It’s hard to imagine that going to the movies could provide an opportunity to use the “allow accept and release” (AAR) concepts. However, that’s exactly what happened to my friend Joan* recently. She shared with me how she applied AAR while on an outing with her husband.
When Joan arrived at the cinema, she noticed other attendees, including a couple on a date. They were snuggling and enjoying being together in the dark. In the back was a group of children from toddlers to teenagers with no obvious adults in the group.
Once the film was rolling, everything went haywire. The dating couple started talking loudly. They took off their shoes and put their feet up on the seats. The children started to zoom around the theater, bumping into seats and laughing raucously.
My friend found herself starting to feel physically tense and angry, and completely distracted from the movie. She remembered our conversation about AAR and decided to try it.
– First, Joan allowed that each person has their own reason for being in this space at this time. What if the people here came to talk with each other, or run around? While it might not make sense to her to do these things now, was it hurting anything? By allowing, Joan stopped feeling that something was wrong, which changed her energy in the situation.
– She then accepted that this was the situation in this moment. By accepting the current reality, Joan could decide what she wanted to do now for her own experience. She had a number of choices: For example, she could report the behavior or make a scene or she could ignore it all. She opted for the latter.
– Once she made her decision, she released. By releasing, she let go of the past anger and stress. She focused on this moment – the film’s music, colors, and message – and the rest disappeared for her.
She was able to really enjoy the evening and was thrilled to not have gotten stuck in those feelings she initially experienced. This is a great starter application of AAR.
I will continue to share how this is working for me and others over time.