I can’t begin to convey how many times a day these words run through my sometimes way over-active mind, like oars in a rapidly running river, pushing away the water and propelling me forward as gracefully as possible. In some instances, the tide threatens to capsize me and yet, when I recite them, a sense of calm descends, like a warm, comfy blanket wrapped around my sometimes shivering shoulders.
They were attributed to theologian Reinhold Niehbuhr. Here is the text that was used in a sermon he offered in 1943.
God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the thingswhich should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
The first portion of the prayer is used in 12 step recovery programs such as AA and NA (Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) as a way of reminding folks that they need not go it alone. As an addictions counselor having been in the recovery field for 30 some years, I have seen the power of these simple words to guide and comfort. As someone who has been in recovery from co-dependent, caregiving, ‘savior behavior’, for umpteen years myself, I carry a coin in my wallet that I received in a CODA (Co-dependents Anonymous) meeting 15 or so years ago, that has a butterfly on one side (how appropriate for me since it is my totem animal guide, a metaphor for transformation and the image in which my mother assured me she would embody when she would visit after her passing in 2010) and the Serenity Prayer on the other. When I reach into the coin purse, I can feel it as talisman that grounds me.
What does serenity mean to you? To me it means a feeling of calm in the midst of the storm, a certainty that “And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well,” as was so eloquently express by 14th century Christian mystic Julian of Norwich. A turning point in her life was when, in the throes of illness, she had a vision of Jesus and in the aftermath, many years later, wrote a book entitled Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love.
For this solution finder, the next portion of the prayer is a bit trickier since I don’t like the idea of not being able to snap my fingers, wave my magic wand and sprinkle faerie dust on a problem, kiss it and make it better. Acceptance is that Nestea Plunge that I take daily, easing back into the metaphorical arms of God, trusting that I will be safely caught and cradled.
Wisdom, hmmmmm…to know the difference between what I can change and what I can’t doesn’t mean giving up or quitting. It still requires giving a situation my best each time. It takes discernment, sometimes on the fly, if I don’t have much more than a brief pause to contemplate options.
What I have learned is that it, like anything else I desire to master, is a moment to moment practice.
Wishing you serenity~
http://youtu.be/Wonpb0NSu3M Jack’s Bielan’s “Serenity (The Serenity Prayer Song)”, featuring Robbyn Kirmsse’
As I am writing this entry, I am curled up in a chair in a room at The Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ. My roomates, Ruth Anne Wood and Kaya John and I have been chatting and giggling for hours about all manner of things, including relationships, faeries, sex, out of body experiences, synchroncities, our work in the world, monkey mind inner critic obnoxious voices, music, movies, loss of loved ones; two legged and four legged, and The Beatles (Kaya is writing a book on the subject called When Life Sends You Lemons Make LennonAid: One Woman’s Victory Over Childhood Abuse). It would be an understatement to say that she is a wee bit obsessed with The Fab Four.
Ruth and I have known each other since she was 14 and Kaya and I are new friends who met a few months ago at a fundraiser for a friend who at the time was being treated for cancer and who is now blessedly healthy. She and I discovered an overlapping soul circle connection as she is long ago friends with my cousin’s husband.
We are attending a conference called Get OUT There, which is filled with high octane marketing ideas for conscious entrepreneurs. The attendees hail from all around the world and for three days are immersed in networking, sharing ideas, and learning from Christine Gallagher who refers to herself as CEO/Head Goddess of her company called She’s Got Clients. That she does and that she teaches brilliantly. I have been enjoying watching this vibrant, seemingly tireless woman pick ideas as if they were ripe apples in a tree just waiting to be crunched into and savored, with the juice dripping down our chins. I thought I knew alot about spreading the word about my work and that of others I have served. I have been amazed at just how much there is to learn and I wish we could do a Vulcan Mind Meld, so I could get it all down in the short time we have together. I was also gratified to hear that I already am doing many things that she recommended and are beneficial, including this blog. Glad to have it validated. I am also loving getting to know the folks who are playing big in their lives and drinking it all in. The idea of competition in business is giving way to cooperation and I have been delighted to share ideas with the others about our respective passions and how to best get the word out.
