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Mindset Training Week 4: Acceptance

June 2, 2022 by

I’d love to talk to you … dirty and dark … hard and long …

Where you at? I love to lick and love all night …

This is new for me also … looking for a little NSA tonight … what do you think?

I’m your backdoor man … harder the better …

The words launched off the screen, guided missiles pointed toward the ragged shreds of my reality. After five years of marriage, here was more proof: yet another explicit message thread between my husband and yet another woman. It was the final cascade of bombs in a years-long blitz. But this time, I felt nothing. Emotionless, I stood up, packed my belongings in two large blue storage bins, and showed up on a friend’s doorstep.

A few months later, I lay alone in a new apartment, staring a hole through the ceiling texture. It was as if a universal force had lifted my body out of one reality and placed me in another. My body lay motionless as my mind attempted to locate the pause button of my life and ground my new identity to something, anything. “This is where I live now,” I said to myself. Silence responded in the form of freshly painted walls and new carpet.

The queen bed and two-bedroom apartment were larger than both my needs and my wallet. Crushed by the weight of my failed relationship, I’d felt moving out was breaking free. I needed space, and I needed new things: anything that reminded me of us was coated in dishonesty. Strolling through downtown after a Seattle Sounders soccer match, I found myself at a furniture store I’d once visited as half of a couple. Impulsively, I purchased the bed I wanted without needing the approval of anyone else. The shop didn’t seem to mind my credit card’s high interest rate or the upcoming short sale of the underwater condo I still owned with my husband.

Lying on this extravagant purchase in my spacious new residence didn’t make me feel any less alone. I felt about as empty as my bank account. I hadn’t planned or wanted this: The fairy tale expunged, Prince Charming with a sex addiction, and the castle close to foreclosure.

Eight years prior, when I met Matt, I’d been living alone in Boise, Idaho. My life was at rock bottom and I was ready for it all to end. I had isolated myself from friends and family and was drinking myself to death. My loneliness had reached a level where I was fantasizing about how I would end my life. Every feeble attempt at rescuing myself had failed. My destructive behavior was a silent cry for help, only no one was coming. In fact, I was pushing everyone who cared about me further away. The more I did so, the more I pleaded into the darkness for someone to love, and for someone to love and save me.

Matt found me where I spent most of my downtime: the bar. His brown eyes were as bottomless as my capacity for alcohol. Giggling and giddy, we stood under a blanket of stars and shared an electrifying kiss: an instantaneous connection. This is the companion I’ve been waiting for. We met in September, he took off on tour with his friend’s metal band, and then he moved in with me as soon as he returned in December.

Matt gave me something I felt no one else had: He loved me exactly as I was, the first constant presence of acceptance in my life. His dry humor, his urge to laugh before he’d made it halfway through a joke, were my sources of joy. Pensive and mysterious with an artist’s soul, he had an uncanny ability for details most would overlook. He’d deconstruct and analyze each layer of any art medium with the expertise of a savant. And yet he seemed to know everything about politics, music, and the latest technology too, and I devoured every drop of his knowledge. Our conversations lasted for hours. He became my best friend and my everything, filling every space of my life. I looked into those brown eyes and felt complete. The truth is that we were both looking for someone to fill a void.

One year after we met, Matt and I moved to Seattle. Broke and with few material possessions, we survived on each other and our hopes, scraping our way through school and our first adult jobs like many young couples in a new city. We each started to see some success in our careers, and then more and more. Together, we felt unstoppable. We were living the dream. I was envisioning the family we were going to make together. I thought he was equally devoted to me.

The first shock rocked me a month after we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Matt became careless about hiding his explicit conversations on our shared computer. Reading and rereading the graphic words was a seismic shift, opening chasms in the earth where my dreams were built. Matt’s commitment to me had told me that I was lovable. But the filthy requests he had written to perfect strangers signaled abandonment. My house had been crafted of fragile glass, and now every wall was spiderwebbed with jagged cracks.

And so began a toxic cycle over the next five years of our marriage. He would be unfaithful. I would leave. He would beg me to stay. I would return. Things would improve for a short time. Every act of love became a false pretense. We went through the motions, purchased a condo, traveled the world, and surprised each other with gifts. Talk was consistently about the future. What was the next trip were going to go on, the next gadget to buy, or the next weekend excursion? Each time dishonesty and infidelity surfaced, the glass splintered further, shards that covered every surface and cut me to bleeding. Our conversations, once rich with meaning, were devoid of substance and weighed down with mistrust. In the last few months before I left for good, I was the walking dead.

I’d wanted to leave for a long time, but I was chained by a host of captors: love, loyalty, denial, obligation, and fear. Every day was inner torture of worry and anxiety. Each night, anguish for my lost love. I’d squeeze to the side of the bed, hoping he wouldn’t touch me. When he’d start snoring, I would slide out of bed to sit on the couch, staring motionless into space. Staying meant a deathless death, slowly bleeding out until there was nothing left of me.

