If you’ve read The Hero’s Choice, or followed me for very long, then you’re familiar with the Serenity Model, which suggests four different ways of being–Survival (all about fear and just getting by), Security (about being safe and pleasing others), Success (about achieving and accomplishing), and Serenity (about living consciously, from choice).
Serenity is more than a quiet, meditative approach to life. In fact, as I live from this place, I’m alive, aware and fully engaged. I also get that what matters most is not “outside”–my bank account, job title, house, fame, performance (how many games/contracts I win). Not that these are not important. I climb a mountain. I build a business. I give the game my best. But the mountain, the business, the game are no longer the end. They are the means to a higher end–the end of being fully conscious, present, and responsible for my life. The end of living from the “inside out, in which nothing is bigger than my ability to choose my response and how I’ll live. A new way of living based on a new set of rules.
When living in Serenity, life feels meaningful, whole and complete. Rather than struggling, I find inner harmony by being present to the moment and learning to make good choices, even in difficult circumstances. Not that this is easy. But, slowly, that ability to make good, strengthening choices leads me to high self-esteem and a deep sense of confidence and well-being. I can trust myself rather than live in fear and anxiety. I trust the goodness and abundance of life. I feel more connected with the infinite, God. I accept responsibility for myself, not just my accomplishments, but also my reactions and inner experience. I cease to see myself as acted upon by circumstances, events, and others but recognize my own choice-making as primary in creating both my inner experience and outer reality.
I become less preoccupied with ego and appearances. Although I set goals and achieve, I also ask deeper questions related to my “being.” “Who am I?” What is my purpose?” “How do I want to live?” From the answers to these questions, my life takes on more meaning. Accomplishments are a means and not simply an end. I’m less frantic about my goals. I don’t demand perfection of myself but seek to do as much as possible with the talents I have been given. I learn that the inner qualities of love, joy and peace are, in the long-run, more enduring than outward successes.
My personal relationships are enjoyable and not an after-thought. I become more interested in others and want to reach out to them in service and love. I let go of judgments and truly care. I want to “win” in my interactions with others, but also want them to “win.” When things go wrong I’ll deal with them openly and without manipulation. The world feels like a good and friendly place. What resonates for you?
Growth is a conscious process. It doesn’t happen simply by reading words on a page. You have to make it happen by doing something with those words.
That’s something I like to do, periodically–think about an aspect of serenity and commit to living it for a day or week. Right now, my focus is on being fully present and conscious. When in this mode (mood), I like to eliminate media distractions (TV, radio, newspaper, online news, i-tunes) and pay attention to the simple act of eating my breakfast, washing dishes, going for a run, whatever. I like to notice the feelings that wash over me during the day, but without acting them out. Being present centers me. It helps me get in touch with a calmer place in side.
On another occasion, I may focus on seeing and trusting the goodness of life. On another occasion, choosing to let go of “perfectionism” and value the talents I’ve been given. On another occasion, I quieting the chatter in my head that keeps me from being “with” another person, so I really look at them and appreciate their goodness or point of view. And so on.
I don’t believe that changing my focus in this way is so much about developing a particular attribute as “coming from” that attribute. It is already in me, often buried. I simply want to access it and live from it. Doing so is a deliberate choice. And the more I do so the easier it becomes and not because I’ve changed but because I’m trusting who I really am.
So take a few minutes to think about this question. What part of the serenity description resonates with you, today? Identify it. Perhaps even write it down. Then consider–how do you choose to live it today and over the next few days? Remember, we don’t become who we are meant to be by the mere passage of time, but by deciding. The only way to change is to change. And, if you choose, leave a comment, sharing your experience with others.