‘It is what it is’, has been my attitude for a while but recently I have taken my acceptance of things to a whole new level. Which may or may not be radical acceptance. For me, as an autistic adult, it certainly feels like radical acceptance.

I am trying to live on the moment. To just be and to accept whatever is in that moment with appreciation and gratitude. If it is cold, accept that and find appreciation of the cold wind on my face. If I am eating something, I am trying to truly taste the food and feel the texture. If I don’t like it, I am trying to appreciate that I have an abundance of food and accept that eating food I do not like, will not harm me in any real sense.

I am trying to give up needing to control everything all the time. Because with radical acceptance comes an understanding that I cannot actually control anything anyway. I am trying to live radical acceptance in my interactions with others. If someone says that they don’t want to do something with me then I am taking that as a factual and not a judgmental statement. The same response is held for when someone does want to do something with me.

This is such a different way for me to live. To not look for hidden meanings and agendas. People may still have them but I am not impacted by them. I used to get so upset if I asked someone to do something and they said no. Now, I ask differently. I let people know if they want to join me that would be nice, but I will be doing it anyway.

This may be because I had a ‘big birthday’ this week. But not directly. Jane had so many plans for this birthday and she is not here. It is almost a year since she died and I could have completely fallen apart in the build up to the birthday that she was so excited to celebrate with me and our friends, family and whanau.

To be honest it is 2am and I can’t sleep. My party is today. My planning consisted of inviting a very few people to a bbq at a weird time to another weird time. I can’t sleep because my heart hurts.

But at the same time. My friends, family and whanau that are alive have helped me to celebrate in ways that made me feel so special and cherished. Love comes in many forms and accepting that I can experience a hurting heart and a moment of pure excitement and joy at the same time has been healing. As has the kindness of all those in my life.

Unexpected flowers, a surprise rainbow unicorn birthday breakfast, two beautiful meals out with lots of laughter and joy. These are gifts that help me to stay in the present most of the time. To be able to celebrate rather than just grieve.

Pain, both physical and emotional, are a core part of human existence. Without them, we cannot truly know what their opposites feel like. But it is easy to get stuck in feeling pain and to think that will be the main feeling forever. Instead of fighting that, I decided to accept the pain and to sit with it when it envelopes me. At the same time though I stay in the moment and feel the air around, notice the plants and the sky or truly listen to some music. In this way the sadness becomes a part of the larger patchwork of life and is not so all consuming.

This would not be possible without all those who walk alongside me and literally or figuratively hold my hand, walk on the beach with me, watch a beautiful sunset or walk the dog with me.

I am more connected to people than I have ever been. And although I still struggle to meet new people I just accept that it is difficult and let them know that. It’s ok to find things hard and it’s ok to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

When I think someone has misunderstood me, my radical acceptance helps me to see this as a neutral event and to offer up a clarification of what I mean. I have been surprised a number of times by it being me who is doing the misunderstanding and not my communication partner.

For me radical acceptance does not mean everything in life is suddenly awesome. What it means is that I am more relaxed and able to sit with myself when life is difficult. And because I accept that life is difficult at that moment it also enables me to accept that life is good at other moments. That Jane is gone and nothing will bring her back, not her final tax bill, nor the need to give the phone company back her leased phone. Both of these caused distress. But that distress did not destroy me, it just gave me panda eyes from lack of sleep. But that’s ok. When I get tired enough, I will sleep, eventually. And in the meantime, that lack of sleep may be uncomfortable but it isn’t the end of the world.

I catastrophise less when I truly accept that it is what it is. I hope that if things are difficult for you at the moment, that you can find the truth that everything in life is temporary and that you can truly accept this. And in that acceptance find some solace and some peace.

Thanks you to all those who love me and/or care about me. You make this journey so much easier. Be kind people, it truly makes a positive difference.

Photo is from a beach I was at last weekend.