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Hello all. I'm new to the community, so I had to double check to see if this quote would be allowed here, but it makes me feel serene and that's what we're here for.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
- Keats
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    serene
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  • slyfoot

2007: The Year I Discovered Serenity

All in all, 2007 has turned out to be a good year for me. It's the year that I discovered the way to serenity, the tranquility in contemplative prayer and meditation, and how to just be. I've learned that serenity is not quite the same thing as "perpetual bliss." I've also learned how to cultivate inner peace and how to defeat boredom and stress. I've learned that wherever I go, there I am. I've also rid myself of some nasty addictions. It has only taken me 40 years. It's about time, thank God.
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  • slyfoot

Affirmations

I've been re-reading about attitude, positive thinking, and affirmations. I've decided that along with the daily prayer and meditation that I'm going to start doing a daily affirmation. I like this one:

Daily Affirmation

I will love God with all my heart and mind.
I will love my neighbor and I will love myself.
I will focus on faith, hope, and charity.
I will seek out the wisdom of God through prayer and meditation.
I will live by the Golden Rule to treat others as I want to be treated.
I will practice the virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
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  • slyfoot

Serenity Chaplet

I came up with an idea for a "Serenity Chaplet", prayed on a regular 5 decade rosary. It was partly inspired by my sponsor. Only the beads are used, not the chain.

"Serenity Chaplet"

Cross self: "In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit"

Our Father (1x)
Jesus Prayer (3x)
Serenity Prayer (1x)

[Repeat for 5 Decades]
Jesus Prayer (10x)
Serenity Prayer (1x)

***

The Serenity Prayer is: "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."

In the Jesus Prayer, an addiction can be substituted for "sinner", such as "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, an [alcoholic/addict]."

I've been doing this for a while now and it is one of my favorite spiritual exercises. The discipline is doing me a lot of good.
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  • slyfoot

The Hunting Of The Snark

I think I have taken a cue from a friend: I have declared war on my inner snark.

Due to recent events, I've begun to realize that I need a change in my own attitude, and progress begins with the realization that I can and must change for the better. I'm Generation X, and as I've mentioned before, many of my generation have foolishly acted as if we've invented snark and irony. We didn't, of course. I think our worst cultural invention is probably the dismissive airquotes, in which we put words in quotes to indicate that we are too superior, too sophisticated, too cynical, too jaded to accept it. This incessant striving to be hip, to be in the know, to be cleverer-than-thou is, I think, self-destructive. But I'm a product of my generation, and I've given into such things far too often myself.

I am now at the point where I strive for sincerity and simplicity, which ought not to be confused with simple-mindedness. I'm tired of the feints and counterfeints wrapped in poisonous irony or snark which pass for witticisms. I think there is some secret, tiny core of my being that is made just a little bit grimmer, just a little bit deader, when I contribute to this kind of pollution in communications. What is wrong with earnestness? What is wrong with openness? There is something wrong when I feel that I have to pretend to be hipper than I am, to be always ready with the bon mot, the clever riposte. Why should wit be cutting? Why can't wit heal instead? Why is irreverent humor a cultural virtue? What is wrong with reverence?

I find that in my best moments there is a quietness, a serenity, which gives me strength, but strength ought not to be used to stomp on the weak, but to build them up. Lately I think I have begun to see people in a new light, that (like me) often what they say on the surface covers up something which they do not want you to see. Consider the idea, the next time you see a feeding frenzy of snark or wank, that underneath all the bravado and bluster and "haha OMG lulz U R stupid" that there is a very tiny person inside, more of a piranha than a shark, who would be cannibalized themselves the moment they lose their status, their cred, the moment they start being a human and not a piranha.

Cynicism is unhealthy spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Snark and wank and mockery are symptoms of a deeper disease, and when I do it (which, unfortunately, I have) I know that I am not centered, not tranquil. There's more than one kind of humor, you know. There is the lighthearted kind of humor that causes us to throw back the head and laugh with joy, or the belly laugh at the silly and fun; then there is the stomach-tightening laughter of mockery, the spiteful laughter which sounds like the braying of jackasses. Surely it is not so difficult to understand that one is healthy and brings release, while the other kind kills us all just a little inside?

This has been a long time in coming, and it has been something that I have been thinking about off and on for several years. I've tried it before, and I'm going to try it again. I'm declaring war on my inner cynic, and hunting down and killing the inner snark. I might not be able to change others, but I can change myself.
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  • slyfoot

Stepping Down

Hey folks, I just wanted to let you all know that I am stepping down as maintainer of this community. I leave it to yardlong because I believe she is quite capable of doing it alone.

May you all find the serenity you seek.
--Slyfoot
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  • slyfoot

Jumping To Conclusions

I wrote the following meditation of serenity in my journal earlier tonight:

I learned two valuable lessons today about jumping to conclusions. I really must try to remember Milo from The Phantom Tollbooth more often.

Fortunately all's well that end's well... and for the first time in a long, looong time, I found myself singing Kumbaya... totally without sarcasm, totally without irony, singing with every ounce of my soul a word I don't even know the meaning of. Kumbaya, my Lord. Kumbaya.

And it feels good. *grin*

Note--I'm told it means "Come by here", which fits approximately what I thought it meant.
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  • slyfoot

Serenity Challenge: Giving Thanks



Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the US. It's often a day of feasting and merriment with friends and family. It's also a day that's set aside to reflect upon the things we have to be thankful for. But really, any day can be a day to be thankful, right? In fact, I see this as an essential key to a serene life.

Many of you will be busy tomorrow with "real" life, caught up in the rush of cooking and celebration with friends and family. The Serenity Challenge+ to you for this Thanksgiving week is to find a few quiet moments to list some of the things you are thankful for. They can be tangible or intangible things, simple or complex things, but things that you are really thankful for.

Here's 10 things I am really thankful for:

* God's mercy
* Friends
* Family
* A great roommate
* A peaceful home
* A nice TV
* A computer
* A new 20" monitor
* A speedy internet connection
* Some cool computer games


+ The Serenity Challenge is an idea that cat_irix suggested. It's a challenge to experiment with ways that can help us find more inner peace. Thanks to Irix for the suggestion!