My Dog Ate My Cash! or How Acceptance Saved Bernadette

Bernadette w mutila#38C7DEBWhen stuff that disturbs me arises in my meditation practice, it’s easy now to observe it without judgment. In fact, as my practice deepens, I have developed compassion by meeting those painful or intense experiences that arise with loving-kindness. God and Love are synonymous- in meditation; I meet arising disturbing feelings or thoughts with God, with love.

Every summer I have to comply with fire department regulations to get all the weeds and brush cleared off my property. This is a big job as I have two and half acres that have to be cleared.

Several summers ago, I had gone to the bank and pulled all the cash I needed to pay the day laborers the next day. I put the cash in an envelope. The next morning as I’m getting ready to leave to pick up the workers, I found the envelope on my living room floor, with all the cash half eaten.

Yes, my dog ate my cash!

I was looking at hundreds of dollars of half-eaten cash. I admit:  My first reaction was to gut little Bernadette. In the space of fifteen minutes, I did have feelings of anger. I did experience blame.

The good news is that I only stayed in it for only about fifteen minutes. And I thank my spiritual practice for giving me the muscle to stop and take a deep breath and just experience or witness what was happening without judgment- a pile of half-eaten cash.

I accepted What Is. {Keep breathing.}

This is different than acceptance as resignation, which is what acceptance used to be for me: I tried to like what was happening or resign to it, or search for the meaning or the lesson in it, or figure out what’s wrong with me for not wanting to accept it, or agree there’s nothing I can do about it.

Ernest Holmes reminds us: “A perfect acceptance is when the mind is most completely in tune with the Infinite, without argument or mental controversy.”

From the Big Book’s Acceptance was the Answer chapter:
“Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact in my life- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the away it is supposed to be at this moment.”

Tara Brach in her book Radical Acceptance says:
“Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what we are feeling in the present moment and regarding that experience with compassion.“

Now I had time to make an ‘inner’ choice. How could I accept this situation with love? From this place of compassion, I could then decide what action I needed to take in response.

So instead of gutting my dog, I took a deep breath, sat down at my computer, Googled “mutilated money” and found out there’s a whole procedure that the government has for just these situations.

And I also learned that our government has a sense of humor- did you know that the website address that prints all of United States of America money – the Bureau of Engraving and Printing – is Now that factoid is almost worth the all the half-eaten cash.

When we learn to meet whatever arises in our body, heart and mind with radical acceptance, we discover a precious freedom.  We come to trust the love that is our true essence. I invite all of us to take this practice of radical acceptance into our daily lives and love ourselves!

Do you want to hear more? Reverend Jessica is just one of the ministers who presides at the Center for Spiritual Living in Granada Hills. Come and join us for a Sunday or Wednesday service to hear more!

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