The path to serenity.

Saturday January 30, 2016

"You always sound so calm and serene; tell me the essence I need for that." So wrote another member in reply to my blog "Wisdom received from Moodscopers Part 1 (20th October 2015).

Well here goes...

Ironically, the October "Wisdom" blog was published the day after a particularly depressing departmental meeting at work with my lovely team of caring, supportive colleagues, all of whom (me included) were experiencing stress, loss of sleep, loss of family time and frustration at the unreasonable deadlines we were being asked to meet. (So, Frankie, you should be working not writing a Moodscope blog!!!). Even our normally grounded Head of Department was experiencing physical signs of stress (heart palpitations) and our superbly efficient Second in Department was uncharacteristically near to tears.

In the past I too would have had the same feelings, but I don't – how come?

I have learnt that the only thing I can change is my response to this situation. I recognise that it is the situation which is unreasonable, not me so I don't feel guilty.

If I do start feeling stressed, then I acknowledge that it is a perfectly reasonable response given the unreasonable demands being made.

Re-reading the above makes it sound so simple, but it isn't; I know that, and it hasn't been easy to reach this point of acceptance. It has taken time, determination and constant repetitions (said aloud) of affirmations, such as:

"All things pass and this too shall pass."
"I am doing my best in a tough situation."
"These dead-lines are unreasonable, my response to them is reasonable."
"I am not alone in feeling this way; I am supported and understood."
And my favourite when with my colleagues "It was ever thus." To remind us all that we DO cope under pressure and that the deadlines do come and go.

And when I say it has taken time, it has, a long time; this new found serenity and acceptance did not happen overnight but over a period of months and was a gradual process with plenty of ups and downs along the way.

I once did some "silly" research to see how long it would take to change a habit. I decided to change the hand I use to hold a toothbrush and clean my teeth. I arrogantly thought that it would take me a week... it took six. Now, if it takes six weeks to change a simple thing like that, then think just how much longer it takes to change long-held (perhaps from childhood) thought patterns, responses and behaviours...

It brings me back time and time again to the Serenity Prayer:

(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.

What thought patterns and responses do you want to change? Are you ready to do so?

A Moodscope member.

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