The serenity variable represents a state of being calm. But it’s not a passive thing that just “happens” to you. It’s a variable in your life that you--yes, you--have complete control over! Think of serenity like a mode: it’s what you do to connect with the true essence of who you are. It’s what you do to embrace the present and give yourself space to breathe, recenter, ground yourself and accept what is (to release what cannot be).
Have you ever stopped to assess of how much time and energy you expend stressing out about things you can’t control? See, a lot of our time can be wasted focusing on things like someone else’s behavior, the ‘what ifs’, rehashing past arguments or--even worse--worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet. We micromanage, fail to set proper boundaries, live outside ourselves, and accept less than ideal circumstances all in an effort to keep “bad” things from happening. These practices take up valuable space in our lives and do nothing more than give us anxiety.
The point is to integrate this practice so deeply into your life that you don’t even have to think about it.
Serenity is about reconnecting with our spirit and recognizing our role in the world. Serenity gives us our power back. It fills the space that worrying and controlling tend to take up. This recognition can only come to us when we give ourselves the time to turn down the volume of life’s stresses and attune ourselves to our unique place in the world. It may take some work to find serene moments at first. Many of us have become used to the chaos and find comfort in the constant mess of obligation and self-sacrifice.
Next time you find yourself thinking, “I hope it doesn’t rain today”, look up at the sky, observe the dark rain clouds, marvel at the mysterious alchemy of the sky and feel the cool wind on cheeks. Tell yourself, “I can handle this”.
Understand that you can’t control the weather and realize that the weather doesn’t control you. Take this opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the moment, be mindful of the larger forces at work and focus on the influence you have in your own life.
The major key here, is to implement this variable before you completely depleted yourself with draining comparisons, should-have's, social expectations, busy work, etc. Proactive self-care and finding the spaces that bring you magical moments of peace is crucial for thriving in this world. This is not so much a “pause” button as it is a refueling station.
We experience pressure from every angle--family, work, friends, social media--to stay as busy and productive as possible, even if it means sacrificing moments of serenity you need to recharge. We live in a society where “being busy” is a mark of achievement and are driven by the perception that a busy person possesses qualities that make them in-demand and valuable. Looking for validation outside of ourselves and weighing our success on someone else’s broken scale leads to extreme burn out, depression, and even physical breakdown of the body! Who needs it?!
Everyone has their own unique access to serenity because it is something we have to discover for ourselves. It might be difficult at first but you’ll know you’ve found it when a sense of calm washes over your body, your muscles relax, and your mind is free to wander. And while it takes conscious effort to give yourself over to serenity, you may only recognize serene moments in retrospect. Your source of serenity is just that---yours. It can be anything that brings you peace, makes you feel calm and that you are solely in control over: reading a book, taking up a hobby, being with nature, painting a landscape, running, boxing, taking yourself on a date, watching a movie, taking a walk...the list is only limited to your imagination.
It’s also important to resist the notion that the serenity of sitting at home and doing nothing is a “waste of time”. It’s not. We tend to label anything that doesn’t yield a material benefit to be a waste. And while the benefit of serenity is anything but material, the positive effects are priceless.
Activities that bring you serenity are not about “doing something” to show your worth or be productive. They are about quieting your mind so you can listen to your heart. Use these quiet moments to scan your soul and check-in with yourself.
Allow yourself to feel whatever comes naturally. If you feel sad, cry. If you feel happy, laugh. If you feel angry, scream into the pillow. Let your body express itself.
There is no right or wrong way to incorporate serenity into your life. The point is to integrate this practice so deeply into your life that you don’t even have to think about it. Now it may feel unnatural at first but once you start to see and feel the benefits of “getting a grip” you’ll never go back. You can’t draw from an empty well and a replenishing source of serenity will ensure that your emotional well is never dry. Simply take some time today, sit quietly with yourself, and ask, “What do I need in this moment?” What places have you been longing to visit and what activities have you had the urge to try? Start there. Give yourself permission to honor you and engage in the things that bring you peace. In doing this you will soon see that everything else becomes much easier and serene as well.
How do you create serenity in your life? What brings you the most joy? Let me know on Instagram using #lotustheoryny.