You may recall that every Wednesday morning I’m up at 4:30 and out the door by 5 for my 5:15 run at a local homeless shelter as a volunteer for a terrific organization called Back On My Feet. Today was no exception, it was a good morning, unseasonably warm weather (mid-40s at that hour), and while only one schlecter resident turned out to run, we hammered out 3 miles at a decent pace, and it was—as it always is—a great start to the day.
We begin and end every run with “The Circle,” where we throw our arms around each other and say the Serenity Prayer, often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous. (“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.”)
When I first started working with the group, about 9 months ago, the prayer kind of threw me. I didn’t know why. While I’m not super-religious from an organized religion standpoint, I definitely have deep faith. As the weeks went on, as I grew comfortable with the prayer, my mind opened…I started to enjoy saying it, viewing it less as a prayer and more of a mantra. I started to feel the power of the words, and to realize the necessity of believing them, and living them.
My father was known to tell me “honey, you’re wrapped too tight.” It’s true. I’m demanding of others, and even more demanding of myself.m I can forgive others much more easily than I can myself. As I get older, I’m realizing that I’m allowing situations and circumstances to impact me much more deeply than they should, and that being wrapped too tight could ultimately strangle the light, happy, fun life right out of me.
On Monday, in the middle of the afternoon, I decided to try a guided meditation on YouTube. It was about 20 minutes, I was completely I disturbed, and I found it quite calming. Last night, I found another and put it on before bed. This one was a 30-minute guided meditation, and I lasted no more than 10 minutes before I was out cold. I did wake up not long after, found a 2-hour self-hypnosis sleep thing, and went with it. Again, I lasted only a few minutes, then slept soundly until just before the alarm went off at 4:20.
I’ll circle back to The Circle now and get to the point. While there were only two of us this morning, we circled up and said the Serenity Prayer. And as I drove home, I thought hard about what it means. And that we could all benefit from it, really. For me, it still is more mantra than prayer, as I work to accept myself, limitations and all, to open up my mind and my heart…to be bold, daring, patient, compassionate, accepting, loving…not just with others but, and maybe more importantly, with myself. It doesn’t make me selfish, and if I am successful, it will allow me to be better in every role I fill.
Take some time alone. Look inward. Find the serenity you need to sort it out. Build up the courage to take the bold first steps that only you can take. Slowly open your mind and your heart to all the possibilities—known and unknown—that exist.
I leave you with this: