For the past few years I have worked, sometimes even diligently to follow the premise of ‘letting go.’ It’s working OK. Not perfectly, but it’s still better for me, and so much more logical. It’s a big and mean world and there is little I can do to fix it. Damn it!
It’s not always easy doing the letting go thing, and to accomplish that I often turn to the simple but significant wisdom of the Serenity Prayer: About 20 times a day when things haven’t been going right. Sometimes it works.
God, 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.
If that isn’t sufficient for you, I can give you the same thing in Hawaiian, in case you’re feeling in a certain vacation spirit.
E ke Akua Mana Loa, E ha’awi mai I ka maluhia
E ‘ae m ai I na mea I hiki ‘ole ai ia’u ke ho’ololi,
Ka ikaika e ho’ololi ai I na mea hiki ai,
A me ka na’auao e maopopo ai ka ‘oko’a.
See, that way you can feel better in two languages, an at-home one and a tropical vacation one. Although, during the many times I’ve been in Hawaii, I’ve seen little need for the Serenity Prayer. The place invented serenity.
So, what are the things I cannot change and therefore should not be lying awake, dealing with a zero libido, loss of appetite, plumbing distress, palpitations, prickly heat or diaper rash over? Why, damn near everything. But, specifically?
– the economy, other than my own sensible regard over my resources. I can’t improve what happens with my investments. I can pray, I suppose, but I suspect God is a bit disapproving of the stock market.
– international politics. The bastards will do what they want to do regardless of what I might think, and regardless of how senseless and even suicidal their behaviors are. Our own senseless and suicidal behaviors internationally are enough for me to contend with, and I can’t influence those, either.
– Domestic politics. A plague on them all of all parties. I didn’t become a political anarchist for no reason at all, you know.
– The plight – deserved or otherwise – of the Big 3 automakers. Quite frankly I don’t really care about their travails except for the fact we’re talking jobs and local economies here, folks. Then I could, if I let myself, get all Michael Moore-ish. On the other hand, they’re all back east. And I know they don’t care about the unemployed forest workers here. So, screw them.
– The impending demise of the Spotted Owl. Since I’ve never seen one I challenge anyody to tell me I’ve done anything to harm one. I did see an environmental note recently, however, that gave me hope. I’ve long suffered under the impression that we only want to go out and save the terminally cute animals, like baby seals, spotted owls, pandas and so forth, and that butt ugly animals don’t get any public angst from PETA or their ilk. Yet, somebody pointed out that wolverines were under threat. Cool. Not that they’re under threat, but that somebody actually cares about what is arguably the nastiest and fiercest carnivore in the forest. Not only are wolverines vicious, they’re also mean-spirited in that they pee on their kills if they can’t eat it all, so that other animals don’t get any. Some in the business community work in a similar manner.
Now, the courage to change the things I can department. That I can do if I choose to. If any of those elements that follow are causing me distress then it is my call to rectify them. If I don’t, then I have no right to whine and I equally have no mandate to blame anybody else. So, what are those?
– taking care of my health and making whatever changes might be needed to continue to thrive.
– Extending gestures of love and affection to those nearest and dearest. And maybe even to perfect strangers if they’re especially cute.
– Doing what I can to give back to my community which, for all its flaws, has generally treated me well.
– Letting go of people and practices of my past if there is no reason to continue with either. Sorry, hon’.
– Coming to realize that just because I wouldn’t do a certain negative thing to another, it doesn’t mean they won’t do those things to me.
– Accepting that.
– Letting go of guilt.
– Letting go of things that might invoke guilt, including the fun things. Realistically those fun things are the most guilt-inducing.
– Not internalizing imagined slights from people I might cherish. Could be they’re having a bad day.
– Or, it could be they don’t love me as much as I might fancy I love them.
– Keeping c’est la vie, que sera, and shit happens in prominent places in my working lexicon.
I plan to have a good day. Hope you all do as well.