Finding Serenity

Rainbow_at_strandhill-500 sm

Article By Jasmine

serenity:
The quality or state of being serene

serene:
1 a: clear and free of storms or unpleasant change b: shining bright and steady
2: marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose or quietude

Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change…
Courage to change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr (American theologian, 1892-1971)

Pagan Serenity Prayer

God & Goddess grant me:
The power of water, to accept with ease & grace what I cannot change
The power of fire, for the energy & courage to change the things I can.
The power of Air, for the ability to know the difference.
And the power of Earth, for the strength to continue my path.

Author Unknown

Despite years of research by numerous individual, the exact origin of the prayer is veiled in time and mystery. Every time a researcher appears to uncover the conclusive source, another one crops up to confound the claim. The impact in the meaning of, with due respect to the real author, is undeniable.

Of all the tools I have been blessed to add to my toolbox for maintenance of the Soul, one of my most treasured is, modest in first appearance, one of my most useful. These simple 4 or 5 lines of a poem pack a wallop of an impact, if one chooses to see and feel past the initial simplicity.

I have found myself at times, in extreme states, sitting firmly upon a horse that is securely bolted to the floor of a complex merry-go-round of life, with the full gamut of possible emotions whirring inside and about me, frantically grasping for anything solid to help me get off the dizzying contraption. These seemingly basic lines have proved themselves, time and again, something that I could grab a hold of.

It gives us permission to ask…in the chaos of human emotion, to find the Serenity, a moment of calm, to understand the things that we have no power to change. It allows us to ask for the Courage to see and make changes to the things we are capable of changing. Most importantly, we can ask for the Wisdom to understand the difference between what we CAN change and what we CAN’T change. Admittedly, during times of calm and control, this might seem an elementary feat. Anyone having experienced times of feeling so out of control will know quite differently.

In the middle of emotional Chaos, it is such a relief to discover the ability to recognize and screen out the crap, shove it aside, to focus on the real issues at hand. I liken this result of grabbing a firm hold of these words to…finding yourself blasting around a chaotic tornado… looking down into the calm of the center and wanting so badly to plant your backside firmly on the bottom, longing for merely a short break, to look up and out, but not knowing how to get there.

Some basic knowledge of Human Nature 101 is most helpful at this point. The mind can be a wicked culprit for allowing the merry-go-round to persist. Over analyzing situations to the point of “if I had/had not done this” or “if he/she had not or had done this” and the what if’s, in second guessing different outcomes, won’t ever change what actually came about. However, playing things over and over again in the mind is one of the games it can play on us. Another player in this is the heart. Emotions of jealously, anger, pain, hurt, fear, love, etc create a chaotic whirlpool as to find oneself lost in confusion to the degree of feeling out of control.

The Serenity Prayer invites your Soul into the equation. By, with respect to your well being, it allows you to set aside you’re thinking mind, you’re feeling heart and lets you focus on the facts at hand and what you can and cannot do about your situation. In asking for peace of mind to recognize the answers to your questions, your able to clear out the irrational thinking of the past, being unchangeable anyway, and the emotions of the heart coloring your perception of how to proceed to attain an acceptable sense of sanity, and allowing yourself to continue down your life’s path, instead of spinning helplessly out of control.

Having said all this…and especially at my most serious moments of crying out for help…I have found peaceful respite, some breathing space, to get my feet more firmly planted on the ground. It’s in times of extreme emotion and crying out to the universal energies for help, that we find our intentions the truest. It’s with True Intentions our requests for help are most heard. With our honest efforts to occupy the sense of Serenity for even the shortest time, we can most loudly hear the answers to our heartfelt questions.

One of my favorite analogies is, if you’re going to win the lottery you have to make the effort to go out and buy a ticket. If we want to reap the benefits the Universal Energies, they so lovingly want to bestow upon us…we have to make the proper efforts to allow them the open channel for us to receive. Just as in winning a big lotto jackpot…we must allow our Souls the opportunity to reap the benefits they so deserve.

This poem has, over time, never ceased to amaze me. No matter how simple or complex my situation…the words seem to change, sometimes ever so slightly, to accommodate my understanding of a particular situation. For as many years as I have known it…there are times it seemed to pop right up into my mind…and other times I had to go dig it up just to be sure. As simple as 4 or 5 lines can appear, this is a true testament to the depth of meaning it can take on for those in need.

