Radical Acceptance

When I was 17 I found out I couldn’t have children.  I was born without a womb, a condition known as Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser (MRKH) that affects approximately 1 in 5000 women.

The way I am is not outwardly noticeable, and for years it felt like I harboured a dark secret.  I did not have the wisdom, courage or the ability to communicate effectively who I was and how I felt to others, perhaps I had not been shown how, perhaps it has been my biggest hurdle and in turn my greatest triumph.

Now I can talk about it freely and easily, in fact I feel blessed that I was born the way I was and I am able to share that part of myself with people, in such an open and objective way.  I no longer feel ashamed or less of a woman, but it has indeed taken some work to get here.  I would like to reach out to others who have gone through or are going through similar situations, especially teenage girls, who like me, may have suffered with an identity crisis or turned to toxic substances or relationships to numb the pain.  Talking honestly helps to release pent up emotional trauma and together we can help reprogram ourselves with positive mindsets, deleting the self judgement that so often comes from an “I’m not enough” reoccurring thought pattern.  Yet this is not just for women with MRKH, I believe this to be universal.

For many of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesn’t take much--just hearing of someone else’s accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work--to make us feel that we are not okay. Beginning to understand how our lives have become ensnared in this trance of unworthiness is our first step toward reconnecting with who we really are and what it means to live fully. 
--from Radical Acceptance

Surfing has been the ultimate therapy for me, healing deep wounds and restoring my self esteem.  I started when I was 21, fresh out of Uni when I felt lost and free at the same time.  

It was so refreshing to be engulfed in something that was bigger than me and completely out of my control.  I felt so small and insignificant, yet with every paddle stroke, every wipeout and every wave I felt stronger, more alive.  Tumultuous emotions would be released as I got washed around by Mother Ocean, often I would find myself crying, sometimes in sadness, sometimes with pure joy.

Like life, in surfing it is possible to get caught up in analysing the why, the what ifs and the if onlys.  And in terms of radical acceptance this is a waste of energy.  We get what we’re given.  Some days are big, some windy, some small and once in a while… absolutely perfect. 

But what is perfection? Just an image really, an expectation of how things should be.  That can be so damaging in itself.  

I have since read Byron Katie’s Loving What Is, which is a lesson in accepting and loving whatever arises… because feeling any other way, is quite simply, madness.

So really, the best thing to do is to accept what the ocean has to offer, accept it with graciousness and make the most of your short, sweet time together where maybe you learn something on the way, maybe you just simply survive or maybe you feel so full of joy your heart will burst.  Of course, we’re always aiming for the latter, us humans are so addicted to that feeling of ecstasy, yet unfortunately craving only leads to more suffering, according to Buddhist teachings.

Through learning about radical acceptance, I realise the process I went through to deal with MRKH was exactly that.  Little did I know that at the time, as this was before EFT, yoga, meditation, healing therapies and self help books were anywhere near my consciousness.  I look back on my 17 year old self with love and pride that I had I light in me that I followed.  Years later it took me to the ocean.  Others have not had such easy journeys.

As I write this in the South of France, I am once again learning to let go and accept things.  The waves here are what my nightmares are made of - barreling, back breaking shorebreaks and shifting sandbars… which is one of the reasons I wanted to spend my summer here.  Exposing myself to Mother Natures cycles and facing my fears head on is the only way to get a grasp on them.  My physical limitations are nothing compared to how my mind holds me back, but step one is attending to those fearful thoughts with curiosity and compassion, maybe even with a giggle about how much of a wuss I am.

And as I approach the age where becoming a Mother is increasingly on my mind, I am starting to take the necessary steps to find out what my options are…womb transplant, surrogacy, adoption?  I am looking forward to visiting the MRKH department at the Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital in London for more information and guidance in that area.

Again, the path of Radical Acceptance is the only one to take, if it happens it happens, if not, life and indeed Mother Nature has other adventures in store for me, which I can only hope to greet with grace and gratitude.

We all have memories and emotions stored deep in us, only when we are ready for them to surface can we choose to embrace the healing that comes with radical acceptance.  The summer solstice, the day with the most light, encouraged me to illuminate what I have learnt and share it, so perhaps others know they are not alone, and even when the road seems filled with shadows, radical acceptance is a path we can always take.

Photo by Adan De Miguel