Danielle GaudetteDanielle GaudetteDanielle GaudetteDanielle Gaudette


I was feeling inspired to write a post on acceptance, but unsure of where to begin, then a dear member of the Healing Tree community shared this poem in the Healing Tree: A Space for Self-Forgiveness and Self-Love Facebook group… 

by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it
was taught, and if not how shall I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

I loved this poem so much when I read it! To me, it speaks of complete acceptance, as Mary Oliver “gave up” worry “and took [her] old body and went out into the morning, and sang.” It is a beautiful example of one who chose to surrender to her body as it was, liberate herself from the heaviness of future worry, and ultimately enjoy the perfection of the present moment.
Following the poem, our community member asked, “How to give it up [worry] when it is a persistent habit?”
Good question!
I wish that I could say I have mastered the art of acceptance and liberated myself from all unnecessary worries, but that is not the case.  All I can do is continue to practice, and share some of what I have been discovering. So, here it is:
-True acceptance is powerful. I’m working on it more deeply these days. I’m practicing to surrender to this moment cas it is, to the best of my ability.
– Although habits feel really difficult to change, they actually just require more consistent practice, so, from that perspective, they become our best teachers.  They force us to become more conscious. 
– In my experience, when I “try” to let go, I hold on more.  It works better for me if I just “let it be.”
– Let what be?  My thoughts, my expectations, my ideas, my meanings, my judgements, my opinions, my beliefs, my information about whatever it is I am not accepting. I just need to let all that be, which means, to disengage from it.  The best analogy I have for this is: a pen is lying on my desk right now, but I don’t need to pick it up. The anxious worried thoughts are arising in my mind right now, but I don’t actually need to listen to them. (See: “Healing Tree” Red Boats)
– How to do that? Surrender to the present moment. How to do that? Feel my body, feel my soul, feel my breath breathing in my chest; feel the sun, feel the breeze, feel the empty space. Listen to the birds chirping outside my window. Feel gratitude in my heart for something small, something beautiful, something this moment offers me.  This spectacular moment has so much to offer. I believe that is what Mary Oliver realized when she went out into the morning to sing.
– Stop the fight. I have to make a conscious choice to give up fighting with and resisting fearful thoughts and anxious ideas of the future. I am giving meaning to something that may or may not be true. The future will come and who knows how it will be, and even if it’s the worst of the worst, who knows how I will actually feel when I get there? I may be surprised to find myself feeling very peaceful, and all the worry will have been for naught. I may feel the magnificence of this life and its transient nature. Who knows?  
– Relax my body as much as possible and relinquish my effort to control. In my personal experience I have discovered that worry is just a desire to control the uncontrollable, in order to feel safe.  However, the safest place in existence is right here and now, in this present moment with my sacred soul.
Ah, this was one of the hardest posts I have ever written!  It’s not easy to put the sense of true acceptance into words and, at the same time, I know it’s easier said than done. What I am certain of is if we seek to surrender we will find the way. Once we catch the sense of it, all we need to do is to keep finding it again and growing it bigger.
I will keep practicing myself and sharing to the best of my ability.  The process of awakening myself fulfills me, and sharing it with all of you brings me joy! 
Enjoy your practice!

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  1. Solène says:

    I clearly understand the difficulty to write and even think about acceptance. I often wonder if I deserve acceptance. But it’s a need for everyone. And it can be magical to let it go, to relax our body and let our mind travel in the space we are, without any judgement. Thank you for writting about it and share your thoughts. It brings a little peace in my journey to acceptance.

    1. Danielle says:

      Thank you for your sharing, Solene. I believe we all deserve to align ourselves with the natural rhythm of the cosmos. Because, we are Life. That is ultimately what complete acceptance and surrender means to me. I wish you the best on your journey!

  2. Vinson says:

    A great poem by Mary Oliver. Worrying is truly illogical. Problems worth attention can be solved fast, gradual, or not solved. Worry doesn’t solve anything. Not solved can change with study and perseverance and persistence. Acceptance is antimatter to the matter of worry. Great blog. PS where is the Facebook you mentioned. Is it same one where you announced sessions? Master Danielle thanks ichibonfan

    1. Danielle says:

      Thank you for your sharing, Vinson. Yes it’s the Facebook group – I believe you belong to it already 🙂

  3. Charlene says:

    I appreciate that your post on Acceptance was “one of the hardest posts” you have written. However to me it was one of the most extremely helpful you have written. Each sentence seemed to describe my own personal struggle and awakenings with worry and anxiety.  I even printed it up so I could read your discoveries as a daily reminder as they articulated so well my experience and growing edge around acceptance. 
    I find I must daily remind myself of this knowledge: that the tenacity of my fears and anxiety in no way whatsoever hinders my Soul from having unconditional love for me in the midst of my anxiety. There are times when I cannot feel my soul but just because I don’t always have a sense of it doesn’t mean that it isn’t as close as my breath. Sometimes I need to accept that feeling of emptiness and lack of Soul Presence as reflecting a point in time not a permanent reality or truth. So thankyou so much Danielle for writing such a hard post. It was a gift to me!

    1. Danielle says:

      I’m so glad that it resonated with you, Charlene! That is always my biggest hope ~ that in trying to articulate my own inner process, someone else will have the opportunity to have better understanding of their own process as well. Thank you for sharing 🙂 Sending love!

  4. Tina says:

    You’re so right, Danielle. Stopping fighting, breathing and relaxing are key to acceptance. “Trying” is like a car stuck in the mud spinning its wheels. The relief of letting go is a precious gift. One of my favorite songs is John Denver’s Sweet Surrender:
    Lost and alone on some forgotten highway, traveled by many, remembered by few. Looking for something that I can believe in. Looking for something that I’d like to do with my life. There’s nothing behind me and nothing that ties me to something that might have been true yesterday. Tomorrow is open and right now it seems to be more than enough to just be here today. And I don’t know what the future is holding in store. I don’t know where I’m going, I’m not sure where I’ve been. There’s a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me. My life is worth the living, I don’t need to see the end. Sweet, sweet surrender. Live, live without care. Like a fish in the water, like a bird in the air.
    Thank you for this beautiful post. I wish I could hug you in person right now ❤️

    1. Danielle says:

      Thank you, Tina! I love the lyrics you posted here 🙂 So perfect!

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