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April: A Month of Acceptance    

April: A Month of Acceptance

Artwork By Lauren Platzker

BY MEADOWLARK MONAGHAN & MASON SPECTOR

FOREWORD: While this conversation on this month's theme "Acceptance" was evidently decided upon before the COVID-19 Global Pandemic... it holds true now more than ever. Our global understanding of slowing down and accepting where we are is a lesson we have all been forced to confront, whether or not we were ready for it. In this regard, we feel it's a more opportune time than ever to practice self acceptance, acceptance for where we are right now, and how to move through each present moment with grounded-ness.

MEADOW: You know what day it is! New month, new word my guy!

MASON: I guess it is that time again. Since I chose the word for the last two months, why dont you pick what we are going to talk about in April. 

MEADOW: Hmm.. well I have had a topic on my mind recently so in the name of alliteration, I name aprils word “acceptance.” For me, this has been coming up a lot bc I’ve been trying to accept where I am in the present - so not get sucked into daydreaming or planning, but truly being present with where I am not, and how to make the best of this moment only. What do you think?

MASON: I think thats such an important word and very timely after love and happiness. Only through acceptance are we able to both love ourselves and be happy with things that might be going on in our lives. I think about a J. Cole song that is one of my favorites called Love Yourz, do you know it?

MEADOW: Ohh I love him but I don’t remember that one, how does it go? 

MASON: It's basically about accepting the reality of our situations and understanding that we will drive ourselves crazy thinking about all the situations that could be perceived as better than ours. The message of the song is that there is no such thing as a life that's better than yours. 

MEADOW: It’s hella true though - the grass is always greener. Or even, if we achieve what our goals were it’s not like we necessarily think our work here is done, the bar just gets moved higher. There’s always more we’ll want to obtain so there is such power in accepting where you are at right now. Do you think you’re pretty good at staying present? Or maybe, what helps you accept whatever state/place/mindset you are in? 

MASON: It's all about being grounded. There are so many different grounding techniques out there to just get us back in touch with reality. Something as simple as wiggling your toes or naming five things that you see in the room around you. I am getting better at it but it's definitely something that I still struggle with. How are you in terms of your level of self acceptance and accepting the reality of where you are in life right now?

MEADOW: Ohh yeah I love that one where you name 5 things you see, 4 things you touch that one, so on. Hmm I think i’m pretty good with self acceptance - I like who I am and I don’t really get hung up on others acceptance of me or not, I got that one from my mom. The harder side of that for me is definitely accepting reality of my now - I’m a dreamer for sure so sometimes being here now is harder for me. Daily meditation definitely helps me the most with it, and also being off my phone! When i’m not on my phone I feel so much more tuned into whats going on around me and not being preoccupied with what “could be.” What other ways do you see acceptance coming into play when it comes to our mental health? 

MASON: Well as we both know the first step in recovery is acceptance. We have to accept that we have something going on that needs to be dealt with. Until we realize that there is sadly nothing that can help us. It doesn't matter whether you have all the money in the world or the best doctors at your service. Until you accept that you have something going on and are open, honest and willing to work with someone on it, you can't make any progress. I think that is where the relationship between mental health and acceptance begins. What do you think?

MEADOW: Couldn't have said it better - you’re absolutely right. It’s interesting too bc I see two sides of this. On the one hand, it’s f**ing hard to accept that you need help and then to ask others for that help. But on the other hand, you can also make it a self-empowerment move! Successful people don’t try to do everything all on their own - they know how to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and then bring in others to help - so I think if we approach our mental state with that same perspective, it can be so liberating to bring in outside help when we’re feeling stuck. 

MASON: Yes!! I always say one of the most important things is to have the ability to ask for help, especially when it comes to our mental health and acceptance. We don't have to have all the answers. We don't have to be able to do everything ourselves. I'm starting to think about a bigger societal thing of how for some reason asking for help is looked at as a sign of weakness or inferiority. I hate that! 

MEADOW: Ik!!! It doesn’t make sense to me either, I wonder culturally where we grabbed on to that idea bc it really couldn’t be more off. Ohh you know the other way acceptance comes up in mental health in my mind? Accepting our past: the good, the bad, the trauma, the defining moments. There’s a fine line between accepting your past to make you who you are today without letting it “define” your behaviors or characteristics. You know what I mean?

MASON: 100% We are not defined by our past, and acceptance is a big part in that. I'm sure we both have tons of examples of things that have happened in the past and getting caught up in letting that define us. We are not our trauma. And for me, it's those traumas that have allowed me to grow and learn and accept who I really am in all of it. I also think about accepting responsibility and taking accountability for my role in some of those traumatic situations. We all make mistakes. We are all both good and bad. It's when we get to a level of accepting it all that we can be more at peace with everything. 

MEADOW: That is some REAL self awareness right there, seriously. I really admire that perspective bc that’s hard to own up to but true that, when you do, it can be freeing. Well with that, I would say we’ve got a pretty good grip of the kind of acceptance we’ll be exploring this month! Any final thoughts? 

MASON: I think we covered a lot, I don't want to give too much away. Thanks for always listening to me and being there to talk about this stuff. It's so nice to have this open and honest line of communication. Excited for this month! 

MEADOW: Right back at you Mason! I love being able to chat about all these topics together and appreciate your perspective. Let’s get it!!