January 4, 2015

Accepting the Good.

Leland Franciso/Flickr

Hold out your hand to me—I have a gift for you.

These words—I will trace them on your palm, then close it tight so that you keep them close. Three words to be exact:

Accept. The. Good. 

I wish I could draw a map depicting how exactly to avoid the pathways of my past errors, my mistakes.“Take a left here, and a right here…see those woods? Go well around them” I would say, outlining with my fingertips the directions on the paper, creased and well worn.

We would steer clear of broken fences, deep dark lakes of heartache, and impenetrable forests.

Perhaps it is too late for that. Maybe you have already slipped into dark places, tiptoed around the corners you should have avoided, Then—I wish that the right words would pour out of me to heal your ailments, fix your anxieties, keep you from the pain.

I wish that I could save us all.

I wish that I could pinpoint that moment when the scales tipped, when one wrong move became another and another, when sorrow became depression, worry became out-of-control anxiety, self-medication became drunk.

Whomever we are, whatever our path, I do know this: our journeys are unique. Our monsters a different species, perhaps, our worries of a different form.

Instead—I will share what I know, what works for me now, and hope that something in the dance of those words hits home in the heart that is searching for it. Today, that is my three words of freedom. Call it an intention, call it a mantra, a creed.

Years ago, while I was still taking many, many wrong turns in my maze of misfortune, my personal pit of despair, I watched a movie that would stay with me, creep up in the corners of my mind when I least expected it. David Duchovny, Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro star in “Things We Lost in the Fire” a movie about love, loss, addiction, and healing, amongst other things.

Early in the movie, David Duchovny’s character is lamenting the fact that his wife is so beautiful, she must be cheating on him—and Benicio Del Toro, his best friend and a struggling heroin junkie, reiterates “accept the good.”

When something is good, wonderful, okay, even—accept it. Don’t question it or throw it back—regard it incredulously.

This phrase has cropped up again and again in my life. As a recovering addict, I am used to chaos, misfortune, to causing it myself.

When something good comes along, my reaction is normally to sabotage it, ignore it, turn it away. I know I’m not alone in this. This is not singular to addiction.

Many of us have a tendency to doubt a gift that is handed to us with no strings attached.

Since I cannot guide anyone else’s path, since none of us have an idea of what the next corner will reveal, at least I can share my plan of attack as I enter this new year: accept the good. Any good. All good.

If someone loves me, with all my flaws and scars and imperfections – accept it. Embrace it. Revel in it.

An unexpected smile from a stranger?

A beautiful day when I  was prepared for rain?

A whole month of things working in my favour?

I will open my arms wide and take it in. Fill myself up with the loveliness of it. Breathe it in and breathe it out.


Accept the good.


Accept the good.



Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!


Author: Keeley Milne

Editor: Renee Picard 

Photo: Leland Franciso/Flickr 

Read 4 Comments and Reply

Read 4 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Keeley Milne  |  Contribution: 10,445