In life, there are many things we cannot change or over which we have no influence or control. It is, therefore, essential that we learn to accept these things if we are to find peace and happiness. To resist acceptance is to invite frustration, anger, grief, and depression.
According to Native American inter-tribal tradition, smudging (cleansing with smoke) with sage, cedar, lavender, and sweetgrass or any or the above alone or in combination, can help us to relax and focus. This begins our journey within where we can communicate with the inner personas, the children, adults, and elders, to find balance and acceptance of ourselves and others. We each have a male and female adult, children and elders who have specific purposes in our life. Our happiness is found when we communicate with them regularly and meet their needs.
This is how we show ourselves the unconditional, parental love we have always deserved but never knew how to give ourselves. This is how we communicate with the Great Spirit in a meaningful dialogue. The children and adults are too preoccupied with our physical reality to be able to understand what the Great Spirit is trying to tell us, but our inner elders have this ability.
If we do not practice acceptance, we become bitter. We can find ourselves blaming others for our circumstances and living in the past. If we are able to find acceptance, we are better able to move on in our evolutionary process.
The first step is to avoid expectations. Expectations are the seeds of disappointment. Naturally, we have a right to expect things that have been promised to us, but even then we would be wise to keep in mind that human beings are fallible. Mistakes and accidents happen and the best-laid plans often go awry. This leads us to our second step.
No one is perfect. The Native Americans believe that the only one who is perfect is the Creator. Therefore, we should not expect to be perfect until we are ready to meet our Creator. One small mistake is purposely made in many works of art to show that the artist is not competing with the Creator. This makes it easier to accept our imperfections and those of others, especially when they are anticipated.
Now we get to the meat of the matter, what to do with that disappointment. Native American tradition says we have inner adults, children, and elders. Our first step is to identify who has been disappointed. Was it the children, adults or elders?
Did we not get the fun reward we were promised? If so, our inner children are the ones we need to reason with and a promise to give them the recreation they need and desire immediately is in order.
Are we faced with accepting something that will affect us physically? Have our plans been interrupted? Perhaps an opportunity will present itself that would not have if we had stayed on the path we had planned. It is also possible that our previous plans may have ended in a catastrophe that could not have been anticipated.
Are the elders disappointed? This is usually a result of our own actions. We may have to accept the consequences of something we have said or done and this can be the most difficult of all. We must use love, forgiveness, and understanding to accept that we have done the best we were capable of at the time. We should use this experience to learn and grow. We cannot change the past, but by implementing what we have learned from it, we can make our future brighter.