Accepting Change and Loss

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I was sitting at PdM café with Brittney, a friend of mine, totally indulging in one of their coconut, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies (if you have not tried one, you need to), when Brittney just looked up at me and said “In this moment I am complete.”

The look on her face and the tone of her voice expressed how serious she was. I sat there thinking about what she had just said.

Life is good when you can share it with someone and really be present to the simple things in life. It is complete when you can appreciate “what is” in the moment and not be wanting for something different.

This is not always easy as our brain is trained to be thinking about what comes next, or worrying about what might happen or being distracted by other things going on. We have to train our brain to just relax and enjoy the present moment. When you can truly just be present to the moment, it is an exceptional experience that actually brings that experience of pure joy.

That is why when we are on vacation, we feel that sense of enjoyment because we are not being distracted by the daily life “must do’s.” If we can train our brains to spend 80% of its energy in the present moment, life has much more natural joy in it. The other 20% is split between the future, such as setting goals, and looking at where you are going in life, while the last 10% of your energy is about reflecting back on your past and learning from it.

Another key to creating this type of joy in the present is acceptance for what is rather than wishing it could be any different. What is challenging is to be able to do this even when things are not perfect. In other words, finding peace in an un-peaceful setting. It is the resistance that causes more the negative feelings than the experience itself.

This resistance is also what takes a lot of energy, but when we align with “what is,” it creates a sense of peace even when we would prefer the situation to be different. Accepting “what is” does not mean you have to like what you are doing, you just accept it.

I remember my resistance of going to the dentist and I would worry about it for a week before hand, wishing I did not have to go. On the day I would be so anxious I would spend my whole day stressing about it, missing out on all the good experiences that day was offering. When I decided not to this to myself anymore, and instead I focused on what the day had to offer and just relax into “what is,” my visit was never as difficult as I had previously experienced.  Not to say I like the dentist, but “it is what it is” and I just embrace the experience without any judgment of it being good or bad.

So go out and embrace the good, tough and uncomfortable experiences with the same presence and make all moments complete. You might just be surprised how much more joy you are able to find in your life no matter what your circumstances.

Dr. Shelly Zavala can be contacted at [email protected] or

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