01/15/2015 10:31 am ET Updated Mar 17, 2015

The Problem and Beauty of Accepting

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There are moments in our lives when it feels like alarms are going off in our heads. Danger! Too much to deal with! Checking out! When something is very difficult in my life, be it the stress of parenting, being on bed rest or just feeling overwhelmed by life in general, and all that entails-- add on the screaming of children, grumpiness of various people in the household-- it can all seem like too much. "I can't do this today," I might think. "Not today."

Alarms are good because they alert us of danger. Sensitive people especially have an issue with this fight or flight mode because in times of stress we put up all our defenses. But there is a way to lessen the misery, the constant negativity that might start playing on repeat in your mind. Accept -- not just say that reality sucks at the moment -- but radically, mindfully and fully accept what is going on. Acceptance does not mean that you give in to negativity. It is a way to say to yourself, "This is the situation, this is how I feel, an alarm is going off inside my head and that is just what is happening. It's going to pass." It is really hard, and you have to do this every time you feel in danger, but it works. Accept that the children are sick or grumpy or won't go to sleep when all you want to do is be in peace and quite. Accept that sometimes modern life is extremely lonely, and that attempts to connect often seem futile or are disappointments.

Because if you accept what seems negative in your life, you can allow your mind to also make room for that which brings you joy: the laughter of your children, your family and friends that offer connection when they can, small moments of pleasure such as a warm bath or getting lost in a hobby or activity like playing guitar or knitting. Meaning is made out of BOTH this hurt and this joy. Just accept that life is very, very painful sometimes, but equally full of tremendous beauty.

I want to say that bed rest, which I've been on for six weeks, is easy and gives me time to write, knit and watch television in peace, but in reality, it is very difficult for a high-strung person who is always on the go. Acceptance immobility, passivity and isolation can be excruciating sometimes. Loneliness can occupy that whole room, it seems. But doesn't everyone feel this way sometimes, in the daily tread of our lives? How often do we truly connect to each other, in the way that we want? It happens, and those moments are precious.

If you're having a hard time, and the alarms are starting to go off in your head, just stop for minute. Observe and accept this moment. There will be another moment to replace it, and another. And every one has new possibilities to be something different, if you just open up space to live.