Ruth is the founder and director of Scripting For Success which helps people take their dreams out of the drawer and into the light of day. This dynamic woman has worked with creative souls from all walks of life; the maintstream and the metaphysical. She herself took a giant leap into being a sponsor for this particular event, as well as co-authoring a book with best selling authors on business success and mindset. She is giving away a chapter called Transforming Debt Into Abundance. Ruth invited me to play along and I’ve had a blast helping her ‘woman the table’ and network, which happens to be one of my favorite things to do.
So, back to the big girl slumber party. It has been awhile since any of us have been teenagers who stayed up all night playing Truth or Dare, telling scary stories and eating ourselves into a sugar induced high. On this night, we are far more sedate….heck the two of them are entering dreamland at the moment as my fingers are tapping away on the keyboard. May all of our sweetest waking and sleeping dreams come true.
www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D1e_j66mgTDE Golden Slumbers -The Beatles
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” -His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Did you know that November 13-20 is dubbed World Kindness Week? The cool thing is that every week….every day….every moment, can be infused with kindness. It costs nothing, since generosity is as free as the wind. I sense that it is hardwired into us, this instinct to be kind and yet, somehow, we allow it to slip away in the hustle and bustle of daily living. It gets reinforced at home, at school and in faith communities. The way we treat each 0ther from moment to moment, feeds the collective kindness kettle. I was talking with a friend recently about childhood visits to Atlantic City, NJ and the huge copper kettle being stirred by animated people in the front window of a fudge shop. When loving acts occur, it is like the ingredients for delight being poured and mixed round and round and when it is finished, it is enjoyed by those blessed to partake. Can you taste the sweetness?
What were you taught about kindness? My parents modeled it in the ways in which they spoke to each other and us. They avoided gossip when at all possible, as do I. I won’t say anything about someone that I wouldn’t say to them. I have walked away from gossiping people, with the comment “Who knows what you are saying about me when I’m not around?” My folks offered service in the community (my dad volunteered at the firehouse, my mom at the hospital) and at our synagogue. They brought food to homes where someone was ill or someone had died. They gave of their hearts, which seems to me to be a good defintion of kindness.
Sometimes it is easier to be kind to others than it is to ourselves and yet, just like the saying ‘charity begins at home,’ so too does kindness begin within. How can we give what we ain’t got? Think about all of the ways you speak to yourself. Are they words of encouragement or deprecation? Would you ever in a million years speak to someone else in the way you address yourself? Likely not. And yet, how many people who perpetrate abuse, whether verbal or physical, truly feel good about themselves or speak lovingly to the man or woman in the mirror. Not many.
In celebration of World Kindness Week, here are some suggestions:
Give yourself kindness kudos…what do you value about yourself?
Smile at everyone you pass each day.
Leave an extra large tip for service at a restaurant.
Put a love note in your child or partner’s lunch box, briefcase or purse.
Pay for a stranger’s meal.
Juice the toll taker, by giving him or her a thank you card just for being there.
Let someone else go in front of you in the supermarket check out line.
Run errands for a busy neighbor or drop by with home made goodies.
Offer to babysit for a harried parent. (well, for the children of a harried parent, although the mom or dad might need some babysitting too)
If you have skills that could be of benefit to someone, offer them. (sewing, construction, organization, massage are examples)
Read to a child.
Visit a nursing home Resident.
What are some of your kindness ideas?
http://youtu.be/__rCTOvDZto My Religion is Kindness by Karen Drucker
For those who have seen the now iconic film The Secret, you are likely to remember a powerfully passionate woman who spoke her truth about her self image and how it evolved over time. I have followed the career of Lisa Nichols since then and had the joy of interviewing her yesterday and look forward to meeting her face to face when she comes to New Jersey to speak with a group of conscious entrepreneurs who desire to take their own messages and get them out there in the world in ways that will make a difference to those they encounter in their work and support them well in the process.
You are considered one the world’s foremost motivational speakers, what I call a ‘mover and shaker’. Was there a particular life event that shook you to the point that led you to the work you are doing now?
There are multiple events that are ongoing. If there ever was an earthquake in my life, I have had plenty of aftershocks. For the most part, I discovered self development, unlike some of my colleagues who decided to be speakers and trainers because they wanted to serve others, I discovered self development to save my own life. I was at a point in my life that I knew I had great possibility but I was at an alltime low after being in an abusive relationship. I sought out self development to get my breath back, to build my legs up under me again, to go from a crawl to a walk, from a walk to a run. So, I discovered self development as a way to recover and give myself a thousand second chances.
How did you become known as The Breakthrough Specialist?
