I think the issue is that to have acceptance, you have to let go of future expectations and even the past that led to the present. That is what being in the NOW is. Present moment only. All things that led to it don't exist and all things that extend from it are irrelevant.
Now, I'm sure there will be a lot of debate among those points but to be fully present in this moment you cannot dwell on the past or concern yourself with the future. It is about the quality of your life right now. And here is the interesting thing. Right now is all you really have. Right now is where your actual suffering is. It is not the suffering of the past that makes WD and recovery difficult. It is getting through this moment. It is not the future because you don't know what it is and actually then the future is what you fear.
So you have now brought an unknown variable of what COULD happen into the scenario and it is most likely a fearful one since what I'm reading here in this thread seems to have an awful lot of fear about the future. Now, you are presuming the worst. You've got the worst bouncing around in your thoughts. You've had difficult times and so the past is now triggering you to fear the future. But that is wholly illogical. The past, at this moment, exists in your mind. It's not tangible. You cannot change it. You can not do anything about it. It is what it is and so the only alternative to keep you from more suffering is to let go of it. Challenging, yes, but if you do not, clinging to the past is going to keep triggering issues in the present. Do you understand what I mean by that?
Especially emotionally charged things like how you ended up here in this situation. For me, I've let the past go entirely since I cannot change the past. I could be angry, but the thing is that I don't know how I could change it. I've seen a lot of people in this forum expend a lot of energy on the past and how they got here. Anger is a primary component. Feeling like a victim is also a primary component. I was there to for a bit, but then I realized it was blocking me from acceptance because I cannot accept where I am if I am too busy being pissed and placing the blame on things and people from my past.
I am where I am. I cannot change that. So the best thing for me to do was to get busy with letting go of that, stop being angry and focus my attention. The easy way for me to do this was that I value myself and my recovery far more than I value being pissed at the doctors and big pharma. In fact, they messed up enough of my life. They deserve no more of it.
So I took it back and just decided to let go of it and accept the past as just something that was painful and led me to where I am or was since I have improved since I did this, and then move forward from there by living in the present, not being fearful of the future, which again, because it is unknown it can serve as either a place of hope or a place of fear, but either way, it serves as a distraction that keeps you from the present and an utter waste of time dwelling on it.
Recovery exists in the present. You cannot recover in the past. You cannot control the future since you don't even know what it will be. It's only speculation and generally that speculation is based on a few things - paths you've seen other people take (which is insane to use as the basis of anything because everyone is different and therefore whatever you've seen take place for another is not true for you as you are unique and there are going to be enormous differences between you and that or those people) and the second is using your past as a guide.
But your past does not determine your future. It is irrelevant. Now I'm going to use a few examples to help with the future and past issues.
First, the past. I was raped decades ago. PTSD from it was horrible. I was a mess from it. Could barely function. Could barely sleep. Flashbacks galore. I ended up seeing a counselor for the whole summer during college to help me. Once a week I would sit there and we would discuss things. Improvement came somewhat. Not much. I was stuck on the rape. I was a victim and I feared the future because of it because my sense of safety, the inherent sense of safety that we all should have that we will not be brutalized in such a way, was gone. I could not function like that. I lived in terror. I carried the past with me. It was not until one day in my counselor's office when I had a moment of clarity and I realized that what was done was done. I had no control over it. It happened. I could not change that. Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen. Things that harm us in terrible ways happen. I have no control over all these things. I can do what I can to keep them from happening, but total control? No. So I could carry this with me and feel victimized and lose all sense of control and power to it or I could accept that it happened and let go of it. I choose acceptance in that moment. Amazingly, after that point, the PTSD essentially stopped. In fact, it was the last time I remember having any form of PTSD because I chose to no longer carry my past with me and let it define my every waking moment.
