our multi-faceted lives

Bodhi sleeping
Bodhi sleeping

The other day I was having a conversation with a woman about “Acceptance of our lives (and our pasts) vs. using our minds and focused thought to create”. She was rather animated, almost upset, as she said, “Your approach sounds like denial to me. I don’t agree with trying to change our lives. I believe that we should accept all of our lives, past and present.”

And I belive that we should accept all of our lives too, but anytime we are upset about anything, we are, in that moment, not accepting it. We might be resigned, angry, agitated, disgusted, or in despair about it, but this is not the same as acceptance. True acceptance brings deep peace. True acceptance is filled with light and an understanding that often times cannot be put into words. True acceptance feels like Grace.

When we think of our pasts in only one way, it is like staring at only one facet of a infinitely-faceted gem, and usually that one facet doesn’t feel very good. We then call that one tiny facet “reality”. Total reality. It is not. Everything that has happened to us, or to anyone, is mult-faceted, but so often we don’t know how to approach it (the memory) in any other way than the one we have thought about, told as an unhappy story, tried to forget, or ignored.

When we use our focused thought to re-enter a situation (that we have, up until now, only seen as unhappy) and see it as we would have liked it to have been, we are not in denial, we are giving it a little room to breath, and I believe we are inviting the Presence of Grace to illuminate our minds and our inner sight; the part of us that knows all is now, and always has been, well. How do we know when we are there? We feel it, and it feels like Love, Grace, inner peace, the divine,


“‘By your words you are justified and by your words you are condemned.’ Every day, choose the right words: the right thoughts. The Imaging faculty is the creative faculty: ‘Out of the imaginations of the heart come the issues of life.'” from The Secret Door of Success (1940) by Florence Scovel Shinn

17 thoughts on “our multi-faceted lives”

  1. Dear Mary, your post this morning brings up such an important realization . I have been having this same discussion with myself as of late: Is my reality (be it past, present, future) a fixed situation, one which I must strive to understand for what it is because it is unchangeable, or is it instead, all about how I view it, and therefore something that is not fixed, but very malleable and able to be transformed? Can I indeed reshape my reality just by how I perceive it? If so, I can create lasting peace, fulfillment and joy. “Inviting the Presence of Grace” as you so beautifully put it is ALWAYS an option, and the more I apply this, the more grace, love and rightness-with-my-world I am able to experience. Thank you for this powerful reminder today!

    1. I’ve been thinking about this so much lately…yesterday, after reading your comment, Debra, the thought that came to me was, “Not looking at my (unhappy) past in a new way is the true denial (denial that I am so much more than one snapshot of a memory).

  2. Another “wowser” of a post. And Debra – your comments just further that wow effect. Such important things to incorporate into our daily/hourly/etc. view(s).

    1. I would love it if I suddenly realized that everything truly was exactly as it was meant to be…I have this realization in flashes, I know it in my mind (and sometimes in my heart) but it is for me too an on-going awakening. Love to you today, Mary

  3. O Mary–Bodhi looks just like my Bella! I’ve been sitting here staring at this picture and so enjoying it. Thank you.
    I’ve recently become consciously aware of the difference between acceptance with resignation and the acceptance that “allows” for what is. Sometimes we start with the first and gradually live into the acceptance that allows–which can free us to recognize if we need to do something about what “is”. The Serenity Prayer is a wonderful guide in this process.

  4. “Inviting the Presence of Grace” – oh, how I love that. I wish I could remember where I read the following so I could give credit, – the writer said to imagine yourself driving in your car, – WHO do you allow to sit alongside you??? Is it Worry, is it Fear, or as Mary suggested today, why not invite Grace to be your front seat companion?

    I can definitely give credit to Thich Nhat Hanh for the following paragraph from Your True Home, the Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh and lovely coincidence, it just happened to be the morning reading for today.

    Look Deeply Into Your Perceptions

    In most cases, our perceptions are innacurate, and we suffer because we are too sure of them. Look at your perceptions and smile to them. Breathe, look deeply into their nature, and you will see that there are many errors in them. For example, that person you are thinking about has no desire to harm you, but you think that he does. It is important not to be a victim of your false perceptions. If you are a victim of your false perceptions, you will suffer a lot. You have to sit down and look at your perceptions very calmly. You have to look into the deepest part of their nature in order to detect what is false about them.

    The phrase “a blessing in disguise” came to mind just now. How often we do not realize until some time later that what seemed to be at one moment, transforms into something quite unlike its first impression. So hard to find the words to capture these feelings, isn’t it?

  5. Oh, I loved this writing & all the comments. I will turn 70 years old this summer, & it seems I have become more reflective about my life & maybe “looking at my perceptions” more. Tonight I will put this “Inviting the Presence of Grace” thought in my Journal & along with meditation moments, living in the moment & experiencing the now, I know I have a good life & I am on the right path! Thanks for your sharing & guidance. Mary Ann Cauthen

  6. I’m not sure that I’m ever able to get away from my own perceptions. What I do need to remind myself is that they are my perceptions and mine alone; that they are not necessarily the truth of any matter although if based on fact, they may be more perceptually correct. Others have their own perceptions and I try to respect this, step back and hear theirs as well. But the bottom line for me is that without my perceptions I would have nothing to base my thinking on. Seems a bit of a conundrum, doesn’t it.
    SandyP in canada

    1. You can always go back and imagine the scene from the past as you would have liked it to be, Sandy. It can feel like fiction (all the better!) and then you can play with it. …does this change the past? It can bring surprising openings.

      1. Mary can it be as simple as allowing the memories of the good times ( and there have been good times ) to predominate? I too find it an ongoing process to feel in my heart that all is truly well . But your insight is so revealing , that the state of Grace is the part of us that knows all is now, and always has been, well. And at those times it can holy , peaceful, fulfilled. So I will invite myself to go to that dimension every day!

      2. Mary, truthfully, what I’ve tried to do is to not live in anger with some memories but also quite as truthfully, some angry feelings seem to rear their ugly heads as though the memory happened only yesterday and always catches me by surprise. I say to myself: I thought you’d dealt with that….but I’m not sure I want to give those memories a different energy. They were what they were and are what they are…experiences that have taught me some valuable lessons in life and others that have taken me in directions I’d never have thought to go in. There are some days I function on a smooth plane and others, for whatever reason, the ride’s a bit bumpier…air turbulence I call it, in my head.. SandyP

  7. Mary, your post reminded me of something my mom would tell me. “Remember that there are at least 3 sides to every story, and they are all true depending on who are and how you look at it.” Looking back at some of the situation I have found myself in I can see this is very true. I always end those sessions of looking back with a quick breath prayer to allow me the grace to see the positive and learning that came from that time. Slowly, step by step, that happens as long as I don’t hold onto the negative.

  8. Mary,
    I’ve interpreted your approach as allowing me to change the cycle of feelings that I feel now when thinking about a past event that didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. Remembering it in the negative way can serve to reinforce a “there’s something wrong with me” feeling all these years later. If I think about it differently, I stop that cycle, which puts me in a better frame of mind for dealing with today. It also allows me to think of other possible interpretations of what actually happened back then, the “little room to breathe” you talked about.

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