HJ: If the only spiritual principle you mastered in this lifetime was acceptance, you could consider this a life well lived. To put it quite simply, acceptance, in a sense, is one of the principle keys to enlightenment. And the beauty of it is that the more steadfastly you practice it, the better your life gets (in realtime).
Acceptance: The Aboriginal Path to Healing
By Robbie Holz | Holz Wellness
I sat in the firelight of three huge bonfires and watched the Aboriginal women dancing to the sound of their clacking sticks and chanting. I had been honored with an invitation to participate in ceremonies with Aboriginal women in the Australian Outback near Uluru . . . and the desert had been tormenting me for days.
During the day, I sweltered in the heat and at night I froze in my sleeping bag on the bare ground. The insects swarmed us in waves, a different species for every time of day. The firewood was baked so dry, it injected my bare hands with splinters at the merest brush. Without showers, my skin and hair were crusted with the fine red dust of the desert. I had to ration my lip balm.
Yet these Aboriginal women live in this desert, preserving their 60,000-year-old healing tradition in intentional isolation. In my experience they are filled with gratitude and joy, always laughing, always kind. How can they find happiness in such harsh conditions?
One essential ingredient is acceptance.
Acceptance is an integral step in the Aboriginal path to healing.
But if we are battling an illness, how can acceptance be a part of the healing? Aren’t we supposed to fight that illness with all our strength? The Aborigines believe that fighting anything—even our unwanted illnesses—uses precious energy that can be better directed toward healing, and that to stop fighting and start healing, we have to accept ourselves exactly as we are, illness and all.
Opening to the Purpose
I was originally introduced to Aboriginal healing techniques by my husband, Dr. Gary Holz. He worked with an Aboriginal healer who we’ll call Rose. She explained to Gary that no experience is accidental. It all has a purpose.
Gary discovered that an illness is like a light on your car’s dashboard. When an indicator light comes on, you don’t smash the light. You don’t tear it out and throw it away. You know it’s there to tell you something needs attention. That is how the Aborigines see a disease; it’s there to alert you to an important opportunity.
What kind of an opportunity could a debilitating disease be offering me? That’s the question, isn’t it? And only you can answer it.
An illness can help us become more compassionate, or show us what is really important in our life, or once we heal, inspire others to heal by our example. There are as many purposes to an illness as there are people. But the Aborigines will tell you that no experience is ever wasted. It is there to be experienced fully and then released with gratitude.
Accept and Release
One day Rose picked up a piece of paper. “If there is something on this paper intended for the garbage," she said, “I can’t put it in the rubbish bin until I pick it up." She gazed at the paper for a moment and then threw it away. “Only when we have accepted something are we able to toss it away."
Letting go. That is what follows on the heels of acceptance.
For the Aboriginal healers, acceptance means saying, “Okay, this is where I am. This is what is real for me. There may be some lesson for me in this or there may be some other purpose, and I am open to knowing what that is. Whatever it is—whether I get to know the reason or not—I accept it.”
In my experience with healing myself, and working with many others, when we truly accept ourselves and our circumstances, there is an immediate release. We are ready to move on.
Sometimes acceptance involves looking at the hidden roots of the disease. It may involve accepting that we need forgiveness, or to face an addiction, to change something about our personality or to change our lifestyle. Or it might involve accepting ourselves for how wonderful we really are!
Getting to Acceptance
Here is an exercise that might help you on your path to acceptance. When you are in discomfort or pain, try this 5-step process:
- Close your eyes, notice exactly how it feels, in all its detail. If you have a headache, is it behind your eye? Across your forehead?
- Say to your body: “Thank you. Thank you for letting me know that something is wrong. I’m open to whatever you are trying to tell me.”
- Take a deep breath and exhale. Listen for a moment to your body. What is it trying to say? Do some words or images come into your mind? If not, don’t worry; just move on to the next step.
- Release that particular pain. Intentionally, let it go.
- Go back to step 1 and repeat the exercise: Notice. Thank your body. Listen. Release. Repeat this sequence several times.
Did you find that the pain moved around?
Did you get any information about your disease?
Did your body make any requests of you? Perhaps it wants a certain food, more sleep, a massage or a certain supplement.
Maybe it just has a complaint: “This is too much. I can’t handle this stress.”
Just listen. You don’t have to fix it or decide about making changes. Just thank your body for the message.
During my time practicing ceremony with Aboriginal women, if I had fought the desert—fought the heat, the insects, the red dust—I would have missed the beauty of the desert and the beauty of the connection the Aborigines have to it. Instead I accepted my physical state and let it go. During one of the ceremonies, I experienced a oneness with the desert surroundings, and a love emanating from Mother Earth that was greater than any I had ever felt. There in the desert with deep spiritual work being done, my physical comfort became irrelevant. I was ready to expand my heart.
Robbie Holz is an international speaker, holistic consultant and award-winning author of the memoirs, Secrets of Aboriginal Healing and Aboriginal Secrets of Awakening. She healed herself of Hepatitis C and fibromyalgia. Visit www.holzwellness.com to access her popular online self-healing course, arrange a speaking engagement, request one-on-one counseling, and more tips for body/mind/spirit wellness.