The Universal Energies have blessed us with some wonderful tools. It’s with our choice in free will we are able to accept the use of them. This is but one of the many I have been thankful to have experienced and one I will never discard.

UPDATE: Quite a while after this article was written and while doing some research for a different subject, I came across the Serenity Prayer with credit given to Reinhold Niebuhr. I have included a short biography from http://who2.com/reinholdniebuhr.html and a few of his quotes.

Reinhold Niebuhr
Theologian

Name at birth: Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

During his lifetime, Reinhold Niebuhr was the best-known Christian intellectual in the United States. Ordained as a minister in the German Evangelical Synod of North America in 1913, Neibuhr pastored a middle-class congregation in Detroit for 13 years. In 1928 he began a career-long association with New York’s Union Theological Seminary, serving as professor of Christian ethics (1928-60) and dean (1950-60). Niebuhr neither created nor defended a particular belief system as much as he worked to apply Christian morals to contemporary political and social problems. His theological stance has been described as “Christian realism,” and most of his work was devoted to reconciling the concept of perfect love with a world in constant violent conflict. A prolific writer and a popular, engaging lecturer, Niebuhr became a national celebrity and influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. and policy makers in the administration of President John Kennedy. His books include Does Civilization Need Religion? (1927), The Nature and Destiny of Man (2 volumes, 1941-43) and Faith and History (1949). He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.

Niebuhr is credited with authoring what has been called the Serenity Prayer, a form of which is used by Alcoholics Anonymous. One version of it goes like this:

God give me the serenity to accept things which cannot be changed; give me courage to change things which must be changed; and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.

Extra credit: His brother, Helmut Richard Niebuhr, was also a well-known theologian and clergyman… In his early years Reinhold Niebuhr was an active socialist, but he advocated early intervention against Adolf Hitler in World War II, and by the end of the war had moved away from socialism to condemn totalitarian communism.

“Original sin is that thing about man which makes him capable of conceiving of his own perfection and incapable of achieving it”

“Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.”

“If we can find God only as he is revealed in nature we have no moral God”

Creating Your Personal Sacred Place

sacredplace

Written By Jasmine@majickalgarden.com

Finding the right place in your home for a relaxing ritual is an important part in making it become routine. Whether you want to meditate, do yoga exercises, setting up time for spiritually enhancing reading or writing…to have an area that is an extension of yourself can be inspiring.

Most meditation and yoga experts suggest keeping a regular schedule (20 to 30 min. a day if possible). There is nothing more convenient and special than dedicating space in your home to the meditative activity of your choice. Spiritual growth is nourished by the nutrients you choose to feed it. Your environment is a direct influence. It can also be an encouraging means by which to maintain a regular schedule.

Choose a room that feels comfortable and adapt it to fit your needs. Avoid a busy area, as in the kitchen or living room, where noise and activity is high. Focus on a space that is more private and not the center of activity in your home. Some might be able to relax more in a dark room while others might prefer a space filled with natural light. A room where the decor is not so busy as to have your energy bouncing off everything but is tranquil. If its too dark you might have the urge to go to sleep. Perhaps a peaceful den, extra bedroom or a sun room are all good choices for a meditative space. Get rid of any clutter so it’s a dedicated space. A quiet area and a good choice is away from a telephone. A room with a window overlooking a garden, pond, lake, etc. is a wonderful, calming inspiration. A window is also a good choice, besides the view refreshing you upon opening your eyes, in offering fresh air to keep you alert.

Not everyone has the luxury of devoting an entire room to their own sacred place. A corner or alcove can be just fine. You don’t have to be behind closed doors, especially if this is not an option in your home. It can be helpful to face away from the doorway of the room you’re in, to avoid distraction. The key point to meditation is that it can be done in any circumstances. If the place you feel most comfortable turns out to be the living room couch, don’t be discouraged, so be it. Just make sure anyone who shares your home knows your plans so you can avoid unwanted interruptions.

A small table draped with an appealing cloth and objects placed on it, such as special spiritual book, symbols of your faith, photos of loved ones or mementos of special places you have visited. Elements of nature can also be incorporated, such as a feather or a rock found on a special adventure. How about one of those personal, table top waterfalls, if you have the room? Perhaps a special gift you received of a living plant. Candles and incense can add an element of ritual. Especially important in establishing sacred routines.

