The Price of Admission
Acceptance is the currency of peace. It will not buy you rabid joy or crushing sorrow, its worth is nothing so grand as these fairy tale highs and tragic lows. Rather, it is the coin of the realm in a land of simple, solid neutrality. When you accept things precisely as they are, without the need for labels or judgements--good or bad, ugly or beautiful, just or unfair--you have purchased your ticket to a simple destination, a place of tranquil waters and calm skies, the land of Peace.
The Universe in which you live is inherently balanced. There is no light without darkness, no birth without death, no masculine without feminine. As such, there is no receiving without giving. As the saying goes, everything has its price. But this is not a statement to be read with bitterness, through narrowed eyes and a closed heart. It is a statement of fact, but also an invitation. See it in a calligraphed hand on a thick, rich-feeling, cream colored card. Realize that it is your invitation to explore acceptance, the price of peace.
Everything has its price. Fame, love, wealth, athletic performance, growing your own food, creating art, healing the body, mind and soul--each of these, and any other aspiration of which you can conceive, has a price. The price of admission--what it will cost to enter the venue where your precise dream is playing in full color. When you can identify the price of admission and accept it as the balanced offering for what you are about to receive, you will transcend peace and move directly into power.
To cover the price of admission, the exact currency you will have to present is deeply personal. It is minted on the plates of your values, colored by your life's experiences, and derives its denomination from your own soul's journey. What would be a penny for me might be a hundred dollar bill to you; what is a bright, shining coin, decorated with exquisite detail, to one heart is a worthless IOU scrawled on a dirty napkin to another.
But always there will be a price. Remember--this is not cause for bitterness, not a statement of how much this world wants to take from you. It is simply the way of the Universe; a law, not unlike gravity or relativity. The Universe is a balanced system. If you wish to take something out, you must put something in.
This shift in thinking is a key to personal power. But before power, peace. Begin considering the price of admission from the standpoint of acceptance. Buy your peace with this concept. Study the paragraph above. Read it again, slowly, and pay close attention to your thoughts. What comes up for you? What seems true about these words? What feels false? Where is there resistance? Can you feel a seed of acceptance? When you find this seed, can you nurture it, allow it to blossom and expand?
If this concept were true, what would it change in your life? Would eating gluten-free or vegan feel less cumbersome if it were the price of admission for health? Could walking away from office gossip shift from uncomfortable to uncomplicated if it were the price of admission to integrity? What if saying no to the newest cell phone or wearable, or driving an older car, was the price of admission to financial freedom? Would going without the latest and greatest cease to be a sacrifice?
Can you buy your ticket to peace with acceptance of the idea that, in order to get what you want, you have to put forth the appropriate payment?
I would argue that you can. I would have you know that I do. The price of managing my anxiety is limiting my intake of processed foods and sugar. I don't lament the loss of weekends full of sugary cocktails, restaurant meals, and desserts. I understand clearly that I can have these things in my life...but they will buy me a Monday morning dominated by a racing heart, overshadowed with feelings of danger and doom. The price of admission for dietary freedom is these symptoms and the focused work I have to do to manage them. I have the choice in what I pay and what is given to me in return.
I pay a hefty price in time and money for the simple of joy of watching my dogs run. They require daily feeding, regular exercise, training, and veterinary care. They make a mess of my house and have destroyed one of my couches and a solid wood dining table. But I will happily pay the price of admission to see their ears bouncing as they run in front of me, to see the joyous way they respond when they hear a ground squirrel chirp, to hear them sigh in contentment after we get home and they settle down for rest.
To some, the cost of owning a dog is too high, the value of these things that bring me such joy is not present for them. And that is precisely as it should be. This is where peace transmutes into power. Once you have accepted that every desire you have for your life comes with a price of admission, you can begin the work of identifying the price. Knowing the price you'll pay allows you to make informed decisions. Think of it as cost to benefit analysis for your soul.
Another person might love dogs, but value staying inside when the weather is poor more than seeing them race through the snow. Still another might choose to buy relief from anxiety with medication, paying a monetary cost, rather than financing anxiety-free Mondays through diet. This IS the power--the ability to compare the price of admission to what you will receive and choose according to your own values and in alignment with your deepest desires.
At its core, the power gained through understanding the price of admission is the power of choice. You have chosen certain outcomes in your life--to be employed, to be married, to eat and drink certain things, to engage in specific hobbies...or not. What you may have failed to consider before today is that, in choosing these things, you have also chosen to pay the associated cost of admission.
If you are suddenly realizing you no longer wish to pay the specific costs you're being debited in this moment, you may choose to change your circumstances. The price of admission to self-employment is random income--no set paydays, no using Dave Ramsey's zero budget with ridiculous ease. When I chose to leave the world of being an employee, I chose random income. I paid this price because I wanted what it bought me: time, schedule, and creative freedom, independence, a desk no one steals the pens from. But at any moment I could decide that the cost--random income--is too high for these benefits. I could choose to return to a job and pay the cost of admission there for a steady paycheck.
This power is at work in every area of your life, at every moment in time. This, too, is a Universal law. YOU have the power of choice. Recognizing this power brings you back around to peace. If you love an aspect of your current reality, pay the price of admission with joy. Be aware and accepting of this cost, know that it is not a burden on you but a worthwhile investment. It is what you have added into the balanced system to facilitate the receipt of what is being given back to you. The price of admission is not a sacrifice; it's a gift. When you release your hold on what you will pay, your hands are open to receive what you desire.
If you are paying more than something is worth, make a change. Choose again. Find something with a cost to benefit ratio that feels like winning, that makes your soul sing. Not because it was given to you for free, but because is it worth what you will pay. When the price of admission feels like a bargain, purchasing power takes on a whole new meaning.