The Pitfalls of Peace and Acceptance

by Terry McBride - Date: 2007-01-19 - Word Count: 1059 Share This!

At twenty-three I had a spinal fusion. Somehow during surgery my spine became infected with the e-coli bacteria. Over the next eleven years while engulfed in what my surgeons said was an incurable infection, I had twenty-seven surgeries. And one of my biggest challenges in creating the healing I wanted was reconciling peace and acceptance with my dogged determination to get well.

When I finally decided to take responsibility for my life and stop listening to what the experts were saying, I began to study the idea that consciousness creates reality. My focus was on creating a consciousness that would allow me to regain my perfect health. And for the most part I was supported in my quest to get well by my family and friends. Even the doctors stayed away from words like 'incurable' or 'impossible.' But as my illness continued I was encouraged by some to give up my dream and seek a peace that was beyond my desires. It was as if the peace and acceptance I was supposed to seek was better than me just getting what I wanted.

In the beginning, it was ok for me to be focused with a singleness of purpose on my desire for health. But, as I went through the ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth surgeries, most of my supporters changed their minds about what I should be focusing on. And their justification for their shift seemed to rely on what I came to call the 'perhaps models.' Perhaps the healing you are seeking may not include the healing of your body. Perhaps there is a lesson here that cannot be learned through any other vehicle. Perhaps this is some agreement you made or a debt you had before you came in this time. Perhaps God has a bigger plan for you than you just getting well. As I continued to argue against the various 'perhaps models' I was encouraged to give up my ego-centered priorities.

No one spoke about "facing reality" for the first few years. No one suggested that my need to be whole was ego-driven for the first group of surgeries. But as my supporters moved into the void beyond what they believed would work, many seemed to shift their goal to an acceptance of a reality they had been taught to believe in. And I felt their acceptance of other than what they wanted, had to do with how they related to failure. A few failures were ok. I was encouraged to not give up and stay the creator of my life experience. A few more failures and I was encouraged to seek the lessons I was to learn and be open. But, as the failures mounted up there was doubt and concern about my objective. Perhaps I shouldn't be so specific. Perhaps this is part of a bigger plan. And as the failures continued my uncertainty surrounding what I should be focusing on became overwhelming. I just couldn't figure out why the number of failed attempts determines when one should give up or change priorities.

In came my study of peace and acceptance.

Now right off, I had problems with some of the teachings regarding peace and acceptance: Many experts inferred that the first thing I must do to gain the peace and acceptance I wanted was to give up my priorities. In much of what I read, I found no solid ground where I could be focused on peace while at the same time be absolutely committed and free in creating the reality I wanted.

I longed to experience that sense of peace and acceptance in the wonder of life itself that I found when I was in prayer and meditation. But I did not want to give up my vision of perfect health. In the encouragement I received to let go and turn the specifics of my life over to Divine Wisdom, there was still the possibility of health. But in the letting go, the outcome was no longer up to me. And if I acknowledged that creating the health I wanted was beyond my ability, then I opened the door for other aspects of my life to be out of my control. I would not be free. I believed it would only be a matter of time until this lack of freedom, this acceptance of limitation would be applied to another of my dreams, another of my priorities. And I knew for me, this lack of freedom and authority would ultimately lead to what Henry David Thoreau called "A life of quiet desperation."

Of course there was the risk of becoming too attached to the material aspects of my life, which might lead me to focus on only getting things rather than getting enlightenment or getting saved, whatever that was called. But I wanted to be the one who got to choose. I wanted to have sovereignty over what I was committed to. Besides, even if I did let go and go with the flow, which flow should I go with? Which perception of reality should I accept as the truth for me? Science said I could not expect to come out of my illness whole. Some spiritual writings said I should give up my need to have the things I wanted in search of a grander scheme.

Some of my conflicts were: Could I lead a spirit filled life of love, peace, compassion and joy and still be committed to having the health I wanted? Could I keep my personal priorities, such as having a back that was strong enough to pick up my daughters and wrestle with them, or on a holy quest would I have to accept the things I could not change?

It took years to understand that my belief created the form and experience of my reality and even more years to create the health I wanted. And so today, perfectly healthy, happy, living the magnificent life I have created, I still sometimes wrestle with my priorities and what I want my intention focused on. But at least I now realize it's all right to experience peace and acceptance in my now, and at the same time be focused in my attention and create what I want. After all, it was only my belief that brought "pitfalls" to my peace and acceptance in the first place.

Related Tags: peace, healing, belief, priorities, create, focus, acceptance, freedom

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