God give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed;
Courage to change the things that should be changed;
And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
When thinking about serenity, many people think of the famous prayer written by Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Frequently invoked by members of twelve-step programs, it is popularly known as “The Serenity Prayer.”
I believe, however, that the time has come for us to stop associating serenity with things that cannot be changed. For we can dramatically change the quality of our lives when we consciously seek to restore serenity to our daily endeavors.
How exactly can this be accomplished in our lifetime? When women stop behaving as if they were whirling dervishes.
If you frequently feel as if you’re about to spin off this planet, it’s probably because you are. I know of a woman who will begin to brush her teeth only to leave the bathroom to start making her bed while she is still foaming at the mouth. And why? Because out of the corner of her eye she saw the rumpled sheets. Before she could rinse her mouth, she had flung herself into the next task. Needless to say, a day that starts off this frenzied can only go from bad to worse.
This is not how the cool and regal Grace Kelly, beloved as Her Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco, spent her days. Nor is it how we should spend ours. And while I’m sure Princess Grace had somebody else making her bed, the point is still valid. Serene women do not become sidetracked. Sidetracked women, who scatter their energies to the four winds, never achieve serenity. (Nervous breakdowns, to be sure, but not serenity.) It’s as simple as that.
Today, we must start to recover our sanity. The way we do this is to concentrate slowly on completing one task at a time, each hour of the day, until the day is over. Like the members of twelve-step programs, we will act “as if” we are serene (think Grace Kelly), by bringing all our attention and conscious awareness to whatever we are doing---from brushing our teeth to putting the children to bed. What we will gain from this exercise is the inner peace that comes from living fully in the present moment.
I realize, of course, that for most of us, accustomed as we are to performing six tricks simultaneously, what I’m proposing sounds ridiculous. You wonder how you’ll get everything done if you don’t do everything at once. But I assure you that you will accomplish all you set out to do and need to do with much more ease, efficiency, pleasure, and satisfaction when you merge mind, body, and spirit with the task at hand.
And you will experience serenity.
Borrowed from “Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
It is the authors hope that this daily lesson will invite us to open up the eyes of our inner awareness as it exists today for a simply abundant tomorrow. I know I need to work on this particular lesson myself and hope it is meaningful to you as well.
Lisa Beretz, LLBeretz@gmail.com