Once you find the area you choose to call “yours”…set about to claim and re-decorate! If your fortunate enough to claim a whole room, adding…for example, a comfortable chair, bookshelves for your own library, meditation rug, a table for your personal alter or anything else you deem *sacred* for your own personal place.

Its a place to set thoughtful, and meaningful items that, collectively, will emanate positive energy. A place where you can sit…and absorb the energy you have planted the seeds for. Don’t try to fill it up all in one go. As with anything done on a spiritual level, its a layering, natural process to evolve with your own growth.

Once you have chosen and set up this area…for yourself…let it be known this is your own personal space. Others in your household should respect it as such, as should yourself. It’s a part of your life to keep dusted, uncluttered and always tidy, with a certain reverence and honor. Always ready for your next visit. It should be a part of your home you will feel comfort in. No window? A pleasing poster or painting would serve the purpose. Don’t allow it to become a dropping ground for those odds and ends of domestic life!

In this busy, freeway fast, world…its so essential to our Soul to recognize the need for spiritual comfort. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed, its easy to feel, since there is no huge blocks of time to give to such luxurious needs of the soul…its futile to even try! The truth is, the Soul really requires little upkeep. Most people spend much more time on personal hygiene than they do in providing food for the Soul on a daily basis. Claim and create your own, personal, sacred space and make it a special place to spend a few minutes of your time out of the day.

Acknowledge Your Inner Child?

Over time I have come to realize how important it is to acknowledge this “inner child’ as something that is always a part of us but seldom is time taken to recognize this as a valid part of us to be seen to…

children silouette

Written By Jasmine

(Webmistress The Majickal Garden)

We are adults…right? What concern is it to us about this “inner child thing”? Is it some new buzzwords scripted by high dollar psychologists? Something else to be concerned about that we are not paying attention to along with what we are eating or not eating, ingesting thru the environment where there is no control but that could contribute to our quicker demise…what is good for us then is not now?

We were told ever since we could remember to “grow up”. So…grow up we did. We tried to follow all the rules that society, morality, any religious blueprints inflicted on us by family connections or by choice, to only come full circle and discover we might have left our “inner child” stuck in the mud and muck and we should consider ourselves responsible, on top of all the other head mess ups we might have picked up along the way, not to mention responsibilities to jobs, bills, relationships or the hope of, children etc.

Hmm…well, who am I to say for anyone else, after picking thru the yes and no’s, coupled with changing contradictory no’s and yes’s, over the last 30 “conscious of adulthood facts or fiction presented to this human soul” years …that I truly believe the inner child is something that we should be conscious of on a developmental spiritual soul level.

My first experience with discovering there was such a thing as an “Inner Child” was when I found myself going thru therapy 18 years ago for abuse inflicted upon me as a young child. Understand, as a child, these were the times of “silence is golden” and as I was raised…don’t make waves or upset anyone else where silence might alleviate someone else’s potential pain. The sad thing is that as a young sensitive child, I took these ideals straight to the wall and very seriously! The amazing thing to me, as I grew into an adult, I considered myself as someone who had come to terms with this abuse, in my own silent way, and did not think I had any outstanding issues that conflicted with my life directly at that time as to need addressing outside of my own mind, thus I considered myself “healthy”.

I entered this circle of professionals at the request of someone very close to me seeking their own salvation in the form of outside help for their particular problems and family was encouraged to play a part in their therapy.

I attended the first meeting with the intention of helping this person by showing my support with my attendance, as requested. However, as I listened to the conversations going on between the professionals in attendance along with the “patients” I felt a slowly growing creepy realization in listening to what was being said that I had a real problem that needed to be addressed in order to be considered “healthy”. It was so like the vision I had heard of Pandora’s Box….the more I heard the more I felt something deep inside me begin to crack open ever so slowly and what was crawling out was nothing short of disturbing. I was caught so off guard as to not be able to slam that box closed in time before I discovered or was ready to admit, to myself even, I might be in need of some help. Scary…very scary, for someone who thought they had their silent nasty secrets all boxed up in a place far, far away.

So…I offered myself up to the process of outpatient therapy. It was nothing short of an extremely painful process however peppered with surprising evolving relief as we went along, which was the magic pill to allow me to continue. Long story short…part of their plan was to address the “inner child” as an adult. They provided a way to go back in time…well…what it seemed like to me was to tap into the past via my desire to better myself, and acknowledge that little girl I used to be.

There was no hypnosis.

Thru my memory of myself as a child…I was able to, with their help, go back in time with my visual memories and “meet” myself as a child. The “mature adult” I had grown into could meet and converse with the younger version of me. By suggesting an envisioned scenario by which I might, for example, as an adult enter my childhood home and progress thru the house to my old bedroom where I would “find my young self” and pop in for a visit. Just as I would talk to any other child except this one I had inside information on regarding her past and her personality and could relate to on a deeply personal level.

Therapeutically it was very validating and healing in recognizing to myself as well as voicing aloud, as sort of a third person observation, the emotions and thoughts I had kept locked up for what seemed like a lifetime. I left the session with the only words that can describe such a feeling…a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and deep down inside I felt such relief. Of course there was more to my healing than this one session but it was an important layer, as one would peel an onion one layer at a time that took me to my center with guided efforts on my part with their help.

Over time I have come to realize how important it is to acknowledge this “inner child’ as something that is always a part of us but seldom is time taken to recognize this as a valid part of us to be seen to. This last 4th of July, my husband and I went out for a nice dinner then chose to come home in lieu of attending any formal fireworks celebrations. We were watching a movie when the fireworks began to burst and blast outdoors. My interest in what we were viewing on the TV was challenged by my inner desire to run outside and see what I knew was being displayed in the sky. Recognizing my unrest…he smiled and suggested we head out the back door.

I forgot he was behind me and scurried to the middle of the back yard to behold the best and most impressive display of backyard domestic fireworks I had seen to date. With my head tipped toward the sky, I forgot all responsible thoughts and enjoyed the show. My pleasure was deepened in the knowledge that we were in our own private space and far away from any crowds or the impending traffic jams that follow the organized extravaganzas. I looked over at my loved one as I realized he was looking at me with an amused smile. He saw the “raw delight” as I watched the show and a little self-consciously felt like I had been discovered in a private moment but honestly delighted he had been as aware as to see it. I remembered that as a child, it was never the actual lighting of the fireworks, or the sound of the explosion that gave me that “thrill”, it was watching the impending results in the darkened sky that took me away.

Since that night I have been thinking about the childhood activities that made me feel good and free. Thunder and lightning storms came to mind. Not when I might have been alone mind you, but when I was with someone I cared about and felt safe…I loved them. The loud power in sound followed by the incredibly brilliant light flashes and streaks that followed along with the pounding rain always made me want to run out into the middle of it. Of course, safety expressed by the adult I was with denied me such indulgence however the urge always inhabited me. The onset of such a storm still instills a passionate urge to run outside and behold nature’s display of power with the same feeling of a child.

I don’t find myself in the position as much as I used to, but going to the seaside and frolicking in the surf can instill the same feeling of freedom and young at heart. Course now as an adult I am aware of not messing up the make-up that adorns my face due to vanity issue but I can still manage to enjoy the feeling of floating on top of a wave if for only a second or two!

Winter has its own delights with the serious falling of snow. Once I see it falling I get a slight thrill inside brought on by, I know now, from that childhood feeling I used to have. I feel the need to keep checking the progress out the window of the house and if it continues on into the night, and I lose a little sleep, especially when it’s a serious snowfall, all the better to my satisfaction of watching it happen. The adult in me can take over if I have to worry about driving in it the next day, but for that time I can indulge my pleasure.

I think it’s easy to lose sight of the “inner child” over time and the responsibilities that come with age. Maturity instills a sense of “well that’s just silly.” It might be as simple as thinking back to your own childhood and remember what gave you the feeling of delight. Check back with your own upbringing and see what your inner child might relay to your waning memories. Also, if there are children growing up close to you…consciously watch them at play. Uninhibited by being “grown up” and the “rules” that accompany it and how they seem to become one with whatever they are finding any delight in and how simple sometimes the experience in front of them really is.

When you find yourself experiencing something pleasurable…relax your conscious mind that chatters to you about bills, jobs, commitments, appointments and responsibilities, letting them go, for the moment. Allow yourself to enjoy by using all your senses and let the agreeable emotions take control in the moments you can feel delight in. It could even be as simple as going a little out of your way to find that particular type of candy that used to make you scramble for the nickels, dimes and pennies that would allow the purchase that would bring that sweet smile to your face , if but for a few moments!

I wish you warm blessings on your own paths with hopes you will take time out to indulge your inner child, and find something you can feel the emotion of raw delight in.