create special guided meditations to help others release the past and love themselves more. Fast results come from the use of isochronic and binaural entrainment, along with carefully scripted messages. Get free Relaxation Meditation now! or check out her blog at http://Joyfulinnerself.com/blog/.