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Finding serenity

Finding serenity

My daughter’s school had a rather extreme Christmas trip this year; they took a group of children to France for a day’s shopping. They were leaving at 2.30am, so rather than get a few hours’ sleep before taking Libby to school I decided I might as well stay up, and I used the time to write. It was such a lovely feeling. The rest of the world disappeared and I was absorbed in doing what I enjoy.

I’ve had the chance to do quite a lot of writing recently, and I’ve enjoyed the process of thinking creatively and passing on that thinking. It has also helped me to become clearer about myself. I’ve realised that it is okay not to be at the front of things. I have developed and delivered many programmes, but when I write material for the Oxford Summer School, it is for others to deliver, not me, and it’s actually a lot of fun.

As well as writing, other new opportunities are emerging but to make the most of them I have to embrace them and that means accepting and adjusting. Two years ago I was swimming, running and cycling, and I felt in great shape, but then my achilles tendon ruptured and I fell off my bike and broke my collar bone, so the swimming, running and cycling have been curtailed. I could fight these changes or I can make what Gestalt calls ‘creative adjustments’. In other words, I can allow life events to shape me. I feel that I’m now becoming more comfortable with this and I’m more content not knowing what the future will hold.

Perhaps age has made me accept that I’m not going to change the world in the way I thought I would, but it has also brought an acknowledgment that I will have an impact in other ways. The opening lines of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer seems more apt than ever:

‘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.’

My daughter, Meg, is responsible for the PA system at school and sometimes gets frustrated that her work is overlooked, and we’ve talked about how that is often the case with a ‘behind the scenes’ role and what it means to become comfortable with that. And I think that is where I’m getting to – becoming comfortable with who I am and what I do. But this doesn’t mean I stay in my comfort zone; being comfortable and being in a comfort zone are two different things. You can still be stretched when you are in a place of comfort. Being comfortable is not about everything being easy, rather it is about knowing you’re in the right role, doing the right thing, accepting outcomes and working within limits. It’s a serene place to be.

Are you comfortable in your role? Do you need to make any changes? What should you fight for/against and what should you accept and adapt to?

Original image courtesy of Janice Waltzer via Flickr under Creative Commons Licence