Life Acceptance One: Pondering

Today I have something different for you; it is an exercise such as we might do at a retreat. It doesn’t take much time. If you’d like to join, here are the instructions. Feel free to amend them however you like.

  1. Pick one of the quotes below — something that sticks out to you.
  2. Ponder it. Just let it soak in for a while.
  3. Ask, what is it saying to you?  It is OK if there is a part of it that you don’t agree with.
  4. Ask, how is this connected with acceptance?
  5. Say the prayer at the end.
  6. Feel free to share if you like, in the comments, your thoughts and how it is connected with acceptance. I will be doing this with mine.


I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.    Jimmy Dean

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.   Joseph Campbell

There is no royal road to anything, one thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures.  Josiah Gilbert Holland

Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.
Deborah Reber, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

…to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
Ellen Bass

Change your thoughts and you change your world.    Norman Vincent Peale

I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.    C. JoyBell C.

You cannot be fair to others without first being fair to yourself.
Know that a well-honed sense of justice is a measure of personal experience, and all experience is a measure of self.
Know that the highest expression of justice is mercy.
Thus, as the supreme judge in your own court, you must have compassion for yourself. Otherwise, cede your gavel.
Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Having a religion doesn’t make a person love or not love others. It doesn’t make a person accept or not accept others. It doesn’t make a person befriend or not befriend others. Being without a religion doesn’t make somebody do or be any of that either. No, what makes somebody love, accept, and befriend their fellow man is letting go of a need to be better than others. Nothing else.  Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi


Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.



2 thoughts on “Life Acceptance One: Pondering”

  1. First of all, shame on you! You shouldn’t have listed so many amazing quotes and then forced me to choose JUST ONE! Haha, just kidding. I ended up picking a couple, but they all have the same theme. The one about changing your thoughts, the one about letting go of the life we had planned, and the one by St. Francis. For me, they speak to my ability to honor the life God has given me and honor the people God has put in my life without judgment or control, but they ALSO speak to accepting this world. The Serenity prayer reinforces that. Accepting this violent, frightening world. People think I am overly-anxious, I suppose, but I think other people are just UNDERLY (did I just create a new word??)-anxious to walk out their door every day without unimaginable fear of what might meet them. But God doesn’t want us to live with fear — accepting this world as it is and knowing there will be complete protection and peace in the next world is God’s promise of grace, if we really give all of ourselves and our lives to Him. It is just so hard to do, but your post is such a beautiful reminder.

  2. Don’t worry… I’ll break my own rules too. The First three plus “change your thoughts and you change your world” speak to me. Basically I have been realizing over a very long period of time that we can have inner peace no matter what is on the outside of us; just look at St. Maximilian Kolbe. If we change our thoughts, we change our inner world and we don’t have to have lives full of angst. About the others, I have noticed that I don’t always know where my life is going, but God always gives me the next step. I can trust that and rely on it and adjust to it. Life just goes better if I accept that.

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