Radical Self-Acceptance, Boldly & Beautifully Embodied in 15 Minutes. {Stunning Video}

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“Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance.

If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness.”

~ Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Sometimes, I hate myself.

Sometimes, I hate my husband. Sometimes, I hate my daughter. Sometimes, I hate my mother. Or, perhaps better said—sometimes I get so frustrated/irritated/angry/upset and judgmental with myself and/or others that a strong feeling of aversion, disgust, dislike or even “hate” arises in my mind.

I am in my mid-thirties, a yogini, a teacher, a supposedly mindful meditator, a peacemaker… And yet this despicable phenomenon still occurs.

It happens less and less, the more mindful and aware and compassionate I am, but it still happens.

This self-denigrating cycle is more frequent and vicious for adolescents and teens.

Especially those in oppressed minority groups. Because when we are are young and inexperienced, we don’t realize that things will change, that we can love ourselves—our minds and hearts and bodies—just as we are in this moment. That we are already, always, enough. That “it gets better.”

Eri Hayward was born as a Japanese-American boy named Eddie and raised in a conservative Mormon community in Utah, attending the Church of Latter-Day Saints and a Mormon private school. From a young age, he knew he wanted to be a girl. Or, perhaps better stated, she knew she was really meant to be a woman.

Because of her family’s chosen religion and lifestyle, Eri was sheltered from the existence of homosexuality throughout childhood and unaware that she is actually transgender until reaching young adulthood. Documentary filmmaker Torben Bernhard met Eri and her family and filmed this footage and these candid interviews with her and her parents a few days before she traveled to Thailand for sexual reassignment surgery.

Watch, enjoy and be moved.

“The intimacy that arises in listening and speaking truth is only possible if we can open to the vulnerability of our own hearts. Breathing in, contacting the life that is right here, is our first step. Once we have held ourselves with kindness, we can touch others in a vital and healing way.”

~ Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Vimeo Video Screenshots

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Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a heart-centered writer, teacher and creator of Yoga Freedom.

She has been a columnist on Elephant Journal since 2010 and has self-published inspiring books. She incorporates dharma, hatha, yin, mindfulness, chakras, chanting and pranayama into her teachings and practice. A former advertising copywriter and elementary school teacher, she is now a freelance writer and translator. Michelle learned yoga from a book at age 12 and started teaching at 22. She met the Buddha in California at 23 and has been a student of the dharma ever since. Michelle is now approaching her forties with grace and gratitude.

Join Michelle for a writing and yoga retreat this summer at magical Lake Atitlan in the western highlands of Guatemala! https://yogafreedom.org/group-retreats/