Serenity, Courage, Wisdom, and Faith

 

With just over a month of “shutdown” under our belts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am hearing of more day-to-day challenges from a mental health perspective. One day we’re okay, and the next we’re not. Difficulties being at home with others; difficulties being alone; gain and loss; darkness and light. Some folks are calling their homes “prisons”, and others are posting that they are “going crazy”. So many different experiences of hardship and challenge, from mild to medium to extreme, as well as those bright spots that keep us going – acts of kindness, creative outlets, overcoming sickness, lending a hand. The common thread seems to be the wanting of something other than what IS. Perhaps more than ever, our mantra needs to be the Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change; the COURAGE to change the things that I can; and the WISDOM to know the difference.

What is helping me during these times (and ANY time I am having a hard time ACCEPTING WHAT IS…which, as for many of us, is more often than not) is first to sit quietly, take a few breaths, and ground my energy. Sometimes I even listen to my own GUIDED MEDITATIONS (yes that’s ME talking to MYSELF, like my higher Self guiding the small me with my own voice…very interesting). Then I can REFLECT. Reflection (not rumination, brooding, overthinking, or fixating) helps me to flip the perspective and look at the potential, the insights, the blessings, the learning, and the positives right in front of me. Not to pretend that the challenges do not exist, nor to dismiss the need to mourn, nor to deny the tough emotions…but to remember to also have faith in the goodness of people, trust in the balance of nature, practice patience during this process, and find hope in even the smallest steps that move us forward.

In the course of reflecting recently, I made some observations. My right-brain (creative side) said lean into the moment, breathe, relax, let it go, accept what I cannot change, and FEEL thankful (just embodying the warm sensations of gratitude made a difference). My left-brain (analytical linear side) said investigate and research, look at cause and effect, tap into available resources, make a plan, BE the change. Then I did some alternate-nostril breathing to balance right and left brain, leading to the final a-ha moment of my whole-brain collaboration – the message to cultivate RESILIENCY, in body, mind, and spirit. Bounce back, pick yourself up, rise above, be the light…

Looking to the yogic tradition, I recall the guidelines of the 8-limbed path, specifically the Niyamas, or the second limb of the yogic path known as “observances” (the DOs rather than the DO NOTs). Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishwara Pranidhana (effort/self-discipline, self-study, and surrender to God or Higher Power). Here is a plan I can follow. And sure enough, it goes right back to the Serenity Prayer…keeping up my practices helps me cultivate serenity, helps me tap into the courage within, opens my heart and mind to wisdom from sources tiny to tall, and ensures I keep the faith. Read this article by Sally Kempton (Yogi, Meditation Teacher, Writer} for a deeper understanding of these concepts.

After I have left my yoga mat, and as my day unfolds, the practice continues. Practicing patience and letting go and moving on while keeping distance, washing hands, and staying at home. Facing the reality of bills, due dates, and debts. Finding ways to connect and disconnect. Remembering to stop and take those deep breaths. Bouncing back, moment after moment, with serenity, courage, wisdom, and faith.

**If you need extra support during these difficult times and are not sure where to turn, in addition to your local public health website, consider this initiative offered by the Canadian government and various partners: Wellness Together Canada. It is like a one-stop resource for mental health and emotional support. 

11 Comments

  1. John Stubbs said,

    April 24, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    The intention to get it right is a powerful force. Thank you Anne.

  2. G said,

    April 24, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    So caring and well said. Thank you💕

  3. G said,

    April 24, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    So caring and well said. Thanks for the links as well. 💕🙏

  4. Mary Pantalone said,

    April 24, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Thank you Anne for being the strength and comfort that you always put so well into words.

  5. Wendy said,

    April 24, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Beautifully written, Anne. Thanks so much for sharing
    your thoughts and encouraging us during these times.

  6. Debbie said,

    April 26, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I needed to read some words of hope and encouragement today. I appreciate the links also.


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