Acceptance is simply awareness of the present moment without judgement. The issue is we all want reality to be anything but what it is; in other words a lack of acceptance. One example of learning acceptance was my dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Initially, I had trouble accepting that I had cancer after a lifetime of taking excellent care of myself. It wasn’t fair and didn’t make any sense. I fought acceptance of my situation for a long time thinking maybe I could change my reality, Once I practiced acceptance I began to work wisely and effectively the best I knew how with the resources available to me internally and externally to mitigate, redirect, and change what could be changed. It helped me reduce what initially seemed like a negative experience and turn it into a positive one.
After accepting my situation I asked myself how I could heal and redirect myself internally and emotionally. I began to realize my type of leukemia was controllable. I have met so many cancer patients (both blood and other types) who had cancers that were more devastating and not as controllable. I began to put my situation in perspective and develop and even greater sense of gratitude. I realized also how many aspects in my life I could be grateful for and appreciate.
I also asked myself what resources were available to me to externally redirect and change my situation. I was introduced to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the largest non-profit organization in the world dedicated to researching therapies for blood cancer patients and assisting with advocacy and patient services. I found out the research for the life saving treatment I am currently on was funded by LLS. I had past experiences in the tennis business raising funds for organizations like the American Heart Association and Special Olympics. I geared my efforts towards LLS and created a successful tennis fundraising event called the “New Mexico Texas Shootout Team Tournament” at my resort in Angel Fire, New Mexico. In five years I have raised thousands of dollars and had numerous positive experiences while meeting incredible giving people along the way. I would have never had these incredible experiences, met these amazing people, and had these opportunities without accepting what I initially perceived as a negative cancer diagnosis. As time went on I began to feel better about myself as I gave back and helped others.
My advice is to take every situation that may seem impossible at the time and practice acceptance. Look at what you can control and what you cannot control. Invest the time and effort only in what you can control. Instead of running quickly from problem to problem slow down and smell the roses. Even in the worst scenarios there can be appreciation. A sunset. The taste of your favorite food. Good conversation. The love of family and friends. Make your focus on what you can control and appreciation a habit. Studies have shown over time, you’ll find yourself happier, calmer, and experiencing more joy.