I am writing to you this morning from a sacred retreat with some really wonderful women. I’m not having the best time. I’m in an ornery place – not the retreat house . . . within myself.
First of all, I don’t like the topic of the retreat, “Coping with Life’s Changes.”
Personally, I find this topic very depressing.
Who wants to just “cope?” If you’re stuck on “just coping” with the changes in your life, than you’re missing the whole beautiful point of flux and flow and upset and dissonance and whatnot that is at the very heart of living.
Loss, suffering, change – all of these — contain the seeds of transformation. If all you want from them is to “cope” you never get to the Good Stuff. You NEVER Reap the Magical Transformation that is inherent within every season of change.
The other “problem” (I guess I’m the Problem Child here this weekend. Well, that sure is different. Ha!) Anyway, the other “problem” I have with the topic is this – Why are we talking about change as if it’s an anomaly?
Talking about change is like spending a whole weekend talking about breathing. And not even the good kind of talk about breathing where you discuss centering and presence and how your breath is really the spirit of Yahweh, and such. (You do realize your breath is the Holy Spirit of Creation moving through you, Right?)
Life is Change. No Change? No LIFE.
Of course some changes are VERY painful. The death of my daughter, for example. Divorce. Illness. And such are very very painful life situations. But love, loss, illness, endings, beginnings – these are the very “stuff of life.”
Certainly, when you get a big kick in the gut like this, there is a season of just “coping” and muddling through. But let’s not stay there any longer than we have to.
And it was a HUGE mistake.
That “mistake” cost me 15 years of creativity – those were the years I spent with FEAR instead of ART (not the man, but creation).
This time last year, I had an epiphany about change. And I was finally, blessedly, able to see where I had made the wrong turn that “cost” me those 15 years.
I belong to a sacred circle of people who use the Serenity Prayer as a central tenet to their work.
Here’s a bit of that prayer:
God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and, Wisdom to know the difference.
If you break down this prayer, you see that we bring three “buckets” to the Game of Life – Acceptance, Change, and Knowing.
We ask our Higher Power for three gifts to allow us to fill our buckets properly – Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom.
Our part of the Great Mystic Bargain – the ACTION we commit to as co-creators with the Universe — is to Accept, Change, and Know.
But we ought not take ANY of these actions without asking for the gifts of Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom FIRST.
If you go off in life looking for your Mid-Life Mojo and you neglect to ask for these three gifts BEFORE you take action (or inaction as it were), you are going to screw yourself up royally. Because what you are going to do is take wrong action/inaction.
Remember, your part of the deal is to Accept, Change, and Know. But if you don’t remember to ask for GRACE first, you will put these actions in the wrong buckets.
Which is what I did.
I put things in the ACCEPT bucket that should have been in the CHANGE bucket. And I put them in the wrong bucket because of FEAR.
Now if I had been able to receive my Higher Power’s gifts of Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom first, I wouldn’t have stayed in my mistake for so long. Because the Grace of Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom are Cosmic FEAR FIGHTERS. They are the Holy Warriors that kick Fear on its ass every time.
Here’s one of the mistakes that FEAR caused me to make: When I became a Single Mom, I THOUGHT I “should” keep the kids in their house, with their friends, in their very same school district.
I was AFRAID that if I didn’t, they would have an even rougher time with the transition that had been thrust upon us all.
I could not really afford this choice – financially, emotionally, or spiritually – but that is what I felt I “should” do.
Basically I put something HUGE in the Accept bucket when it should have been in the CHANGE bucket.
And it didn’t work.
In order to keep that choice going, I “had” (see the victim language here – not I “chose”) – anyway, I FELT I HAD to stay in horrendous jobs with toxic and dishonest people, so that the kids could have continuity.
And none of us thrived.
A year ago, I dumped all those buckets out and became WILLING to shift things around.
The interesting thing is, we’re still in that same house, the kids are with their friends, but I became unwilling to accept an unacceptable work situation and guess what, buttercup? Obstacles were removed, unexpected resources came flowing in, and NOW I get to do my Big Dream and write for you.
Here’s how I’m going to make peace with the years I squandered to FEAR – I’m going to share my experience, strength, and hope with you in the prayerful hope that you use my experience – my mistakes – to shortcut your own.
Please, make sure if change is ahead, that you don’t let FEAR take you out of the game.
Let’s not talk prudence while practicing evasion.
Namaste and Blessed Be.
Photo: Flickr, Eva101