I intend to let 2015 be the year that I reap the promise of serenity more than ever before within my relationships and I am using the beautiful and timeless Serenity Prayer, used as a cornerstone in most programs of recovery, as my Guide:
‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
by Reinhold Niebuhr
” …accept the things I cannot change.”
1) Forgiveness – Walking the Deeper Cravings Path all these years has been a glorious lesson in acceptance. Through daily mindfulness and mindful eating practice I have learned how to access acceptance for the moment and an incredible wealth of acceptance of and for myself, particularily my body. This has required forgiveness. I have had to forgive and embrace my imperfections, forgive my body for what had felt like years of betrayal, (albeit undeserved assertions of guilt).
There is perhaps no greater arena of our life that requires the grace of forgiveness than in our interpersonal relationships. Forgiveness is all about acceptance. Accepting the past is not the same as approving of it or condoning rather it is the peaceful acknowledgement of what IS.
My version of the prayer will go ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change’. It is a truly futile construct to believe in our capacity to be able to control another but we have 100% dominion over our own actions.
Armed with this truth all we can do in the presence of another is enjoy their BEING. Witness their ways from a stance of gentle observation rather than judgement and forgive. Each and every one of us are a treasure and only through relentless acceptance and forgiveness can I access that space of awe that a human encounter truly deserves.
‘God grant me …the courage to change the things I can…”
2) Truth – to me ‘the courage to change the things I can’ is all about truth telling, unwavering honesty. This includes the courage to BE who I AM in all my relationships. It is so tempting to fall in to my old patterns of people pleasing and approval seeking when fear becons at my door but with courage I find the honesty to offer the world me.
“The truth will set you free”, indeed. Freedom is truth’s greatest gift. Being completely honest with others about my feelings, my reactions, my wants in a given situation (essentially asserting boundaries) means sometimes risking the dreaded disappointment that I might momentarily cause another.
The fear of separation from others is what often has us withhold the truth of our feelings and overly comply but this dishonesty ensnares us in bondage in our relationships. I have learned that it is impossible to live honestly and also ensure all those around us like it/us. WE can’t have both but to live dishonestly or inauthentically is not living our own life.
‘God Grant me … the wisdom to know the difference’
3) Love – Accessing wisdom is accessing that loving voice that resides within each of us. That voice of God (insert prefered word here: Life, Universe, Source, Divine, True Self etc) sits in waiting in the depths of our being always ready with an answer. This ever present whisper directs us to joy and bliss if we have the wisdom to consult it.
In my personal relationships when there is a moment of discord It requires my dicipline to quiet myself and my life enough to access this internal voice before I move to immediate reactions. This voice is always pointing in the direction of love. Sometimes a situation calls for acceptance (forgiveness) and sometimes it calls for boundaries (truth) and either way it is an act of love: either love for the other or love for the self.
So already, just 3 days in I find that this age old beautiful poem is offering me lovely guidance and promises to bring me more peace and joy within my relationships. I’d love to know your hopes, dreams and plans for 2015.
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