It Is What It Is

“It is what it is,” said Big Bro as we drove through the mountains in British Columbia.

Acceptance looms behind the cloud.

We had been laughing at drivers attempting circus-like acts while ensconced in steel capsules shooting through space between dotted lines.  We critiqued, hooted, pointed and remarked over senseless acts of vulnerability.  We easily spotted the folly of others without considering our own.  “It is what it is,” the bro would say as we observed others from a safe distance.

Typical of life, however, the mirror lowered into our field of vision.  During rain, being bombarded by a semi’s splash, we didn’t see the sign displaying the end of the passing lane.  We whipped out to overtake the semi and found ourselves entering a dangerous curve on a part of the highway that suddenly contained only two lanes of traffic.  Silence repositioned the sound barrier.  Thankfully, the highway was clear.

I doubt the truck driver was saying, “It is what it is”.   A ratcheted level of humility settled with the usual fleeting momentariness.

“M. has a plaque with those words on it,” the bro explained.  “It’s on one of the walls in his house.”  M. is my bother’s youngest son.  How did a kid balance genius and wisdom so succinctly?   A Mensa member, M. entered Law School, but couldn’t resist becoming the President of his fraternity.  Therein he found fuel for his livelihood and success.  Instead of continuing with a Law degree, he discovered a love for leading and being a strategist.  He set the base for taking organizations through bureaucratic mazes with a calmness that defies our family genes.

“It is what it is” added facets to a jewel named acceptance.

A wise man who I wanted as a mentor had a soul in the shape of acceptance.  When I asked if he’d be willing to share his time and his wisdom, he said, “You have to promise you’ll fire me when you’re bored.”

“When I’m bored?”

“Yes.  I warn you.  Everything in my life boils down to acceptance.  Everything.”

We accepted each other.  True to his word, I listened and watched him live a life predicated on “It is what it is”.  My job was to learn how to reach acceptance without irresponsible tolerance.  Acceptance doesn’t mean tolerating.  It doesn’t mean inaction.  It doesn’t mean taking any form of abuse.  It does mean knowing what to do when a situation, person or thing is unacceptable.

Accented with the perfume of peace,  I discovered acceptance provides space to access my Inner Guidance.   It keeps the clatter and chatter away long enough to allow divine direction and nudges to transform a conundrum into clarity.

As I wait in the silence of my sister’s sonic boom, I hunker into my Golden Blanket and say thanks for all the prayers and blessings you express and provide.   Prayers packed with the power of good intention, positive attitude and visualized health is Love working profoundly towards healing physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Love realigns us whether we are the receiver or giver.

Love’s everywhere.  Oh, we judge it and try to weigh it.  But it’s strong/weak, friend/stranger, East/West, North/South, home or away…

It is what it is.

Thank you for your acceptance of my absence and for helping to hold my sister home.

48 thoughts on “It Is What It Is

    • Thank you for commenting, Stanka. I’m going to take this opportunity to let you know I SEE your wonderful mentoring given to a young man whose talent is astounding. Is it appropriate for me to thank you? You are giving to our culture as you encourage him.

      • OH, thank you Amy. So many folks have helped me along the way (and continue to do so). I am happy to do what I can for Ryan, or truly, whoever comes to me for help. Just as you would 🙂

  1. Oh dear Amy I send you and your family much love for your sister.

    Thank you for sharing more of your wisdom with us. I love your brother’s “It is what it is”

    and this one which means a lot to me today:
    “Acceptance doesn’t mean tolerating. It doesn’t mean inaction. It doesn’t mean taking any form of abuse. It does mean knowing what to do when a situation, person or thing is unacceptable.”

  2. “acceptance without irresponsible tolerance. Acceptance doesn’t mean tolerating. It doesn’t mean inaction. It doesn’t mean taking any form of abuse. It does mean knowing what to do when a situation, person or thing is unacceptable.”
    Now that is a meaty concept to grapple with.
    I also loved this sentence: Silence repositioned the sound barrier.
    A lovely post. I’m amazed that you’ve found the energy and the focus to be able to write. Stay strong, stay hopeful, we’re out here with you.

    • Thank you, Joss, with the great red hiking boots and red hat. Those rays have reached me – and I’m forwarding them to my Sis.

      Congrats on your big decision. I feel something formulating within me, but it may just be spring fever! 😀

  3. I think Jesus described such acceptance well – when he said we are to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” My heart goes out to your sister and all of your extended family as you navigate these uncharted waters. To accept and acknowledge rough weather is perhaps one of the wisest of things we can do. As you say, “It is what it is,” to which I might add, “and nothing more nor less.”

