“Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.” - Eckhart Tolle
We live in a doing society. We’re all doing so much each day -- for ourselves and others -- and we tell ourselves we’re making great progress. Sometimes, we are improving, growing caretaking, and creating. Sometimes we are spinning our wheels trying to “fix” things that are simply not fixable and maybe not even broken.
Change and growth doesn’t always involve fixing things. There are things we must just let BE. Babies are a perfect example of this in action. A crying little one might need things fixed like a dirty diaper or an empty stomach. But all parents know that there are times in an infant’s life when they cry and there is nothing left to fix. You take to the internet. Maybe it’s colic, gas, sickness? Then you call the nurse hotline or your grandmother and they reveal that awful truth. “Sometimes, babies just cry.”
As babies become adults, we forget this wisdom. We’re always seeking the next thing to improve and fix; always seeking the next moment of revelation and progress.
Here are 3 things you cannot fix; three things that cannot be solved by doing.
The Past: While the past can inform the present, guide it and coexist with it in our minds, it cannot be altered. This can be infuriating because it has altered us. This might explain why we have trouble just sitting with what happened and letting it BE. Instead, we rehash and redo in our minds, we play the what if game or we tally our regrets. This unattributed quote says it best in its simplicity, “The past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased… it can only be accepted.” And we would add, forgiven.
Grief: Oh, how we all long to fix grief -- our own and the grief of others. So often this leads to insensitive statements about things being “meant to be” or “a gift in disguise.” We believed we can fix it if only we use grief to grow and change, manipulate it and move on. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of grieving. There’s no one way to do it and ultimately you sit within it; often without relief or purpose. As writer Tim Lawrence recently wrote in this poignant essay about grief, “Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”
Uncertainty: When bad things happen to good people, we blame them. It’s our default mode for self preservation and a way to avoid acknowledging our own vulnerability. The chaotic and random nature of our world is horrifying and we cope with this reality in many healthy and unhealthy ways. No matter how you choose to address the reality that “the only constant is change,” it’s best to admit that there is no fix. There’s no magic way to stay safe in an unpredictable word and there’s no trick to avoid vulnerability and maintain control.
So as you go forth into the whirlwind of modern living, self improvement and the pursuit of happiness, remember the things you cannot fix with doing. Remember to acknowledge what can only be accepted and carried.