Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So, Live Your Life or DIY:Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change
courage to change the one I can change,
and the wisdom to know it’s me.
– Author unknown

What is serenity?
Serenity is...coming home to a warm house.
Serenity is...knowing where your children are.
Serenity is...a warm bath, a cup of cocoa, and a good book.

Ummm, no. I don’t think so. That might be happiness. It might even be smugness. But it’s not serenity. Serenity is inner peace- a calm in our personal storm, that cannot be shaken by outside things. That warm house- how serene are you when you come home to a cold one? Knowing where your children are? In these days, that’s a matter of faith. They might be in school….and they might not. A warm bath, a cup of cocoa, and a good book? Sounds good. But if either of those fall in the tub, tell me you won’t scream bloody murder!
Lately I have been in need of some serenity. A solid knowing of where and who I am, and where I’m going in life. It is not a bad thing to be thrown off guard- to be forced to question and adjust, because serenity is not the same as contentment- being okay (note- not necessarily happy) with where you are. Serenity can be had only inside you, and it moves with you and through you to accomplish great things. Contentment happens in your “happy” little rut. For years I was “content” to work in a job that had ceased to inspire me, to live a quiet life, achieving little, but not hurting anything either. I was “content”, in other words, to live the life of the common house plant. Not even the common house cat- whom, even the fattest and laziest of which, is at least, beautiful, graceful and deadly (beware mousies!) I was content to be unnoticed, because it meant I didn’t have to be responsible for my own greatness. If the world didn’t notice me- maybe I didn’t deserve to be noticed- then I wouldn’t have to work so hard. I wouldn’t have to accomplish anything. I could be emotionally lazy. I didn’t have to be great at anything- and risk failure, defeat or humiliation. I didn’t have to risk people not liking me, people being jealous of me, and my accomplishments. In case you missed it, by the way- the irony here is that I assumed that I could do something great- something worthy which people might not like me for doing. So I believed without thinking about it that I could be amazing- I just gave it up…..for comfort. I actively worked to not stand out-to be ignored and derided. And it worked. How brilliant is that!? And how brilliantly must we all shine naturally, when so many of us have to work so hard to seem ordinary?

I am convinced that it is a cosmic joke- the ultimate expression of irony, that we work so hard to be part of the crowd, while looking up to the most bland of us- celebrities, movie stars, models- and all the while, we say, innocently, sincerely, “I wish I could be like them.” I swear the Devil laughs his ass off every time someone says that- the more wistfully, the better. It’s like every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings- in reverse. Every time someone says that, our little personal demons grow bigger-like a malignant cancer-they feed off our heart’s blood and grow stronger. Well, I believe in the power of positive prayer and “my strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure.”(Alfred, Lord Tennyson). [Okay, so maybe my heart is  still a little murky, so maybe my strength is only as the strength know.. one and a half. But still, you gotta start somewhere.]
I will put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and I will wrap myself in serenity- in the knowledge that in this place and time I was made to shine. I will not shirk my duty, or lower my standard(s) to abase myself in the dirt, because I was not made for low things, but being created by the Most High, my standing and stature are likewise elevated- not to be better than any man, but to be the equal of all.
(Whew!- self esteem talks really get me going!) knowing who you are and accepting it with good grace. I know that I am impatient, judgmental, sharp tongued and needling. And that’s with myself, let alone others. I also know, when I give myself leave to compliment myself, that I am patient, with children and friends, funny, and comforting- to the people I believe deserve it. Which, until recently, has been everyone other than myself.

“Know thyself”, (author unknown) and “to thine own self be true,”-(Shakespeare, Hamlet). Your higher self, that is, your better self. And let that knowledge be your “Guiding Light”, your immovable, fixed point “As the [rest of] the “World Turns” (okay no more soap opera mentions. I promise.)

I know that I was made to do great things- and like a child I have avoided doing them, to gain the acceptance of “friends” and “society”. But the only acceptance I have ever needed is my own. And I refuse to let my little demon feast in my heart and give me nothing but insecurity, and doubt in return. In one swell foop*, my demon has been evicted. I will no longer question whether I have a right to be great- I don’t. I have a duty. The only question from now on is how will I go about accomplishing my greatness and the greater good. Don’t pretend to be less than you are. For every child who truly believed that a costume could make them a superhero- let there be an adult who knows that inside they are one- invisible cape and all. Be your own hero- someone who stands up to not only speeding bullets, but the stinging envy and slights of other men- because you refuse to be less than you are- magnificent. Stand serenely, in the eye of the hurricane ( which is sure to come when you stop apologizing for being who you are.) Stand proudly, smile serenely, hold your ground...and live your life.

Live Your Life-Rihanna

within our darkness there is not one place for beauty...
The whole place is for beauty. -Rene Char

*Yes, I know it's one fell swoop- I just liked the way it sounds, dammit! When someone doesn't like your joke, it's best to just walk away. No explanations, no apologies!( well, except for this one time!)

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