    “To accept” is an active verb. I believe that you are right in that it is often seen as resigned and benign, which of course it is not. It takes great strength to take note of the circumstances and to act responsibly. “Now is the acceptable time.” This lovely outpouring of your heart has given me new insight into that scripture.

    While snuggling in your golden blanket, rest assured that you are loved and cared for beyond all measure or understanding. Yours sister’s needs – indeed your and your family’s needs are all known and understood by the great physician. You are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, enveloping you with the peace that passes all understanding.

    With all my heart, Amy, I wish you the abundance of enough. . .

    • I would love to think my sister has read this today. She’s likely had a chat with her Rector since her comfort is certainly sourced in her faith. I’ve written a response to you on your site, too, Paula, but thank you for taking the time to comment so lovingly. Your faith, care and concern shine through remarkably.

  4. I agree with all that you have said … for it is true. Yes, excellent essay. Perhaps your loving acceptance will pave the path for your sister’s. Hugs.

    • Thanks, Raven…I feel strongly that my sister could add significant insights about living with acceptance. She’s been given challenges that would fetter many for long stretches, but she’s come through bearing gifts.

        • Raven, I don’t have a lot of family time so this was a really special time for me. I have spent more time with this sister and her family than with the others – due to location primarily. So it was a huge treat being the kid sister again! 🙂

  5. Dear Amy .. such a lovely thought provoking post – ‘it is what it is’ – that is life itself … with many thoughts and hugs to you now you’re home and are reflecting on the ups and downs .. the joy and the sadness – with peace – Hilary

    • Thank you, Hilary. Seeing you here reminds me that I have not been receiving reminders of your posts. The RSS feed has been erratic. I’ve have to switch to email notices with others, but something is still wonky. In fact, your comment does not hold your Blog’s link. I only receive your gmail address. Have you taken a break or is it technology playing tricks?

      Also…I hope your mom is still pain free and comfortable. I hope your life is manageable and that you are still looking after yourself with due care!

      • Hi Amy – I haven’t done anything different – what blogger and gmail are doing is any one’s guess! So it is those techno gremlins!! (All details below appear as they should be and I haven’t altered anything … ) except I know have to sign in to WP before the comment can be sent … that just popped up … (and may be a Blogger prompt … )

        Mum is fine .. and we’re toddling along with life – I’m thankful to say … wishing some summer would arrive.

        With many thoughts .. cheers Hilary

  6. Loved this . . . especially: Accented with the perfume of peace, I discovered acceptance provides space to access my Inner Guidance. It keeps the clatter and chatter away long enough to allow divine direction and nudges to transform a conundrum into clarity.

    But I did have a laugh at plague rather than plaque: “M. has a plague with those words on it,” the bro explained. 😉

    • Oh boy, Nancy…many thanks. It’s now fixed. I ran out of time with this post, didn’t proofread carefully and had to make a FEW corrections later. Appreciate your help!

  7. A really beautiful piece with lessons for life: acceptance without irresponsible tolerance. I just love it, and it gives a way to handle the curveballs life throws. Amy, sending huge waves of love from the Shrewsday household here in the UK to you and your sister. It is hard to find the words without sounding trite: but her space in the world is hers alone to occupy; she is simply irreplaceable; and her life, and those brief lightening flashes of happiness, precious in our eyes. Do hope that makes some kind of sense.

    • You make welcome sense, Kate. Thank you for stating that she, her space, her contribution, her giving is irreplaceable. I hold that belief, of course, but it will be validated more profoundly when she receives from others. I especially like “her space in the world is hers alone to occupy”. It certainly is and it makes not a hair’s difference whether she has one breast or two.

      The “C” word rocks foundations and creates questions in that belief system we’ve grown, tended and tested. Loving Comfort is there whenever we need it. It’s just us who wander.

  8. A fabulous essay filled with gems and reminders of the importance of acceptance and its truth. This is filled with the witness of inspiration, hope, acceptance and balanced action. Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you and your family as adjustments continue!! 😀 Have an awesome week ~~~

  9. All of you will be guided down the path, everything will be as it should according to a greater plan than ours. We can only be loving, accepting, understanding, supportive and be present when needed. It was a very hard, long road for me to accept when Rob wanted to end his treatments, but as my sister kept reminding me, it is his life. It wasn’t for me to make the choices. Sending you much love.

