Acceptance can occur only when we see through clear eyes, open our hearts, and join in the flow of experience.
Acceptance requires vision, or in other words, mindfulness. We must pay attention to--be aware of--what is happening in every moment. Our thoughts, our emotions, the sensations we feel, all of those must become part of our awareness in order to be mindful. And we must practice awareness without attaching to them or resisting them. We must not hold on to things we want, nor must we try to change those we do not like. Being mindful requires observation in a nonjudgmental way.
Having an open heart is also important to acceptance. In this context, open heartedness means being compassionate, even to ourselves. No matter what we see or perceive, we must embrace it compassionately. If we have pain, unpleasant sensations in our bodies, joy, happiness--it doesn't matter. Self-compassion enables us to respect all of those experiences and bring them close to us.
Acceptance can only occur when we have both mindfulness and self-compassion. This is particularly important when we are dealing with negative emotions or experiences. Mindfulness makes us aware of the pain that we wish would go away. It allows us to see our fear, frustration, or anger. Self-compassion allows us to be non-judgmental about those emotional experiences. It nurtures us, allowing us to be good to ourselves in the presence of the hurt. It promotes healing by allowing us to stay with the discomfort.
Acceptance allows us to live with our experience, freely and openly, nonjudgmentally. It positions us to be part of the "flow." We accept the constant change of life, watching it wash through us, being part of it, knowing that we will make it.