It’s really funny. Everything about my life is about how do I want to turn a breakdown into a breakthrough? How do I turn to my crawl into a run and my run into a soar? Because of the injury I came in with, meaning looking at the part of my life that wasn’t working, I decided to teach people how to do what I did, which was look at the areas that don’t work and don’t feel good and really build those up so that they feel better and move better and work. I was willing to not just take people from rah rah and kumbaya and take them from ‘this sucks and this feels like crap and this doesn’t work’ and look at that with them. Alot of motivational speakers will just talk about what’s possible and I’m willing to talk about what’s not working so that we don’t find ourselves repeating toxic patterns and old behaviors. Let’s take a look at what’s not working and let’s figure out how to make it work. One of my colleagues, John Assaraf who was in The Secret with me, was with me on our way to John Grey’s (author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus) house. John says: “You’re the breakthrough specialist. You really teach people how to have breakthroughs.” It wasn’t a ploy, scheme or mantra. This is what I stand for.
What were your childhood aspirations and did they come to fruition?
I made a list of 4 things I wanted to do. I wanted to help people and serve people. I wanted to travel the world. I wanted to wear a black suit. I wanted to carry a laptap. It’s all relative. They have come to fruition. Bigger than wanting to help people, because I was willing to set an intention, my life has far exceeded what I thought I would do. I feel worthy of this. I feel divinely assigned right now. In my world, I wanted to motivate Los Angeles and then I said I wanted to motivate California and then I said I wanted to motivate the United States. I never in a million years thought I would be an international inspirational and transformational coach. I didn’t have the capacity to imagine how beautiful my life would turn out. That speaks to dreaming and then releasing the dream to possibility. I had a dream that put me in a particular mental zipcode, but within that mental zipcode, I had no idea how I would elevate my life. I would keep saying yes with my knees knocking and my teeth chattering, understanding that the moment I got comfortable, that means the moment I could see the end of my goals, I’m not dreaming big enough. I want to dream so big that I can’t see the end of the story.
I know that some of your work serves teens. How can we empower them to make positive choices?
My company has worked with over 250,000 teens thus far since 2000 and we have prevented on record over 3053 teen suicides to date. We create a safe space, a truly emotionally safe space. We have three agreements in our room. There is no judgement. There are no repercussions and there is only unconditional love. We do something that most teens never experience and most adults never do and that is we risk it all with them, so whatever we are coaching them on in their particular lives, we share about when we were in breakdown in that area. They see us, not as adults, but as human beings walking beside them, just in an older body package. We create an environment where we reward their transparancy and the more we acknowledge that, the more transparent they are, the more they realize how healthy it is, how safe it is, to be transparent. We make telling the truth out loud popular in a room full of teenagers. There are teenagers who have a 4.5 GPA, a 4,2 GPA and an 0.1 GPA and on house arrest. We blend them together; Black, White,Latino, Asian. We show them that we all want to be loved, understood; we’ve all heard the word no, we’ve all heard the word yes, we’ve all been afraid. We elevate our likeness and we honor our differences. My work with teens is the most rewarding, remarkable work I will ever do.
If your adult self and adolescent self could dialog with each other, what would they say?
My adolescent self would say “Am I good enough? Do they really like me? Can you please help me to love myself? Can you please show me how to see myself the way my peers and my family see me? I don’t see that. How do I manage my sensuality and sexuality. I have a very mature body, but I’m not sexually mature.” My adult self would say “You’re going to fall down a few more times and it’s going to hurt, but here’s what I know…you have it in you that every time you fall down, you already have in you what it’s going to take to get back up. You’re going to make alot of mistakes, but the first thing you get to do is forgive yourself. You give yourself a thousand second chances. Here’s what I know. You are already whole and complete. There is nothing on the outside of you that’s going to make you whole and complete. You are enough. You’ve always been enough. In the coming years, you are going to recognize that you are enough. Live today like you are good enough, smart enough, wise enough, thin enough, pretty enough, Godly enough. I can not wait for you to get that lesson and walk with that knowing and no one can do you like you. No one has your style. That’s what’s going to help you transform lives. The last thing my adult self would tell my adolscent self is “Stop chasing those daggone boys, so that they can show you the beauty in you. You already have it in you.”
What are some of the most effective strategies for creating the life of your dreams and desires?
