8 July 4, 2016
Today on Facebook a friend shared a quote by Angela Davis "I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept." –Angela Davis
At the same time, I have been reading a lot this week about mindfulness, and thinking about the idea of not fighting against the negative in life but accepting it, embracing it, and not trying to change it. Of course Angela Davis was referring to interpersonal relations, whereas mindfulness is essentially about intrapersonal relations. (Although the teaching of some religions I have read would urge us to accept the life we are given in this world.)
The apparent contradiction in the two ideas got me thinking… or rather writing. Same thing.
It occurred to me that, strangely enough, the two ideas complement each other rather well, and that “accepting” can be a first step towards “not accepting.” The trick is to know which things I can change and which things I cannot. Which things just are, and which things are creations of my own thinking? If I have a cut, I cannot change that fact and make the cut not exist. If I have a fear of driving, that is something in my thinking and so something that I can change.
So what about depression? Is that something I can change? On the one hand, no, not in the moment I feel I am in a depression… it just is. Fighting it, thinking of all the reasons I have to not be depressed, or pretending it doesn’t exist won’t change anything or make the feeling go away. On the other hand, sitting with it, being curious about it, seeing where it goes and what it does… in short, accepting it could be a first step to not accepting it in my life and ultimately initiating change?
So, now I am thinking how might this approach work for changing the minds of people who actually believe that Donald Trump could be a good idea for the United States?