Regarding the cancer option that was presented by alex, here is an interesting way to look at it. If you discovered you had only that one month to live, how would you choose to live it? Would you want to be angry and upset or would you aim to make the best you could of all the days you had left? Each option will change your experience. You can either aim for peace and acceptance that you are going to die from that cancer and thereby free yourself to live in the present more fully and make the best of it or you can be stuck in anger and whatever else you would feel from that diagnosis but how would that change your daily existence for that month left to live? My guess is that it would pretty much suck. So you have a choice: accept what is and find peace in your last days and even some contentment or fight it with anger and waste them. This is often a turning point spiritually for many people when they choose acceptance as they free themselves from the past and then it all becomes easier and they become capable of peace. As for the future, what you experience now extends into the future in the same what that your past has extending into your present moment.
All that suffering has led you here, but now you have the option to let go of that past and begin new. Start where you are, which is here in this moment. Do you wish to be that person who carries the past suffering and anger and fear that will negatively impact your quality of life? Remember, you do wish to feel better today and in the future, do you not? So carrying those negative feelings then becomes illogical if you would like to diminish your suffering in the present and quite likely alter your future in a positive way. The choice is yours. Nobody is forcing you to do anything. However, remember that your present extends into your future. Your response, your choice in how you handle your present will affect how you feel now.
Acceptance will mitigate suffering. Mitigated suffering will then extend toward your future where you will remember those better days and less suffering giving you less to fear. People often don't think of that, but it is there. My PTSD is a perfect example. I accepted the past, what had happened, and was no longer a victim of it and recovered almost instantly.
This has led me to postulate that it is not what we 'do' physically that changes things as we are often led to believe, but it is what we do mentally and emotionally. Clinging to pain from the past or letting go of it. Accepting the present moment as it is or fighting it as if we have control over it and it must be as we want it to be because anything less is something to fear.
You can fear your future, but it is not helping you in the present. In fact, it is adding to your suffering and yet, it is generally speculation, even when you have facts about certain things like a disease and how it is expected to unfold. That keeps you stuck on worries of the future and not in the present moment where you do have control over whether you choose to accept what is right now or jump like a time traveler with an awful lot of baggage in the form of worries, anger and other unhelpful things from the future to the past and back and forth never really landing in the present long enough to just sit with what is and accept it.
There have been studies on monks who mediate daily. They don't spend time in the past or future. They live in the now. Things have been postulated about them. Things regarding healing and changes in their mind and how it works. Thing regarding brain plasticity and its ability to change and recover.
Every time you choose to live in the present and accept it as it is without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, you are helping yourself recover. You have a choice right now. You always have a choice. Every minute you have a choice. Do you choose to live in the present and accept it and release baggage of the past and fears of the future or not? You can choose to feel more at peace now and accept what is and begin to mitigate your present suffering or you can choose to not accept what is, but not accepting what is as it is seems a bit like choosing to suffer as most of us have been down this road already and know it has not changed things for the better. It has not helped a lot, has it? Progress has been minimal. Even halted.
Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Perhaps not accepting 'what is' is form of insanity since denying it or rejecting it seems totally illogical as it is how things are. It cannot be ignored or avoided into something different than what it is. It is as it is and therefore to not accept it is futile. Yet, once we accept what is we open ourselves to options that have previously not existed as those paths were blocked because we could not, would not accept life as it is.
Sorry that this is so incredibly long, but I had a great deal I wanted to share, all of it having to do with my experiences related to acceptance and accepting what is. It seemed relevant to not leave the important stuff out. I don't mean to offend anyone for being where you are with anger or lack of acceptance. I'm just sharing what I've learned through experience.
I was also in anger many times over my past and refusing to accept my present as I did not like it and also fearing my future. I very rarely do any of those things now. I live in acceptance as best as I can. I avoid thinking of the future as much as possible and I avoid pondering things in the past. To me, they are not relevant. Only my present moment exists as it is where I will either suffer or find peace, where I will become stagnant or where I will flourish. I choose to flourish and to find peace.
Edited by JanCarol, 14 December 2015 - 07:45 PM.
Paragraph breaks for ease of reading