Toward Serenity

by Donna Wolfe

Reflecting on the year 5779 I see much that has happened or changed in my life, for example:

  • Suffering both the losses of very dear ones and the gains of new intriguing friendships
  • Taking the consciousness-raising I-Engage course here at TBS to examine what I believe as an American Jew about “my” Israel and my Jewish self
  • Completing a 12-Step program of honest introspection, letting in my Higher Power, and choosing to have joyful healthy connections with my world

So, the month of Elul is a universal call to us to reflect on this year, looking inward first so that we may turn outward to face next year with honesty, hope and growth. I want to share with you one of the prayers that has resonated the most with me this year. It’s called the Serenity Prayer, and it is helping me to “stay in my own lane” but still respond to “make the world a better place.” So here is my annotated version in a matrix:

GOD My Higher Power, that still small voice within and the transcendent Spirit of Love and Life that it connects to
GRANT ME THE SERENITY May I be blessed with inner peace (shalom), free from anxiety and fear
TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE To know and tolerate that I can control and change only myself/my actions and not another person (who also has a Higher Power)
COURAGE Strength to take action even when I have fear or worry or pain
TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN To overcome the traits that are my own personal challenges (e.g. denial, anger, indifference, arrogance) and are obstacles engagement and growth
AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE Using common sense, insight and reflection to understand which life situations I can control (they are within my power and my responsibility) and which ones I must let go (everything else)

The serenity comes when I first take care of me. And manage only myself. Then and only then do I have confidence in myself, a joyful outlook, and the courage to engage in making my world a better place.



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