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CHASING DOWN THE MUSE: Striving for serenity on a wind-whipped day

Heavy overcast skies, waves crashing against the rocks of the shoreline — the day is one of nature’s rollicking energy. As I walked, the wind nearly knocked me right off my feet at places.

If it weren’t for the ominous clouds, it might be a great kite-flying day. I think of the wind, of kites, of the winds of change, of the energy of such and how it all gets going.

These times are tough for the majority of us. Each day seems to bring an ever-widening circle of gloom and doom.

Even those as yet untouched at a personal level cannot help but worry. We all know someone deeply affected by the economic downturn. The unknown is upon us. Worry tends to prevail when this is the case.

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But what purpose does the worry serve? It is not useful to stew and fret, to conjure up stories that only lend drama to what either does or does not exist in fact. What if all the banks fail? What if a stimulus package does nothing? What if...? What if…? What if…? It goes on and on.

“Just don’t think about it.” Has anybody ever really found that to work yet? I sure haven’t in my own life. The only ways that I know to not think of something are really poor solutions and tend to ultimately cause greater grief. So what is one to do?

The near-simplistic answer is to just get on with it. Walk your path. Live your life in the best ways you can muster. Breathe. Be calm. Have the courage of your convictions. Change what you can. Exercise compassion in whatever ways you can.

The serenity prayer embraced by the many 12-step programs is a gentle reminder of all this. Believed to have been written in the 1940s by Reinhold Niebuhr, the prayer counsels just three basic things — serenity, courage and wisdom.

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It asks that we be granted the serenity to accept the things that cannot be changed — those over which we have no control. Then, there is a plea for the courage to change those things which should and can be changed. Lastly, the serenity prayer requests the granting of wisdom to distinguish which things are changeable and which are outside of our realm. I find this a pretty straightforward approach to life. I also insert a wish for compassionate caring — the giving and receiving of same.

In this time of turmoil, despair and uncertainty, I believe it is important to continue to strive to shift perspective to better understand what it is like for those even less fortunate.

Serenity, courage, wisdom and caring. Daily, I strive to embrace these principles for I believe that in the end my honoring them will hold me in good stead. Sometimes, this is all that it takes to thrive and bloom. Even in these tough times.

And so I turn again in my mind to kites and to the lessons of nature. When we serenely accept that certain forces are in play and understand how they work, we can take advantage of some of these forces. We cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can utilize or borrow from its energy. Courage may be called for at times and there will always be the need for wisdom and compassion. The kites harness the force of the wind, expressing intent. What more could we ask?


CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer, and creative coach exploring and enjoying the many mysteries of life in the moment. She can be reached by e-mail at cherril@cherrildoty.com or by phone at (949) 251-3883.


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