I remember my first encounters with the concept of serenity; an introverted friend pointed out that I lived in chaos. I retorted that was better than boredom – a synonym in my vocabulary for serenity. Then, my soon-to-be-partner and I argued for a couple of hours on a five hour trip about the value of serenity, and I wanted no part of it. Serenity would rob me of the excitement and creativity in my life. Serenity would mean knuckling under and taking whatever anyone else dished out. No way.
That was almost ten years ago. I got involved with a twelve-step program and met people who had something I wanted. They called it serenity. I called it sanity. So, I reached out, turned loose, examined, confessed, and did all the things they had done. Sanity was still a bit elusive but around more than before.
Then I retired to a place of peace, quiet, solitude and water. I had time to think about my life and my life decisions. I contemplated my relationships with my Mother and my significant others. I dreamed about events that had happened many years ago. As I accepted the person I had been and turned loose of the guilty and shame, I felt a sense of depression overtake me – at least that is the only word I had to describe the missing anger in my life.
One day, someone asked me if I could be mistaking serenity for depression. Since I had never felt serenity, I had no idea what it was like. I listened carefully as others described their serenity, and, wonder of wonders, I discovered that I had gained some measure of serenity. I was amazed. Boredom was not part of it. A lack of creativity was not part of it. My decisions were better. My health was better. And, I was truly very happy.
Serenity is now something I cherish, and I guard it carefully. When I find it disappearing, I sit down and examine where I have departed from it – for serenity does not leave me; I leave it. It’s like God. When I feel the absence of God, I wonder where I have strayed from our friendship. God didn’t move; I did. The absence of God and the absence of serenity seem to go hand in hand for me. As I return to a daily verbal, kinesthetic and meditative relationship with God, serenity returns to my life.
Gaining serenity has meant that I must continually give up anger, over and over again. And, I must give up being angry that I continue to be angry. Old habits are hard to give up, but new ones that are practiced regularly eventually take the place of the old ones.
I’m trying to make serenity a habit.