Picture your ideal life. No, seriously. Close your eyes for a minute and picture your ideal day, week, year.......
Now come back to reality. How closely does that ideal life you are picturing mirror the life you're currently living? Hmm.... yes, I thought so.
So what are we going do about it?
If you pictured a high powered job, globe-trotting lifestyle or a large house, then I’m not the one to advise you, but if you pictured a comfortable work/life balance, living happily and contentedly within your means, spending time doing what you love, and living in an uncluttered, simple, healthy and nurturing environment, then read on.
To start with let's look at what Serenity really means...
The dictionary defines serenity as 'being without worry, stress or disturbance', but I see it as something much deeper than that. Do you know anyone who has a life free from worry, stress or disturbance? I certainly don't - but I do know people who are truly contented, despite these things.
To me serenity is a two-fold thing - and it begins with a feeling of inner strength and assurance.
- Accepting that worry, stress and disturbance are inevitable.
- Allowing yourself to feel hurt, pain, frustration - and then moving on.
- Accepting your own shortcomings and those of others.
- Not looking to others for validation.
- Taking responsibility for the decisions you have made and the direction you are heading.
- Refusing to be a 'victim' of your circumstances.
- Refusing to blame anyone else for your feelings and opinions.
- Turning obstacles into opportunities.
- Savouring all the positive things in your life - even the tiny, hidden ones.
- Nurturing yourself, treating yourself gently.
When you have that balance and that confidence in the life you're living, you can see the low points in their proper perspective and face them with confidence.
Life Balance - Image courtesy of stewardshipoflife.org
The second essential component of serenity is the outer environment that you create for yourself.
- Freeing yourself from whatever is causing you worry, stress or disturbance.
- Finding ways to pare down your wants and needs.
- Finding joy and peace in the simplest pleasures.
- Surrounding yourself with who and what makes you happy.
- Looking at where your money is going and weighing up how many hours you work to pay for each new purchase.
This is the key to creating a simple environment.
Does that make sense?
It makes sense to me. I face things like job worries, family illness, and financial hiccups as we all do, but it's how I deal with these challenges in the context of my life that is the key. I’ve simplified my outlook on life as well as creating a harmonious environment for myself. If you insist on letting go of the wheel, lamenting your bad luck, and blaming everyone else for things that go wrong, then your life is already a delicate balancing act. It doesn't take much to send you tumbling into chaos.
So, serenity - to me - is about both inner fortitude and flexibility, and about outwardly crafting a life that is un-encumbered and tranquil. And a good place to start is with the words of Henry David Thoreau...'Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!'