The Duchess Digest: “Please Sir, May I Have Some More?”

I’ve always struggled with being fully present in life. This is where I’ve had the most benefit alternating with the most difficulty in practicing acceptance. I accept that I  Fish for Dinner will never be so enlightened that I can be present all the time.

A major block to presence is the idea (as Eckhart Tolle has presented) that we must align with “the now” and say yes to what is in the moment. This is where a lot of inner struggle has taken place for me. I either accept a situation, person, etc. then end up feeling a bit like a martyr or I don’t accept situations or people and then end up feeling like a judgmental jerk. Sometimes I accept what is, but often I find myself in one of the above two states. Resentment and guilt are definitely not the way to presence, much less any kind of enlightenment.

What’s a girl to do?

Then this past week I read a very short one page transcript of Tolle’s CD “Transmuting Suffering Into Peace.” And for the first time I felt like I was able to understand a little bit of what being present is all about. He gives the example of being served bad fish at dinner. So saying yes to the now means that you accept that the fish you just paid a mint for is spoiled. There’s no argument. It has gone bad. Now all that saying yes to what is means is that you accept the fish is bad. It’s no personal affront to you. No forces are conspiring against you. It wasn’t meant to destroy the rest of your day. You’ve said yes internally and are not complaining about the situation. It just is.

Does that mean you eat the smelly rotten fish (and here’s where I would always get stuck with the whole acceptance thing)? No. You can say yes and accept internally what the reality is without externally accepting it as well. An internal yes does not have to mean external resignation. It also doesn’t mean you fly off the handle. You can now calmly and if necessary even firmly respond to the situation. But it will come from a grounded place, not an ego place. You can simply tell the waiter politely that the fish has gone bad and you’d like to be brought a new filet or something different. That’s it. You don’t have to eat bad fish. But you also don’t have to become enraged. When the ego responds to the situation it tends to throw a tantrum, “How dare you? This is horrid. How could you not notice this filet had turned! How could you do this to me! Do you know who I am?”

This is the first time I’ve read any delineating line between an ultra passive inner vision I’ve had of practicing acceptance as meaning never standing up. Wrong. It’s merely accepting the reality of the situation at hand and then taking action. So the action comes from a centered and calm internal space and not as a reaction formed out of our ego. You make decisions out of presence instead of out of reactions when you remove your ego from the situation.

—Jill Brown

Jill Brown - Duchess GuideJill Brown is a Los Angeles, California based Life Coach and Writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: