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315 Days ’til 40: Serenity

12 Apr

Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.  – Anonymous

Serenity…. What does it mean?  What does it look like within the context of our lives?  Dictionary.com defines serenity as: “the state or quality of being serene,  calm, or tranquil; sereneness.  Additionally, Dictionary.com defines serene as: “1. calm, peaceful, or tranquil; unruffled: a serene landscape;serene old age. 2. clear; fair: serene weather.  Therefore, serenity means a state of calmness and peace.

Many people yearn for serenity in their lives – some people even strive to create it in some form.  I have seen some individuals lie to themselves and others because they wanted to believe they were leading a life of serenity, even when this was not the case.  My question is, “How do we find serenity when our lives are lived in the midst of the complex, chaotic society that is our modern world?”

Is it possible for us to manifest serenity while congruently worrying about life in our fast paced world?  Are we able to pause for moments of quiet gratitude, thankfulness and peace even as the world whirls around us?  It seems completely incongruous that an individual would be able to be serene and stressed, peaceful and busy all at the same time.  Reinhold Niebuhr believes that we can find a solution.  He says, “The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.”  Are we able to handle this?  How do we rise above it.

Grenville Kleiser has an idea of how to achieve serenity in the midst of our crazy world, and I tend to agree, “Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”

I think that another route to serenity is by easing up on ourselves – we need to give ourselves a break.  We are allowed to fail, allowed to make mistakes, allowed to take time out of the rat race for ourselves and our families.  In fact, as we allow ourselves to make mistakes, we learn and grow.  If we view mistakes as opportunities for growth they are less scary.  If we take time out of the rat race in order to rest and find that peace and serenity, we are more productive in the long run.  Counterintuitive, but true.

Today, 315 days ’til 40, I will remind myself that through humor and giving myself permission to be human, I can find myself closer to serenity.  We all deserve serene moments in our lives.  I will focus on finding the time to take a breather in order to find that peace and restore my sanity.  I hope you do too.

~400daystil40

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59 responses to “315 Days ’til 40: Serenity

  1. annesturetucker

    April 12, 2012 at 00:39

    So important to allow ourselves to fail – this is where we grow!
    I remember in Denmark where I did my studies, we were told that when ever someone “failed” we had to all raise our arms in the air and cheer with love and smiles at the person who “falied” – it was amazing :-)

     
  2. annesturetucker

    April 12, 2012 at 00:41

    at and with the person!

     
  3. timzauto

    April 12, 2012 at 01:00

    Nice post …lol I’m om that break as we speak , hoping to restore life as I know it..Thanks for sharing…!

     
  4. jensine

    April 12, 2012 at 01:02

    I always want to feel serenity but I am just to chaotic in head and heart to do so … BUT I do have a few serene moments now and then so that will have to be enough

     
  5. Jan Deelstra

    April 12, 2012 at 01:11

    Love this. Thx for this post. xo

     
  6. Louise Behiel

    April 12, 2012 at 01:15

    over time, my serenity levels has increased exponentially. but i have recently realized that stress which used to be on the surface and drove some of my behavior, sometimes sneaks beneath the surface into my body where it’s not so obvious. for example, for years I had serious lower book problems. after I left my husband, and ended a dead marriage, my back healed completely. i had no idea that my back pain originated in my stress level. go figure.

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 13, 2012 at 02:39

      Great point and I have also experienced the same….. Amazing how our body points out our stress even when our heads try vehemently to deny it.

       
  7. jensine

    April 12, 2012 at 01:28

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 13, 2012 at 02:38

      Why, thank you!!!

       
      • jensine

        April 13, 2012 at 02:41

        you are very welcome always enjoy your posts

         
  8. Stuart Otway-Smith

    April 12, 2012 at 01:56

    We find what we seek by simply looking for it.
    Once found we must not ask why we found it, just explore our new found knowledge and enjoy the journey.

    Namaste!

     
  9. Maura

    April 12, 2012 at 02:13

    I like what you say about ‘easing up on ourselves’ as a route to serenity. Much angst is self-created. I sure hope I get that fully internalized sooner than later!

     
  10. David

    April 12, 2012 at 02:40

    Easing up on ourselves…difficult but so very important….I’ve started taking each day separate of others….Celebrating small conquests and learning to deal better with minor issues that used to annoy me more…If only 20 yr old me knew what 41 yr old me knows now:)

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 13, 2012 at 02:35

      Yes! I agree too… My life would be very different if my younger self had my knowledge from today.

       
  11. jimmytst

    April 12, 2012 at 04:48

    I like what I read here in your blog:

    “Grenville Kleiser has an idea of how to achieve serenity in the midst of our crazy world, and I tend to agree, “Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”

    Yea, I guess sometimes I was too focused on meditating on and experiencing inner peace that I forget to lighten up and balance it with some good humour. :)

    Thans for sharing. Blessings.

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 13, 2012 at 02:34

      Ah yes, how often do we strive too hard for peace and serenity?!?

       
  12. writerwannabe763

    April 12, 2012 at 05:04

    I can’t add anything to what you have said really..and can relate to much of what you did..Diane

     
  13. clericsoil

    April 12, 2012 at 05:04

    Absolutely agree, especially with mistakes it makes us remaind that we are human, maybe we’re looking for serenity but we have it in some moments of our lives…?

     
  14. irishsignora

    April 12, 2012 at 05:04

    It’s possible to find it, but sometimes it’s really difficult to turn off all the “background noise” and find a moment of silence. When you can find that silence, the serenity follows.

