One winter, I woke up, looked out the window and saw snow. Be assured this was not the fresh, new fallen snow, described in fairy books; rather it was the black snow typically found on the streets of Northeast Ohio after being subjected to day after day of automobile exhaust systems and snow plows. I tried not to feel negative about the black snow. I repeated (almost chanting) to myself that the snow did not bother me, that in fact the black snow was beautiful because here on God’s earth, everything has beauty. Guess what? I just became more miserable because I was in denial about how I really felt about the snow. I tried changing my messages. I admitted that I didn’t like it, but that it was okay the way it was even though it annoyed me and I preferred it to be different. I therefore changed my attitude from denial to acceptance. I immediately felt much better. Notice that I didn't spend a long time debating why I lived in Northeast Ohio. I didn't compare myself to people who lived in warmer climates. I didn't wish that the snow would magically disappear. I kept it simple. I changed my attitude. I did not change the situation. Funny thing: as I realized that my needs were being taken care of because I was in a warm, cozy house, I became grateful and I started to chuckle with a bit of joy. Not only was I able to accept the black snow, but I was able to have a sense of humor about it. Even funnier? As I continued to gaze at the black snow, I saw a shadow that struck me as kind of, well yes, beautiful.
The lesson I therefore learned was that I could feel better even while looking at black snow. “Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.” page 417 of the Big Book. Acceptance is the foundation for how you can deal successfully and serenely with anyone and anything. For example, unless you accept your boss, spouse, child, neighbor, bad habit, house, car, or black snow exactly the way he, she, or it is supposed to be at that moment, you will be disturbed and unable to deal with that situation in a healthy, serene way.
Today, I will apply 3 steps to the black snow in my life. 1. I will accept the situation and my feelings about it. 2. I will then be grateful that my basic needs are fulfilled. 3. Then, I will connect to my Higher Effective Loving Power if I need help with fulfilling a basic need or if I simply need emotional support. Such connection could include a call to a friend or care taker or therapist, a pause and meditative reflection, even painting a picture or listening to a song. This 3 step process may help you feel a little better and allow you to make a well reasoned decision and thus do the next reasonable thing. Love you!