Accept Everything, But Don’t Be Passive

I love climbing up a good big and scary mountain. I hate, with all my heart though, the alpine morning. Waking up at 12 AM or 1 AM so that you can get to the summit by sunrise sucks hard. Sunrise is beautiful, there’s no denying that, but waking up cold in the middle of the night, trying to eat something when you aren’t remotely hungry, and waiting for your friends in the cold until they’re ready (and they take 50 hours), bah, not so fun. 

I’m not a good regular sleeper either, I struggle to sleep even in my cozy bed. That means that when I have to get into my sleeping back and ‘fall asleep’ at 6 PM I very well know that falling asleep is not going to happen soon. I grab my Kindle and read and read and read until I start to get anxious about the little amount of sleep I’m going to get. Sleep, in the mountain, is gold. Being tired is not something you want when you’re about to be exercising in the cold and dancing with danger for 13 straight hours. 

Why can’t you just sleep body’ I yell internally at myself while lying awake. 

I wake up the next day, or in the night to be more accurate, and I’m super tired. 

I’m tired, this is bad’………………..And this is the point where philosophy, like a Colombian Coca leaf, kicks in and saves the day. 

I’m tired’ that’s it. The ‘this is bad part’ was put there by myself and in relation to me. ‘This is bad’ is the subjective belief I placed there. And, it being a subjective belief placed there by me, I have the right to change it. I have the right to place something else, like: ‘Good, I need a little bit of handicap as I’m so awesome’

Reframe your beliefs and the whole enchilada changes. Psychologically and physiologically. 

If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.
Marcus Aurelius

But something needs to be done before you change your beliefs.

Radical Acceptance

When you hear the word acceptance, what comes to your mind? It feels like defeat doesn’t it? Yeah, it kind of does. But it’s not. Acceptance is not resignation.

If you want to get things done, if you want to be brave, you need to practice the art of acceptance. Let me tell you how it works. 

The first thing you need to do is to take the should out of your vocabulary. Should is denial, contrary to acceptance. Look at some examples: 

‘I should have rested more’ yeah, you should’ve, but you didn’t. 

‘My work shouldn’t be so demanding’ but it is, so either you work harder, or you do something that enables you to work less. 

See what I’m doing? The first step to do anything is accepting it. But beware, it’s accepting it as it is. AS IT IS. And not charged and encumbered with your feelings (sometimes petty). 

I’m tired and this is bad, I accept it. ← This is an example of how not to think. 

I’m tired.← This is better. 

When you accept something, without the encumbrances of your beliefs, you’re prepared to work with the thing that is closer to reality itself. The closest you can get to objectivity in any situation the better. Because if you’re in the business of getting shit done and bettering your world, you need to be objective about how you are going to act. 

Acceptance comes first. But, it doesn’t stay there. 

Back to my mountain morning…

OK, so I’m super tired. I wake up and fold my sleeping back. I put my boots on while I swear in silence. Put my jacket on and kindle my headlamp. Everything seems to be good. Now, I know I need to do something with my tiredness. I need to eat something, even if I feel like puking. I force myself peanut butter spoons on my mouth and some toasts. 

And obviously… knowing I was going to be in this situation beforehand. I brew myself the most perfect and delicious and hot and tasty and amazing cup of coffee. 

I may be tired, but I’m not helpless. 

This is what I mean with acceptance, without passivity.

“Cease to fume at destiny by ever grumbling at today or lamenting over tomorrow.” Marcus Aurelius

Wrapping up 

The first step is acceptance. Look at things for what they are and take yourself out of the equation. The second step is action. Is there anything that you can do to make your situation better? 

That’s it. Don’t overcomplicate. Do what you gotta do. 

And in case you do want to use your feelings, write a song or a novel. They work great in those. 

Thanks for reading, 

Ricardo Guaderrama 

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3 thoughts on “Accept Everything, But Don’t Be Passive

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