The Serenity Prayer* has really helped me in dealing with the severe impact of the coronavirus and I hope it can help you as well.
Every day it becomes more clear how powerless—and helpless–we are over so many aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on our lives. Jobs and financial losses, business closures, the heavy burdens on parents from school closures, food and supply shortages, and the strict physical and social constraints, including separation from our loved ones. The vast suffering by so many is heart wrenching and immense.
The Serenity Prayer teaches us that the more we are able to accept our “powerlessness” over (and inability to change) such tragic circumstances, the more serenity we will have in our lives. It is extremely difficult and challenging, to be sure. We feel helpless by our lack of power and control. However, even partial or intermittent acceptance is beneficial. (I explore these subjects in depth in my books, The Gifts of Acceptance and Losing Control, Finding Serenity.)
Yet, it is the very acceptance of “what is” that is key to mitigating the hardships and vast changes in our lives brought about by the coronavirus. Indeed,
Acceptance can transport us from despair to hope and even joy.
As I have repeatedly expressed in my speaking and writings on the control and acceptance dynamics, with acceptance comes a critical shift in focus–from what we can’t control or change to what we can.
This shift empowers us.
It does so by expanding our vision—substantially so. We become much more aware of things and areas in which we do have power and control, and that in turn reduces our stress, anxiety, and despair. We no longer feel so stuck and mired in negativity.
This is the very essence (and encouragement) of the second line of the Serenity Prayer: “The courage to change the things we can.”
Hence, just as we are unnerved by the things we are powerless over, we are empowered by the things we do have power to do and change—and there are many when we are freed to focus on them.
Acceptance gives us that freedom
I encourage you to explore and embrace your “powers.” Be creative, open—and courageous. Here are a few I have personally enjoyed during this time.
*Tending to the “little” things that I didn’t have time for before: gardening, organizing my closet, drawers, and files; cleansing and ridding the house of unneeded and unused “extras”; strolling in the neighborhood, admiring the natural beauty all around me, and saying “hello” to neighbors on different streets I hadn’t yet met; reconnecting with friends I hadn’t talked to in a long time; and drawing and painting.
*Enjoying my wife’s healthy home cooked meals.
*Listening to informative and humorous podcasts and participating in online virtual meetings and get togethers through Zoom.
*Re-reading some favorite books and enjoying them even more.
*Face timing with my 96 year old mom, whom I am unable to visit because of the mandated lock down in her assisted living home.
*Being more aware of, and grateful for, the many blessings I have in my life, including a loving family, good friends, blue skies and sunny days, good health, and much more.
*Learning more about what’s truly important to me and what changes and additions I would like to make once the crisis subsides and hopefully passes.
These powers have brought me unexpected pleasure, comfort, and balance during this trying time. Most were inspired by my daily reciting and applying the tenets of The Serenity Prayer. (See my post, “Optimizing the Benefits of the Serenity Prayer.”)
I hope you have benefited from discovering your own “powers.” Please share them with me and others. We are all in this powerful storm together and let us weather it together by supporting and helping one another.
In the meantime, remember to
Let It Go—and Accept “What Is!”
* “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and
The wisdom to know the difference.”
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