Rose Hips & Radical Acceptance

In order for rose hips to develop, one must leave her roses on the bush and avoid the temptation to cut them off mid-summer. She must be willing accept that they will go through a phase of crinkling brown. She must teach herself to love this uncomfortable season of transformation as much as she loved the promise of new buds and soft pink petals in summer.

In order for us to grow, in order for relationships to flourish, in order for a nation to heal, in order to create the peace we envision, we must be willing to accept that after each season of blossoming will come a change. And chances are the change will seem rather unattractive on the surface.

But if we are wise and if we are brave, we will not resist it. We will remember that struggling--mentally, physically, emotionally--to get back to where we were before is a sure sign that we are mired in the muck of an illusion.

If you chop off the blooms when they wither in order to preserve the rosebush as only-ever-flowering, you will never receive the fruit of its love. You will miss the nourishment of the rose hip.

Did you know fresh rose hips contain more Vitamin C than citrus fruit? Did you know their oils can reduce scars and regenerate skin? They are the seemingly ugly gift that winds up healing in ways a flower never could.

The phrase "radical acceptance" came pouring onto my journal page this month. I was processing a relationship with someone I love. I had been holding on so tightly to my vision of who I believed us both to be. Then a startling event unfolded that shook my perception. It revealed things I had been trying not to see. I saw a side of this person that surprised me, and I saw a side of myself that I do not like to look at very much.

Like an ostrich who finally lifts her head out of the sand, I felt stunned. Blinking metaphorical dirt from my eyes and squinting in the bright sunlight of reality, I eventually came to realize I have a choice: Place my head back underground and try to live in an old illusion, or radically accept what is here, what is real, what is true, and love anyway.

Choosing the latter takes courage. 

Here is one thing I know: Some kind of mysterious alchemy occurs when we accept and love a person for exactly who they are. When we can let go of old illusions and be willing see one another clearly, that is when love can deepen. That is the moment it can become true. And if we are lucky enough to have a long life, and if we are brave enough to face changes as they appear, it will happen again and again and again. Radical acceptance is essential.

This morning I stopped to gather some rose hips from the bush outside my window. I thought, how beautiful these are. How weathered, how honest, how nourishing, how true. How fortunate that I did not lop off the blooms the moment they turned brown. How fortunate we did not end the relationship the moment the illusion was up.

I am wishing you so much softness and gentleness as you move through transition this autumn. Everyone I know is facing change. Some we have initiated, some has been rather rudely thrust upon us. But wherever change comes from and in whatever form it appears, we do have a choice. It is the choice of the ostrich--comfortable illusion or radical acceptance?

Remember the rose hips. Remember you are so brave.

xo laura

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