Beyond Blue

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You all know that I’m a huge fan on the Serenity Prayer. In fact, I can say it in French! I once chaired a support group meeting in France: “Mon Dieu, Donnez moi le serenite d’acceptez the chose …” oh never mind … I forget it. At any rate, I loved the book “The Wisdom to Know the Difference” by Eileen Flanagan. She summarizes the key points in this beautiful gallery. I’ll give you the first three, and then you have to check it out yourself. She writes ….

Many of us know and love the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant us serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Many of us spend too much time anxious about things we cannot change: the economy, the weather, traffic on the freeway, or people who annoy us. As a result, we don’t have the energy to make the most of the opportunities we do have. Recognizing the difference between what we can and cannot change can help us live more peaceful and productive lives.

1. Acknowledge your conditioning.

Some people have a harder time with the first line of the Serenity Prayer, accepting the things they cannot change, while others have a harder time mustering the courage to change what they can. Often these patterns can be traced to family or cultural conditioning. Reflect on the messages you received growing up. Were you expected to be passive and submit to what others wanted? Were you trained to be in control, so that letting go is more difficult for you today? Sometimes just acknowledging your family or social conditioning can help you to let go of old patterns that are no longer serving you.

2. Know yourself.

Many spiritual traditions teach that knowing yourself is a lifelong pursuit, but one that can help you feel more at peace with yourself and other people. Spending time alone–walking in the woods, meditating, or journaling–can put you in touch with what’s really going on inside you. When you acknowledge these feelings, you can make a conscious choice about what to accept and what to change, rather than letting yourself be ruled by unconscious feelings.

3. Pay attention to your inner voice.

When you get a feeling that something isn’t right, pay attention. That may be a sign of something you need to change. We human beings have a tremendous ability to deny our inner truths or talk ourselves out of making changes that might seem scary or difficult at first, but usually we know what is right deep down. Pay special attention to intuitions that persist over time or that come with a sense of peace and clarity. The more you pay attention to your Inner Voice, the more clearly it will guide you.

Continue reading the gallery.

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