Last week I wrote about embracing chaos, so it may seem a bit strange that this week I'm talking about serenity. The kind of serenity I'm speaking of is not about being calm and tranquil all of the time, but there is definitely an element of peace to it.
It is the kind of serenity referred to in the Serenity Prayer:
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.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr
This prayer has had a special significance in my life from the time that I heard it when I was very young. I believe that it is one of the keys to living in peace with your excitabilities.
Before we can change, we must accept what is. This is the theme that I get from most mindfulness and self-help related advice. This doesn't mean that we sit idly by and watch the world around us suffer. It also doesn't mean that we wait around for life to happen to us without striving for more. What it does mean is that peace comes when we can see the world more objectively.
There are some things we can't change, and those things we can might get overwhelming if we try to change them all at once. To feel most effective, we must choose the ways in which our efforts will have the greatest impact. When we see so much that could be changed, we can become paralyzed and end up changing nothing.
Wisdom comes not only in knowing what things can be changed, but also in knowing what things actually ought to be changed. Many of us excitables have spent a lot of time trying to change ourselves to fit what we think we should be based on the community around us. We might try to be less intense, less loud, less dreamy. When we spend our time trying to change the core of our being, we lose sight of what's really important. For me, that is living life more deliberately. That doesn't mean we are always in control, it just means we are more conscious of our choices.
When we can accept the world objectively, and decide the best things to change, we can move forward with purpose!