     
  15. rabidmongoose

    April 12, 2012 at 05:32

    I discovered the Serenity Prayer when I entered recovery, and I love it. The prayer begins, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” In other words, all those crazy, hectic things in the world…I have to remind myself to let them go. I can’t change them, but my attempts to do so rid me of my serenity.

    I believe there is a psychological theory called “Locus of Control Theory” that says people are happier (more serene?) when they focus only on things they have direct control over. I would argue that theory dovetails nicely with the Serenity Prayer. I can’t do anything about the world out there, but I can ask God to change me. By accepting the things beyond my control the way they are I can be serene. Easier said than done.

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 13, 2012 at 02:32

      Yes, yes, yes! I agree with everything you wrote so eloquently.

       
  16. radhikabauerle

    April 12, 2012 at 05:50

    Good blog today!

     
  17. buckwheatsrisk

    April 12, 2012 at 06:00

    so very true! really good point on easing up on ourselves! i also like to go into the moutains, it seems up there is a calm, and i find a lot to be thankful for. laughter is also the best…i love when something makes me laugh so hard i cry!

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 13, 2012 at 02:29

      I like mountains too- and forests! I also LOVE to laugh until I cry!

       
      • buckwheatsrisk

        April 13, 2012 at 05:15

        i know there is nothing like laughing…and mountains!

         
  18. New Hampshire Garden Solutions

    April 12, 2012 at 17:05

    Each time we struggle through strong winds our roots become much stronger. When I know my roots are strong, future winds are less worrisome. Less worry brings about peace and serenity. Sometimes a backwards glance at what we have survived can help us move forwards.

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 13, 2012 at 02:27

      Great insight, thank you so much for sharing! I love your roots comments!

       
  19. anotherthousandwords

    April 12, 2012 at 17:43

    Very good advice from one so young!

     
  20. saymber

    April 12, 2012 at 18:45

    “Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”

    I couldn’t agree more — stand up comedy is one of my favorite forms of therapy! For live shows I’m that person in the audience laughing real loud! Gabriel Iglesias is one of my favorites.

     
  21. Karen Berthine

    April 12, 2012 at 20:34

    I’ve always believed that it was knitting (and other fiber arts) that kept me serene. :)

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 13, 2012 at 02:25

      Very good point! In fact, during times of increased stress I am known to knit frantically!

       
  22. Sarah Baughman

    April 12, 2012 at 21:23

    I love the serenity prayer, which asks for the “serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Wise words for a chaotic world…

     
  23. bellissimom

    April 12, 2012 at 23:09

    I am not sure if you have a meditation practice but I find that some of my only serene moments are tied to my practice.

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 13, 2012 at 02:24

      While I don’t meditate per se, I have a routine ( exercise/ reading/ etc.) nightly that definitely helps! ;)

       
  24. The WooWoo Press

    April 14, 2012 at 20:03

    We can all be Buddha on the mountain top, but it takes particular effort to maintain stillness in the metropolis. Slowing down means quality over quantity, well said. Wasn’t it Gandhi that said ‘There’s more to life than increasing it’s speed’? The first time I read that quote I was standing on the Oxford Street tube platform at rush hour. I got the message, and moved out of London!

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 14, 2012 at 23:02

      Yes, what a great comment and great quote from Gandhi! I find that we can increase or decrease speed no matter where we are (but some environments certainly are harder to fight than others.

       
  25. The WooWoo Press

    April 14, 2012 at 20:06

    Reblogged this on The WooWoo Press and commented:
    We can all be Buddha on the mountain top, but it takes particular effort to maintain stillness in the metropolis. Slowing down means quality over quantity. Wasn’t it Gandhi that said ‘There’s more to life than increasing it’s speed’? The first time I read that quote I was standing on the Oxford Street tube platform at rush hour. I got the message, and moved out of London!

     
  26. Spider42

    April 16, 2012 at 09:59

    Excellent post and a matter I think more people should be pondering!
    Thanks for sharing.

    I’ve not really had a problem with ‘finding serenity’ as such for some time now – not to call myself a buddha or anything like that – I just had a moment. It’s always been a belief that you can find the brightest of wisdom in the unlikeliest of places and this concept was one of those: If you take like too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.”

    Not the most philosophical line, not the most profound, but it kick-started something in my mind and between this and my favourite Groucho Marx line about happiness, I decided to make some changes in attitude and expectation and today I aim and strive and struggle like everyone else – but for the most part I’m happy with who and what I am and am living my belief that should I die at any point, I should be able to do so with as little regret as possible.
    If you can do that – and I know people think even talking about death is macabre sometimes (childish reaction of you ask me!) – then you’ll be happier than you imagined.

    Strangely also I adapted into all this what I learnt from a book you’d know maybe as Fight Club: “You must realize that one day you will die. Until then you are worthless.” Sounds harsh, but it’s truth. Anyone can die at any point for any number of reasons. Think about it. Face it. Look at the day-to-day you lead and then ask yourself what you would like to be doing and is this what you want to be doing if anything should happen? Get past that fear of dying someday, accept the inevitable truth, make peace with it, and enjoy what life you have – while you have it. It’s too damn short to piss around.

     
    • 400daystil40

      April 16, 2012 at 11:10

      I agree with you and I do think that sometimes we do need to remind ourselves of the harsh reality of life (that it will indeed end one day) in order for us to step back and see it with a clearer perspective and learn how to step back and take ourselves less seriously, while simultaneously realizing that life is so short we should remain focused on what matters…. balance, balance, balance! ;)

       

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