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I'm not going to go into details, but I was raised knowing the Serenity Prayer. Not being a particularly religious person, I had about as much use for it as I did for the Lord's Prayer -- namely, it was something memorized and said by rote when everyone else started reciting it. I never really gave much thought to the words and what they meant, but it stuck, lodged in my brain like the lyrics of some song from the '80s I probably should have forgotten long ago.
Today I was working on my weight loss "homework." I was writing in my journal, noting the progress I had made. It took some work, because I had neglected to do it the last couple of days. I was feeling overwhelmed by life in general and the last thing I wanted to do was analyze it. But the only way to ride is to get back on that damned horse when he throws you off, so I was determined to get back into the groove. I thought about what had sent me into this last tailspin. What was the emotion that I wanted so badly to escape from?
It wasn't too challenging to figure it out. It was that feeling of complete and utter powerlessness that comes over me when I'm faced with E. and his seemingly insurmountable challenges. I feel powerless in the face of Asperger's. I feel powerless in the face of the school system that wants him to fail before he can begin to succeed. I feel powerless about not having money to simply throw at the problem and make it go away.
There it was, my limiting belief. "I am powerless." Okay. Now, to change it into an empowering belief. And suddenly, there it was, in my head: "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." I suddenly understood every word of that little mantra. It meant something to me, today, in that moment, despite my previous lack of connection.
The things I cannot change:
- E.'s condition(s)
- The system that the school is trapped in
- The cost of the programs I want
- E.'s behavior
- E.'s reactions
- Other people's behavior
- Other people's reactions
The things I can:
- How I respond
- How I deal with the school
- The level of information I have
- The level of education I have
- The steps I can take to learn how to work within the system
- My own behavior
It's another tool in my arsenal. It doesn't mean that there won't be any more bad days. There will still be bad days. There will still be times when I feel powerless in the face of the challenge. There are times when I forget to use the tools that I have. But every tool I add increases my chances of finding the right one for the occasion.