The most effective strategy is Begin within the end in mind. Write down the story you want to be told about your life as if you have already transitioned. Write down what you want people to say in your eulogy. Write down the contributions to the planet you have made. How did you make them laugh? How did you make them feel? What kind of person, neighbor, mother, sister…who were you? What does it take to make that come true? Break it down into palatable pieces. I live in quarters. If I write a ten year strategy out, I break it down in a bunch of quarters, every 90 days. Hold yourself accountable to 90 day goals and 90 day milestones. The goal is a big thing, the milestones are those small points so you know you are on the right path. Have an accountablity buddy or community. I didn’t say a networking community. You need to have someone who is fully aware of your 90 day goals and are willing to ask you the hard questions: 1-Did you hit your goal? 2- If you didn’t, why didn’t you?
How do you get past the monkey mind inner critic that yammers away at you?
I manage mine and turn and confront my inner critic. It doesn’t get alot of mileage. If I hear my inner critic whispering, I address the whisper. I ask “Why do you think I’m not qaualified and why do you think I can’t….” and then it dissipates into the nothingness that it is. I am always being conscious and bringing what is in the dark into the light. I’m going to out myself and say it to someone else. If I can’t get past this, I call in a rescue team that looks like my friends and colleagues. I also pull out my affirmations and hand write them so it pertains to me. I’m a single mom who traveled over 280 days this year, 9 different countries, my company’s going public. I write affirmations to fit where I am and use them like a mantra. I always do mirror work. I am always looking into my eyes. Yesterday I was leaving my son again and the chatter in my head was “You’re not a good mom; you’re leaving your son again.” I know that’s not the truth. My son and I are closer than most parents who are home 100% of the time. What I did was that I sat with my son and said “Right now, I am telling myself that I am not a good mom. I know that’s not the truth.,” and my son said “Ok, mom, what do you need to feel better right now?” “Nothing. I just need to say it out loud to disempower it, because in my head, it has alot of power. He says, “Yeah, you know you did a good job. You know you’re the ‘mom.com’. ” When my chatter is too loud, I can’t hear my soul. I can’t hear my God. I ask a friend “Can I borrow your faith in me? Can you tell me how you see me? Can you show me who you see me to be through your lenses and when you show me, can I borrow your vision of me. And for five minutes, I will see myself how they see me. Sometimes I take notes and sometimes I record it. There have been times when I have been laying in a hotel bed, playing a recording of my father or my mother or a girlfriend or my grandmother, playing it in my sleep with tears on my pillow, borrowing their faith in me for the days when my faith in myself waivers and wanes.
You inspire so many people. Who inspires you?
My grandmothers; one is still living and they are the cornerstones of my life. Martin Luther King inspires me to be an example. Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela inspire me. They were willing to do the work because it was the right thing to do. They were willing to take a stand in the face of opposition. They didn’t do it for the money. They did it for the leagacy of transforming the planet. They led by action. My role as a speaker is to lead by action of who I choose to be in the world. They are my mentors. I have a legion of amazing angels and powerful people standing up on my shoulders.
You are going to be speaking in New Jersey next week. By the time people leave, what major take-away message do you want them to truly absorb?
In this climate, the first thing I want them to absorb is that your bounceback muscle is stronger than ever, whatever you might be going through, you have the ability to bounce back. Your determination muscle, your resilence muscle, your faith muscle are constantly being developed by the circumstances that are going on around you, being very specific where you are. When you choose to stand in your greatness, unapologetically, your future becomes very recognizable. You are able to create a breathtaking future and that future is available to every single one of us. To give some very clear goal setting, some very practical business steps as entrepreneurs for how to create a sustainable business model so that you can live your dreams. It’s not going to be all rah rah. I’m going to inspire the soul and give applicable direction for what you can do to make your business succeed and what you do that makes your business fail. As much as I am going to spend time on possibilities, I will also talk about what creates the breakdown. We are going to have a very juicy, delicious, candid conversation that is laced with great insight as a business owner as well as great inspiration as an individual. I want people to walk away with some of the very clear next steps for their business. I am going to supercharge, recharge and educate everyone.
http://youtu.be/jMYJjuRrjeU Lisa Nichols The Secret To Attract Anything
http://lisanicholsmonetize-efbevent.eventbrite.com/ Lisa will be speaking on November 17th in New Jersey.
A portion of the proceeds for this evening’s event will be donate to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. https://sandynjrelieffund.org/index.html