You will probably be in need of a deep and long, slow breath this week.
What week is it?
One with Hurricane Ida. This was a Category 4 hurricane that knocked out electricity for several weeks in New Orleans. This is the one in which the U.S. The one where the U.S. ended its 20-year war with Afghanistan, but left behind Afghans in danger. The one where a major wildfire in California crossed the towering Sierra Nevada mountain range and threatens thousands of homes in Lake Tahoe, not to mention the surrounding wilderness. Let’s not forget the continued spread of the Delta variant, which may lead to another 100,000 deaths in the U.S. between now and December, the vast majority of those fatalities preventable with a vaccine some people refuse to take.
It is possible that it will be another combination of disasters next week, driven by geopolitics and conspiracy theories as well as climate change. These forces are far beyond our control. While disaster is part of human life — we can’t prevent tragedy and death from happening — we are more easily contacted by the news via our smartphones or social media. Since the pandemic began 18 months ago, our collective existence has been shattered. Any new development now adds to our constant uncertainty and grief. This is especially true for people who are able to experience these crises in person rather than watching from afar.
Happiness is still possible, however. With the right coping skills, we can get through each day. These disasters are more than just the emotional equivalent to walking on water. They demand radical acceptance, which Tara Brach (psychologist) has advocated for almost two decades.
Brach defines the concept as: Radical acceptance refers to the ability to accept and face reality. It is our present experience. What’s going on now.
What does offer in terms of radical acceptance?
Brach explained how to use this skill in the face of another crisis. Skeptics may find accepting the events of this week to be a recipe for further pain. They mistake acceptance as condoning or being passive in the face of it. The approach can be helpful in turbulent times if it is used correctly.
Brach is a meditation teacher, author, and speaker on Radical Acceptance. Radical acceptance comes from two capacities, mindfulness and compassion. Mindfulness simply refers to the ability recognize and name what is happening within us at any given moment. Brach says that compassion can bring out a sense of open heartedness in those inner experiences when it is used.
Sometimes, she likes to ask radical acceptance the question: “What’s going on right now in me?” And can you be kind with it?
What’s going on right now? Can I help with it with kindness?
Brach says that if the answer is “no”, it’s okay. Radical acceptance is also accepting the things we cannot accept at that time. For the person in the sweltering New Orleans heat, who has no electricity and cannot bear sitting with their fear and discomfort, radical acceptance wouldn’t have them embrace the situation. It allows you to recognize when it is impossible to deal with at any moment.
A critical benefit of the practice is to help return someone from the state of fight, flight, or freeze, when stress hormones are coursing through their body and their “primitive survival” brain has taken over. Although this evolutionary stress response is important, if left untreated, it can lead to poor decision-making, rooted in anger and panic, as well as other emotions. Sometimes we neglect our own needs, like going without sleep or getting angry at others. It is possible to stop worrying about our minds and bodies by accepting radical compassion and mindfulness.
Time to slow
Brach refers to the sacred pause as a precondition for a smooth transition. Radical acceptance begins with slowing down to feel our emotions, and greeting them gently. It is difficult to find this stillness when there are so many information streams. Radical acceptance is impossible because of doombrowsing and dooomscrolling. Put the phone down, and switch off the computer.
Brach says that speed can lead to a decrease in our ability to access resources. The faster our world is, the less our hearts are open to feeling, and the less information we use to make sense of it all. We don’t think through things.
Brach states that she can be triggered to anger or blame by the news of someone who perpetuates social injustices and racism. She tries her best to stop and take a step back. Brach says that instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of someone, she tries to refocus her attention to what is motivating it. For example, anger is not the only emotion. Fear is linked to grief for her suffering and underneath that, caring.
Brach says, “If you can return to caring, then you can respond in a manner that is helpful in the world.”
We can do it our way
Sometimes our feelings of inadequacy can block us from radical acceptance. Brach suggests that we can feel like failure when stress is present, and then become trapped in anxiety or confusion. Sometimes, we may feel that we haven’t done enough or that our choices were wrong. Brach refers to this as the “trance or unworthiness,” a feeling of utter failure. This can lead to a loss of self-worth, a sense of insecurity, and a negative impact on our personal relationships and creativity, and even our enjoyment of life. This feeling of insecurity propels us on to a “chain reactivity,” which is where we are governed by our insecurity, rather than our “wise presence”.
However, these feelings of inadequacy may cause us to use judgment and blame on others as well. Brach said that these are the most common methods people use to try and control chaos. It is possible to judge yourself harshly and do the same thing to other people trying to get through a crisis. However, this provides temporary order, but not real relief. This also makes us separate from other people.
Brach suggests that we should take a moment to acknowledge our failures and then practice radical self-acceptance. This will help us cultivate resilience, courage and compassion that can be used to overcome challenges and improve our intelligence.
Radical acceptance reminds us we are not the only ones
If the process of radical acceptance seems intimidating, Brach has created a version of the acronym RAIN (recognize, allow, investigate, nurture) comprising the basic steps to follow. These steps are easy to follow in distress or later, when you have the chance to think. Brach says that even a minute of using the acronym (a light RAIN) can make all the difference.
For example, when you feel anxious, your response can be quick and simple. It could include naming it and quickly acknowledging the feeling, without trying to change or ignore the feelings, exploring the clenched chest with care and interest, as well as nurturing yourself with self-compassion. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s enough just to place your hand on your heart and say kindly, it’s okay, to acknowledge that the hurt is there.
We can better take care of our own emotions and collaborate with others to help them. (See, for example, the people who donated millions of dollars last week to Afghans in crisis.) We can’t see and feel the presence of others in similar pain and we become isolated.
Brach says, “As soon we remember our unity, we can have all the resilience of the world.”
If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential support 24/7. Text CRISIS to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET, or email [email protected]. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is alistof international resources.
Publited at Thu, 02/09/2021 11:36:56 +0000