What does the word serenity mean to you?
Is it just living day to day life, accepting whatever comes your way? Perhaps, sometimes questioning the bad things that happen....with a...."Why me?" Just accepting the good that comes along, perhaps occasionally saying a "thank you", to whatever divine being you believe in?
I met a woman of 65 years today, actually we had two meetings today, in that first meeting to all outward appearances I had the impression that she was serene, tranquil. That for her life was as it should be, she was content, at peace with who she is, how she lives, loves.
Ten minutes into our conversation though, it was startling clear to me that she was far from serene. Yet, I do not think she knows it, she is one of those people that I think of as living life shallowly.
If we had had only one meeting, I would have eventually forgotten my secondary impression of her, assumed that she was just having a "not so tranquil" day.
But we did meet again, within 30 minutes of her leaving my office, she returned with a whole new set of questions, a whole new set of problems. She was searching for answers, but the questions were not the questions she needed to be asking, nor were the answers I gave her the answers she needed. She came back, because she is afraid to be alone with herself.
Her outer appearance so deceiving, her voice, her mannerisms all emoted serenity.
Yet.....within moments of beginning conversation with her, I knew, she is living only outwardly.
She does not search within herself to find the answers to her fears, to find the answers to her loneliness, to her agitations. She is experiencing the very early stages of an illness....COPD....a respiratory ailment, a disease that kills many. Yet she is in such early stages of the disease that it has not effected the quality of her life, she has many avenues open to her if she were willing to explore them. If she were willing to discover the nitty gritty details of her illness, discover the many possibilities that exist to maintain a fine quality of life for many more years to come. This illness is the only fact I know about her life.
What my intuition informed me of her though, is that she is lonely, very lonely, she is unsure of her future, yet not willing to explore within herself to find her many possibilities. She looks outward to satisfy her inner needs.
Looking outwardly for satisfaction of uncertainty is the easiest for many. If we spend too much time looking inward, we may find things about ourselves that we do not like....and once that happens.....then we might have to do some deeper self-examination, and make some changes.
Changing our inner selves takes work. Work of a kind that is harder than even the most intense physical labor.....change within also does not afford one with that feeling of immediate gratification of a job well done.
Change within is a never ending process. We may have moments, those phenomenally exciting moments when we realize that we have reached a plateau along the journey of becoming who we want to be. But those of us that explore our inner depths, also know that we have not reached that pinnacle of becoming. Although I am not entirely sure we ever reach that culminating point of becoming the best human being we can be. Exactly because we are human.
I used to believe that the ultimate place to be in my life, as a human being, a kind, loving human being would be the place I call serenity.
So what does reaching a serenity of being mean to me?
Comfort, acceptance with me, who I am.
Confidence, a sureness that I will do the most true, right thing in any given situation.
Tranquility, an inner peace that develops as I grow, as I learn to give to, and fully accept those I love for being who they are.
Serenity is the awareness that I am being the best being I can be, the awareness that I will make mistakes, the awareness that I am simple one divine human being among many.
At least that is what it means to me today. I could change my mind tomorrow.....but that very changeableness.....is huge part of who I am. A flawed human being seeking serenity.