The balance of acceptance and intention is so important.

It’s walking with two hands open: in one hand, complete acceptance of what is, as it is. In the other hand, clear, pure, focused, white-hot desire of what I will to be.

Resistance is its own force, a directed energy, calling in exactly what I don’t want. Acceptance allows me to see and wonder and appreciate all that is, right now. Acceptance also allows me to release: the need for control, the anger or sense of injustice I feel, the fear of things not working out, the pain of disappointment, any emotions or beliefs that would keep me stuck. Acceptance does not remove the emotion, or lessen the experience, but it allows for flow. Let it be, let it come, let it go, let it pass over and under and around and through me. I am open, I am unafraid, I am both affected and unchanged by all of it.

So many mornings I sit here and write words and think—for maybe a moment—with focus, with openness, and the senses, the emotions, the fullness of it all sweeps in with a force I still don’t expect. It’s joy and laughter and grief and weeping all at the same time. It’s beauty that breaks my heart. It’s awe, inspired by looking for a moment, just a moment, at the exquisite complexity of this moment. Appreciating the transient experience it is, knowing it will never—in a billion billion lifetimes or realities—be repeated, that this moment is unique, unknown, unrepeatable, and I get to be here in it. I get the gift of this experience. That’s the wonder of being alive, and it knocks me over. I’m floored to be alive in these moments, to have the smallest bit of awareness that I am here. I am now. I am just as much the instigator, the designer and creator and responsible party, as any other being or element of this moment.

There is hope in this responsibility and transience. All things change, are always changing. Whatever pain lives in this moment is already shifting. Whatever wound exists is already healing. The moment is ending as soon as it begins.

There is grief in it, too. The limits are always temporary, but so is the beauty, the joy, the perfection, the expression of love. It can break you open. It will, if you’re unguarded even a little bit. It will split you top to bottom. Get ready to feel exposed (but you can’t get ready, just go in with all your trepidation and trembling and feel the vulnerability as it washes your soul clean! Clean, clean, clean, until you, in naked-soul honesty, recognize the monumental gift you have given yourself, the gift of freedom).

The moments are not the only things that change. I change. We change. We move imperceptibly from from to form, from one self-expression to another, each version minutely but definitely distinct. The idea of a static self is the greatest lie we have ever believed, is a foundational error. We find ourselves in the stories we know; we identify likeness and cling to it: “That’s me.” The hero on the journey, the villain, the lover waiting at home, the abused child, the humbled leader, the triumphant or the broken in us seeks the character that represents what we feel ourselves to be.

We miss the point. We miss the glorious, expansive point of it all, in our preoccupation with identity. I AM not a character. I AM all the characters. I AM the whole story, moving fluid through scene after scene, overwhelming any single idea of entity with the great complex infinite changeability of my being.

The whole cast of characters lives and moves and has its being in what I AM, and to force myself into some single characteristic is not safety or comfort or identity. It is death.

When our hearts burst with emotions we can’t describe, when our logical brains rest for a moment from categorizing and assigning, when we release our hold on the grimy wood of the dock and let our selves flow with the current, there is room for magic. The magic is felt and seen and understood differently for all of us, I imagine. For me it is like convergence. It is the openness to see this moment as the only one ever to exist, to see the overlap and interplay, to see all of our layered stories meeting, touching, tracing, weaving, spiraling, exchanging, affecting, dancing together, all of us in the here and the now, all of us.

Annie Mueller is a writer, reader, seeker of growth, and transplant to Puerto Rico, where she lives with her best friend and their four children. Her crash course in self-discovery came from experiencing job loss, financial devastation, Hurricane Maria and its aftermath, and major surgery—all in less than a year. She writes about creativity, personal growth, and spirituality; runs Prolifica, a content management consultancy for small teams and solo professionals; and sends out a popular weekly newsletter about feelings and freelancing. You can find more of her work on her website.

Image courtesy of Yuliya Kosolapova.