    • It must have been terribly hard to accept Rob’s decision, Dee! Amongst all the love, there would be fear and anger. And every feeling is completely valid – no matter how surprising. In our Grief Recovery sessions, that is one of the concurrent themes…accepting feelings that could be deemed negative if brought into the light of day. It’s amazing that people believe an experience as huge as death could possible come without all types of feelings.

      Thanks for your love, Dee.

  10. Yep–this is the third time I’ve been here and I did chuckle at the plague/plaque bit.

    Yaknow…this subject, this thing called ‘acceptance’…this “It is what it is”… My friend/neighbor, who died from cancer, used to say that “It IS what it is…that’s LIFE, yaknow?” It’s all so very familiar to me.
    I’s always thought acceptance meant you just held your breath, held your tongue and let stuff happen. (like THAT was going to happen!!)
    I thought you had to be ‘okay with it’ or ‘like’ something to be ‘accepting’ of it.

    Much like you, I had a WPIML helping me understand that acceptance wasn’t ABOUT any of that….. “It’s NOT required that you LIKE something to accept it.” Which is a darn good thing, huh?! But boy–it took me a good chunk of time to understand what that meant for ME.
    It’s there–I don’t get to pretend/deny–these ARE the circumstances.
    I don’t get to change sick’em……..for them, about them, IN them….
    I can control ME, MY attitude, MY actions. And I can decide exactly which route is best for me.
    (face it, if it’s NOT the best route, it’s going to be ‘used’ by my Maker for the good eventually–He’s kinda loving like that)
    Other folks have choices in this deal, too.
    It’s a part of their deal with their Maker. I don’t get to decide for them–just for me. Self will is one of those deals I was ‘gifted’. Truth be told, I’ve decided that deciding for me is plenty of responsibility–and I no longer want to rule the universe.

    BUT—because I so adore the sister, I want her around forever and never want to have to deal with the ugliness that disease and death can deliver. Ever….. That’s love for ya! (well, that and I’m a selfish-Sally who can do denial of reality sometimes for brief periods of time….)

    We’ll wade through the ‘acceptance’ bit together–her and I, you and I, you and your sister…… I don’t think any of us LIKE the deal that’s been handed out. But we’re all wise enough to know that ‘more will be revealed’ and that huge, awesome things come from the crappiest of circumstances some times.
    Heck…….they already are, yaknow?

    Look at the lovely, awesome, love filled moments that have happened already…….

    (((((((((( the sisters )))))))))))

    (you and I both are included in that yaknow……)

    • Feels like you ought to be taking a bow after those insights, Mel! Fact, maybe a curtain call!

      Tonight is the eve of my sister’s surgery. She’s been with her daughter – and even shared time with a niece and nephew-in-law. T’is good.

      My sister and I both hunker down to meet the onslaught squarely. It’s afterwards that we shake our heads.

      Yes, let’s keep our focus on the awesome things. Like the number of women we know with one breast. Or none. And especially your sister in LA who’s learning to eat and talk again. Awesome is a light description.

  11. Acceptance is one of the hardest things we can do as human beings. And acceptance with fully awareness and responsibility is even harder – but as you say, the only way. Only doing so can we come to know what a peaceful and understanding mind is. Your wisdom is eye opening, thanks for sharing. And, yes, I am so sorry for your loss.

  12. That was beautiful and written straight from the heart. You are blessed with such wisdom. Much love to you and your sister. Take care, don’t forget to breathe.

  13. Dear Amy,

    I had somehow missed this one and on reading it, I realise what I was missing. Your post wafts and wanes like music, its chords made out of acceptance, gratitude and an inner compass. I continue to hear the notes even afterwards…..

    Thank you.


    • I’m grateful that you were given this experience, Shakti. You are a poet! 🙂

      On another note entirely, Shakti, how was your trip home to India. How is your young cousin? Was the transplant successful in all ways – not just physically? I’ve been sending energy to your family.

  14. I copied this as I read it, too: My job was to learn how to reach acceptance without irresponsible tolerance. Acceptance doesn’t mean tolerating. It doesn’t mean inaction. It doesn’t mean taking any form of abuse. It does mean knowing what to do when a situation, person or thing is unacceptable.


  15. “Acceptance without irresponsible tolerance”…that is the crux of the matter as you so rightly point out Amy. I am reminded of a quote…

    When men stop believing in God…the don’t believe in nothing…they believe anything. Chesterton.

    This is unfortunately becoming an easy way out…an irresponsible way that does not want to think…understand…prioritize…take action…or even really agree…but just an attitude to go with the flow…shortchanging our intellect and lives by not taking responsibility of action or non-action through clarity and wisdom of being…

    A great thought provoking post Amy…thank you…

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