“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
There is a delicate balance to be found between ambition for positive change and acceptance of things as they are. A seemingly innocuous belief in self-improvement can mask a pernicious underlying idealism. Who put all those “shoulds” in my head? Do they have any real right to be there, bullying me, flattening the technicolour reality into a one-dimensional value judgment?
I have realised that in many ways I am still mentally colonised by the idolatry of “normal” or “ideal”. Yes, I can see goodness and human resilience and thriving in far-from-ideal conditions in other ways of life, whoopee; but what about my life? My British(-with-a-touch-of-Algerian) culturally-mixed-up introverted weirdo life is no more dysfunctional, no more disqualified from flourishing under trying times… if I’d only stop judging for long enough to notice.
I am who I am. And I am finding my feet again. In my own way… which really isn’t too shabby.
Pain is a brutally kind friend to me, who shows up whenever I need some wrong thinking knocked out of my head… when I’ve been sucked into the dark vortex of black and white judgments, he strangles me and forces me to find the lifeline. Opening things up again there is breathing space: more degrees of freedom, more potentially beautiful configurations, more room for meaning. I think that’s how the miracle of resilience works. If you get good enough at it, like Michael J. Fox who is glad of having Parkinson’s disease, it isn’t even about serenely accepting, but willingly embracing your reality.
And no, it might not always be possible and certainly not always easy. I am not being idealistic all over again here. I choose to have faith; to stop trying to find grand global solutions and just go with the flow for now. 😆
This Sunday morning I am sitting in a warm quiet kitchen admiring a dazzling snow-blanket, a bright blue sky and wispy white puffs of cloud, and it is marvellous. Nothing is wrong. I’m breathing. I feel well. After two months of depression, that is more than enough. I am grateful.