SERENITY has been described as “the highest form of peace.”
It is like the gold medal in Emotional Fitness to attain and sustain this tranquil place within our own being called SERENITY.
I had never really taken much notice of this word until I first heard it as a timeless line in the iconic Australian movie The Castle. The lead character in this movie demonstrated an unwavering contentedness of an unusual father figure, Darryl Kerrigan. This movie, and its lovable characters, captured our nation’s heart. At his humble holiday shack Darryl said frequently as he relaxed with his beloved family with a heart full of gratitude …
“How’s the SERENITY”…
This word, however, really came to life for me when I got clean and sober back in 1995. As a child I remember reading the SERENITY prayer somewhere on a wall. Ironically a male elder, who was a practicing alcoholic, when I asked him what this prayer meant, he said to me …
“That’s the alcoholics prayer.” I was a child and did not understand how he knew this as he never usually spoke of spiritual matters or really what an alcoholic was and why they would even have a prayer. This tortured man, like too many of his generation, never addressed his childhood horrors, violent rage-filled temper, incest with me and his dangerous drinking. He was emotionally bankrupted, never able to sustain a life of SERENITY. He spent his last years doing geographicals, running from himself, his children and his responsibilities. He died overseas aged 49 after a big night on the booze from a cerebral hemorrhage partying with a lover half his age.
Many, however, don’t struggle with addictions, but do often find themselves struggling to muster up enough gratitude (like Darryl Kerrigan) to immerse themselves in a beautiful state of SERENITY.
We can bite our lip, hold our tongue and take deep breaths when emotional storms hit and calm ourselves down, but SERENITY, now that takes real emotional muscle to master. Think of the last time an injustice happened, how much SERENITY did we have in reserve?
Regardless of whether you believe in a God or not, this beautiful prayer can be used as a daily workout to help build and sustain our Emotional Fitness. If I have a client who has a problem with the word God I encourage them to replace the word God with “love.” For me they mean the same thing. If you are not familiar with this prayer, I would like to share it with you to add to your emotional tool kit if you feel your SERENITY muscle needs improvement.
Please excuse the fact that I have taken the liberty over the years of personalising this powerful piece of writing by adding a few bits and pieces in brackets for myself. It is like making a recipe your own by adding your favourite flavours, adjusting it to your personal palate. I have been reading this prayer every morning since 1995; it is a dear friend of mine that has gifted me with more emotional muscle than I ever dreamt of accessing. So feel free to remove my bracketed alterations if you prefer it in its original form.
This is only the first verse of the whole prayer written by Yale University theology student Mr Reinhold Niebuhr, who lived from 1892 until 1971. These words are a robust emotional recipe on how to create and sustain the SERENITY Darryl Kerrigan had in abundance .
“God (love) grant me the serenity
to accept the (people, places and) things I cannot change;
courage to change the (one I can) things I can;
and the (willingness) wisdom (and gratitude) to know (it’s me) the difference” …
Portable SERENITY is imperative for my life as I can still find myself diverting to my old habits of blame and shame when shit goes down that I find unfair or emotionally unpalatable. Being willing to be grateful for the universal truth that I can only change myself is actually liberating and intercepts my old habits of trying to control other people, places and things.
When we can remember the timeless wisdom in this prayer and install it daily as a backbone of behaviour we become happier and more peace-filled people to be around.
So in future let’s remember to be a little more grateful for the humble pleasures in life, the things that money cannot buy, like loyalty, laughter, kindness and a gentle loving smile or touch. Darryl Kerrigan is a great emotional ambassador for this powerfully life-changing word SERENITY.
Next time we are having a shitty moment why not just take a deep breath before we divert to blame or shame with ourselves or someone else? One simple question to ourselves quietly can intercept our old fear-driven habit and help change the whole direction of our day, and eventually our lives. Nobody put this question better than Darryl Kerrigan …
“How’s the SERENITY?”
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift just click on the SHOP tab and place your order.