Life has been crazy since I last posted, and I’m not sure it has really settled down. There has been office drama, political upset in the nation, and then I received an email yesterday from a friend to say she has early-onset dementia which will likely be diagnosed as Alzheimer’s.
Can I scream now?
This is the part of recovery that I have a hard time with: How do I maintain serenity when everything in my world — and even inside my — is at a full boil? It is an uphill climb to a place of acceptance of the myriad events that are out of my control. I cannot make our president a sane and reasonable person. I cannot fix everything that is wrong with the work culture at my office. I cannot cure diseases.
My faith informs me that my Higher Power is with me at these times, but I find no comfort there. I would try to cry, but I am at the office and we all know there is no crying in Marketing.
I know that I must take care of myself in order to have the strength to be an activist of any stripe, and I must take care of myself in order to be a friend to those who need me. I know I must be gentle with myself as I curse that I’ve not been to the gym and my clothing is tight and . . . coming to the realization that when I feel powerless I also think I am ugly, useless, and impotent.
That is the difficulty of a program that emphasizes powerlessness. The concept is valid: It is only ego that makes me believe that worrying about something will change the outcomes, or that fixing what’s wrong in the world is something I can do on my own. The Serenity Prayer has me asking for the serenity to accept what I cannot change, but courage to change the things I can (i.e, myself), and to have wisdom to know the difference.
So, the water is boiling, and I cannot stop it. But I want to remember that when water boils it is in the midst of transformation, and transformation comes at a price. In my case, the price is my ego, my lingering belief that I can change anything, the nagging feeling that it is my responsibility to make it all better for everyone, and the inability to accept the heat of the moment.
Here’s another proverb, one for which I cannot find an original reference, but one that was told to me by a Jewish friend: “The same fire that turns metal into gold will burn clay into ashes.” Whether I am metal or clay, I will find out in time. To my thinking, either outcome teaches me something I need to know.