Disclosure: This post is more aspirational than experiential. While it’s been some years since I could teach Chicken Little a thing or two about falling skies, I’m still more snorting thoroughbred than zen-like yogini. All tips and pointers are especially welcome today.
Before we fall in love with each other completely, I want to have a “full disclosure” conversation. So here goes – although it may look like it here on the page . . . I’m not always calm, wise, and serene.
Phew – I actually said it.
But, here’s the thing, love — ohohohohohohoh, how I aspire to be!!!
When you’re the kind of kid who has her first strategic plan for happiness by the age of 10, you’re not exactly inclined to chillax. Extreme hyper-vigilance was an early emotional survival skill of mine.
Even after I no longer “needed it,” I still made a practice of scanning the environment for any signs of attack – especially during times of peace.
The unintended consequence of all this “watching” was that there were never really times of just complete joy and serenity.
If I was “accidentally happy,” I JUST KNEW I must have a blind spot to danger somewhere. And so I continued to look for trouble until I found it.
And of course, “trouble” always complied.
For some years now, I’ve been going for a new kind of life. I’ve learned that serenity is absolutely delicious, and because I’m mostly all about “more,” I’m learning to be an active seeker of peace.
If you too seek a life of “sane and happy usefulness” then maybe what I’ve learned about serenity can be of use.
1. First, a Definition – “serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace within it.” Therefore, serenity is not dependent on anything outside of myself. It is an inner state. Take the focus off of your circumstances and put the focus on your choices.
2. Reverse Your Focus—The foundation of your natural state is Joy – Not Chaos. Learn to see chaos as an aberration – a veritable blip on the timeline of your life rather than as life just falling back into its natural sucky state. This is a powerful antidote for hopelessness, which comes when I start saying things like, “What’s the Use . . . . ?”
3. Stretch Your Happiness Muscle – Play “Serenity Connect the Dots” with yourself. Begin wherever you are, and search for your first grateful thought. Then, start the game. The goal of the game is to consciously connect that grateful thought with the next idea of appreciation. And that one with the next. Allow no quarter for negativity to take hold.
4. Love Yourself Through Failure – When you catch your brain focusing on crap rather than joy, just lovingly put yourself back on task. In other words, avoid hating on yourself when you miss the mark. Bitch-slapping yourself into happiness is not really a sustainable blueprint for progress.
5. Minimize and Eliminate Recurring Sources of Trouble. You’re not responsible for what other people do or don’t do. But YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for whom you have in your life and HOW MUCH GAME TIME you give them.
6. Be a Grown Up. Pay your bills on time. Be scrupulously honest in all your affairs. That way you NEVER have to look over your shoulder. I can’t tell you how much peace I have from living a life of rigorous honesty. I’m the same “Jennifer” wherever I go, which means I no longer have to remember which version of me you’ve met.
7. Practice Meticulous Self-Care – only allow the very best of EVERYTHING into and through and onto and toward your actual body. It’s truly time for us to put on our Big Girl Panties and ACCEPT that we function better when we take better care of ourselves. Eat well, move your body, play with only the nicest friends, take naps, create beauty, and go to bed on time.
8. Organize a Mini-Rebellion – Schedule an “I’m a Bad Ass” Day. Take a day off, sleep in late, eat breakfast in bed, get your nails painted and your belly pierced (it doesn’t hurt all that much – certainly not as much as pushing a baby out of a hole the size of your left nostril!)
9. Learn to Adore Yourself. Honor yourself. Celebrate who you are and how far you’ve come. It’s funner to be with people who really, genuinely like and honor themselves. PLUS!, When you like yourself, you’re less likely to be pulled into situations that will bring you down.
There you are, lovey! Fired up for a day of serenity? Or are you feeling a bit discouraged by the stuff in your head and just need a girlfriend to listen?
Either way, let us hear all about you and your One Beautiful Life, love. The Wisdom Circle comment space below was created JUST FOR YOU!
Love, Love — Jennifer
Photo: Flickr, photo fiddler