January 1, 2009
Happy New Year!
This seems an appropriate time to post an entry to my blog, which has been neglected for months. I've written several entries, but never followed through with posting them.
I've just been reading Ali Edwards' http://aliedwards.typepad.com/_a_/2009/01/page/3/ blog. She is always so inspirational and today is especially so. She has, for some time, been encouraging her readers to focus on a word for a year that embodies a goal, a wish, a dream, a place one might want to be. Do you know how hard that can be? To stay focused for that long? Or, for much time at all. To be honest, I tried it last year and right now, I can't even remember "my word."
So, I'll try again. Contemplating my stage of life, there are two words, actually, that came to me: GRACE and SERENITY.
In much of my reading over the past couple years I've seen references to the 60s as "old age." Well, I do not intend to think of myself as "old"! However, I'm definitely past the diapers and hectic mornings and rushing off to a job filled with deadlines and meetings and busyness. Thankfully. I have finally reached the place in my life when I have more control over my own schedule and actions.
But, even though it doesn't happen as often, I still find myself reacting with the old knee-jerk flight-or-fight syndrome.
(An aside: one doctor has recognized this as one cause of fibromyalgia: a chronic flight-or-fight reaction that has become a never-ending pain syndrome. Since I was diagnosed years ago with FMS, this is the first make-sense thing I've read.)
I still tend to stress over things that—even though I've sometimes chosen them—begin to overwhelm me. Things that aren't according to my liking, my beliefs, my way of wanting something done. Maybe they are moving too fast, even, and I begin to be uptight, feeling out of control. This goes all the way from personal stuff up through—and particularly—politics and national and international happenings.
I've always admired people who are able to accept life with grace, to be serene in the face of adversity or chaos. There's a lot that goes along with this: tolerance, acceptance, nonjudgmental, positivity, joy.
I suppose I could select any one of those words, too. But I want to be more encompassing. I want to be able to stay calm in a potentially explosive or disturbing situation. I want to not have my blood pressure rise, my muscles tense, my corrosive thoughts take over.
Despite what I said earlier about my stage of life in which I have more control over my circumstances, there is much I still cannot control. I often turn to St. Francis' "Prayer of Serenity":
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.
I could go into the biblical and spiritual ideas about "grace," but for now, let's keep it simple: I want to live with grace, which I think is to live St. Francis' prayer, to be accepting, to have courage, and to have wisdom.