“Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” –Polish Proverb

This is my newest life mantra. It’s what I repeat in my head (and sometimes out loud) when life happens and chaos is reigning once again. Please understand, I am not always the dark, twisty victim of life that may come across. There are huge bright moments that carry me through the chaos. I promise to work on sharing more and more of those moments. Today though I want to share my latest coping skill.

Radical Acceptance.

This concept has an official explanation but since I’m not official I’ll be explaining my definition. For me, radical acceptance is simple… no matter what is happening I take a deep breath in and breath out repeating my mantra “not my circus not my monkeys.” It means I don’t have control, I don’t need control, and I don’t want control.

My daughter graduated high school, had a plan for her next steps in life and just weeks before school started she changed the entire plan. New city, new school, new job… lots to figure out in very little time. My reaction: really deep breath and, “Not my circus, not my monkeys,” I’m here to walk with her through these processes but I can’t accept the control in her world anymore. I just have to remind myself often that I don’t have control, I don’t need control and I don’t want control.

I passed my licensing exam recently. I am now an LMSW – Licensed Master Social Worker. It is an amazing, a magical miracle for sure! But I’m still taking that deep breath and repeating “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Even in this hugely exciting time I have to accept (radically) that I don’t know what’s going to happen next, I still have clinical hours to earn towards my next step and I’m easily caught up in needing to have a plan or some form of control.

Radical Acceptance. “It is what it is.” “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

Each of these remind us to take a moment to breathe and step out in faith knowing that if we just relax our grip a little, things will work out just how they are supposed to.

Sarah Deats

Sarah Deats is the Hope Inc. Stories Inspiration Engineer. Her goals are to make a connection with everyone that she can while building community, spreading hope, and sparking change. She believes that while life may not be easy, it is never lived alone.