Radical Acceptance

Sometimes we humans have potentially difficult situations in our lives. It could be trying to cope with a severe health condition, to dealing with grief, or attempting to fathom our ever changing society. Do you live with radical acceptance? It is an intriguing concept. Here is what our son taught me through his having cancer.

Our son dealt with pancreatic cancer for nine years before his passing. Two of those years were undiagnosed, simply because the pancreas is hidden so deeply within our organs. It is a particularly difficult area to access. He accepted most of the conventional treatments offered to him. Our family also exposed ourselves to lots of reading and practices with complementary approaches to treating disease. I honestly do not know the specific influence which brought him to radical acceptance. If I had to guess, it could have been from reading Dr. Bernie Siegel’s work http://berniesiegelmd.com/. Perhaps it was a generality he himself formulated from the complex conglomeration of options before him.

Walk of Acceptance

Our family participated in many cancer walks. Our son’s longevity made him a role model to many. One time, it seems the focus was to have been put on our son. He flat out refused anything to do with this recognition. Do you know the reason? It was because of one of the themes of this organization. It was to “fight” one’s cancer. Our son felt that an attitude of acceptance was more beneficial. When one is in a fighting mode, one is on edge. A fight would release adrenaline and nonadrenaline into one’s system. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-fight-or-flight-response-2795194 The fight or flight response induced by these hormones is not conducive to good health. It exacerbates the condition. Our bodies actually need relaxation hormones in order to be healthy. https://www.healthline.com/health/happy-hormone Our son learned to practice radical acceptance to everything in his body as it was all a part of him – including the cancer.

Acceptance in Other Walks

With any potentially difficult situation, an attitude of radical acceptance can ease our burden. The process of allowing our bodies to produce feel good hormones, rather than those that put us on edge, permits our bodies to create a natural healing response. It could be helpful for any illness, for any challenging situation.

Look at grief. It is one of the most difficult emotions for humans to process. The potential directions grieving people have are many. Each person has specific ways that may bring more comfort. The secret is finding them. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm

What if we look at society now? We have so many factions fighting against one another. Some political parties, countries, religions, etc. are at odds. Each is treating the other as if they are a scourge or a plague on society. Dare I say, we are FIGHTING one another as a cancer? We do ourselves nor the “other side” any good by constantly fighting.

Cancer can be a teacher to invite one to examine one’s life and search for answers to improvement. Don’t ask why. Ask what one is to learn.

What if we pretended that all of society was as one body? Could we practice radical acceptance? Even scientific journals are now recognizing that quantum physics supports the concept of the oneness of all. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/what-would-happen-if-everyone-truly-believed-everything-is-one/ This article beautifully elaborates on what could happen if we acknowledged that we all are truly one!

The same is true of any illness, with grief. How could we compassionately befriend these situations?

This sense of one being with no separation is quite beautifully reflected in Rumi’s poem, The Guest House.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


My blog post, THINK LIKE WATER depicts a similar model of living. Here is another link on how the magic of music, as well as all the arts, can be key to initiate peacebuilding to positively affect societal relationships: ARTS AND SOCIETY – I.

Finally, let us consider this model of graciously accepting all. It is possible to welcome difficult situations, to peacefully accept what is in order to move forward. Just think what an amazing world we would have if we all practiced radical acceptance!

Published by Linda M. Wolfe

Midwestern mystic with varying amounts of mother, teacher, artist, seeker

4 thoughts on “Radical Acceptance

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insight. There are so many situations where this attitude can be helpful.

  2. FOR SURE!Fighting is so futile.
    There is an old drunk living in apt.above me who manages to drag all 29of we tenets into his misery.

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