This time of year, I remember my annual holiday card tradition which included finding a politically correct greeting card, as well as composing an upbeat newsletter to accompany my card. Generally the newsletter highlighted the successes and accomplishments I had achieved that calendar year. I read a meme the other day which suggested that accomplishments aren’t our only successes. Often, getting through a difficult year is cause enough to celebrate.
This has been a difficult year for our world. While my personal life has been filled with so many wonderful moments, our world community has suffered enormously. Our daily headlines underscore frequent themes of war, political instability, threatening illnesses, suicide, murders, shootings, financial crises, and international strife. I find it challenging to be hopeful in a world that feels so hopeless. And I often feel selfish for enjoying the wonderful life I have created for myself.
A couple of weeks ago, I awoke from a dream in which I was listening to the words of The Serenity Prayer:
I have been reflecting on this prayer ever since that dream. I have wondered what are the best ways to achieve personal serenity in a world that is hurting. Ultimately, I believe we are responsible for being able to find center when there is chaos swirling around us. It boils down to creating dedicated practices that allow us to feel inner stability when either the world or our personal lives are in turmoil.
The Serenity Prayer is such an incredible gift to my life right now. The key lessons are mired within the notions of serenity, courage and wisdom. I define serenity as a state of feeling calm and peaceful. To achieve serenity requires that we create regular practices designed to cultivate tranquility. Practices may include prayer, meditation, yoga, walking, exercise, being in nature, listening to music, reading poetry, or journaling.
For example, I begin my day by lighting a candle with an intention for the day. As I drink coffee, I look out at the mountains and read spiritual writings to set the course for my day. I check in daily with my group of committed listeners and make a promise for the day.
Throughout the day I remember to breathe and repeat The Serenity Prayer to myself. I reflect on my intention for the day and review whether I am on task. I reflect on the quality of my serenity, the degree of courage I have attained, and determine if I have been rewarded with wisdom. At the end of the day, I give thanks to the Universe for the gift of another blessed day to strive for courage and wisdom.
I am learning that serenity doesn’t just happen. To achieve serenity demands regular and consistent practices designed to achieve balance. When we are in balance, I believe that we are better able to respond to the needs of the world.