It was a victory for me to finally leave this unhealthy, codependent relationship. So why was I lying there in my gigantic empty bed staring up at the ceiling feeling so miserable? I wanted everything that was not, and nothing of what was. The yellow brick road of my life had taken a sharp fork to the right, yet all I could do was fantasize about the route to the left. I wanted to erase the evidence of infidelity from my mind as I would delete a file from a hard drive. I wanted my imagined fairy tale to have played out. But it was not real. I was wishing myself into despondency.

The first thing I had to do was acknowledge my life as it presently was. The next step? Figure out how to like myself. We’ve all heard the annoying cliché, “you have to love yourself first before you can love anyone else,” said with the best intentions as if it’s easy as flipping a switch. It’s not. I did not particularly like myself and I definitely did not like the situation I was in. However, I wanted to.

Desire led the way of the mind and the heart followed.

MIND TRAINING STEP ONE: ACCEPTANCE

You may find yourself in a similar situation, where you’re wanting your life to be different but not knowing what to do next. To move forward, you must reach acceptance for where you are and who you are right now. Over the past few weeks, you’ve established a regular meditation practice, calibrating your mind to your highest self. Next, you’ll learn to implement four steps to train the mind when faced with a challenge: Step one is acceptance of what is, acknowledging that due to your choices and circumstances of your life, you stand where you are at this present moment in time. Acceptance does not mean giving up. Quite the opposite. Acceptance puts you in control to decide where you place your next step forward. Acceptance unsticks you.

To accept your current reality, create specific statements of acceptance. In the last two chapters you learned that the energetic part of you, sometimes called the Self, soul or spirit, is permanent and unchanging—while the body, like all of this world of matter, is ever changing and impermanent. This is an important concept as you move from a limited to an unlimited perspective. When you fixate on flaws, your suffering results and worsens. In your permanent state of individualized energy, you are perfect. Statements of self-acceptance acknowledge your soul in its perfection while also recognizing the body and mind for its imperfections.

STATEMENTS OF SELF-ACCEPTANCE

A statement of acceptance acknowledges your current circumstance, initiating self-love, with a nod to the flawed parts of your life. You can create one by stating “I accept myself completely even though [what is going on in your life that’s creating unhappiness].”
You fill in the blank.

Example statements of self-acceptance:

I accept myself completely even though I’m getting divorced.

I accept myself completely even though I’m on my own.

I accept myself completely even though I feel unhappy.

MEDITATION PRACTICE

You are Dorothy, venturing down the yellow brick road. The emerald castle glimmers, tempting you with pleasures. But you are meant to be where you actually belong. When you begin to doubt or get distracted, all you must do is realize where you are, align with your ultimate destination, and start walking.

Meditation is your loyal companion down the yellow brick road of life. It’s your lion, scarecrow, and tin man, giving you courage when you’re timid, strength when you feel weak, and comfort when your heart is aching. The wicked witch casts a spell, tricking you into believing you’re anything less than a magnificent, powerful being of light. Self-love and acceptance are your ruby slippers. Put them on and you will discover, like Dorothy, that the real emerald castle is where you were supposed to go all along: the heart of healing.

ON-CUSHION : FOUR-MINUTE MEDITATION

Prior to beginning your meditation practice, read your self-acceptance statements. Notice the feelings that saying the words brings up. No feeling is good or bad. When you let emotions arise, you are giving them space and allowing your heart to heal. Relax around thoughts and feelings as you breathe.

  • Read your statement of purpose.
  • AM: Read value components. PM: Check off value components.
  • Sit comfortably on a cushion with the legs crossed.
  • Set a timer for four minutes.
  • Sit up tall and lengthen through the spine. Imagine pressing down through the hips while reaching up through the crown of the head. Square shoulders over hips and ears over shoulders.
  • Start timer.
  • Take a big breath in through the nose, then audibly exhale through the mouth, Haaaaa.
  • Close your eyes and focus your gaze toward the center of the eyebrows.
  • Inhale for three counts, Om 1, Om 2, Om 3, pause.
  • At the top of the in breath say silently to yourself, “Heart.”
  • Exhale for three counts, Om 1, Om 2, Om 3, pause.
  • At the bottom of the out breath say silently to yourself, “Mind.”

Every time the mind wanders, relax and come back to your focal points, posture, gaze, breath, and breath count.

Continue until the timer goes off.

Notice the feeling of peace after meditation practice. This is Love awakening from within. Affirm I am worthy of love.

OFF-CUSHION: SELF-ACCEPTANCE

Throughout your day, continue the self-acceptance exercise. Each time something happens that you don’t like and you sense a complaint arising, repeat a self-acceptance phrase.

Here are some examples:

  • I accept my life completely even though it’s raining.
  • I accept myself completely even though I feel tired.
  • I accept my life completely even though I am stuck in traffic.
  • I accept myself completely even though I made a mistake.

Observe the change in mood as you initiate these statements of acceptance versus trailing off into wishing, wanting, and negative thinking.

Complete introspection questions and Chapter 4 exercise from your TMHH Workbook.

Train the Mind, Heal the Heart, Mindset Training Program.

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