I am currently immersed in a very serene pattern in life. Despite the world outside demanding that my thoughts turn to hate, rage, spite, fear, and indifference.
If there’s one thing I have learned in my 58 years walking this planet, it’s that every single person you encounter is carrying a heavy load. Some emotional, physical, psychological, or spiritual burden is bearing down on them. Maybe it’s a problem at work. Or in a marriage. Or raising kids. Or dealing with grief or loneliness. I could list a hundred other things here and it would barely scratch the surface. The point is – everyone is dealing with shit. As such, none of us are unique in that regard. We all got something.
Keeping this idea at the fore of my mind has been a blessing in terms of practicing empathy. And, as we know, empathy is connected to society. When we care about each other, life gets better. For all of us. When we don’t, and we focus inward only, we turn into a society that prioritizes self. And that’s basically where we’re at now as a society – walking a tightrope between empathy and indifference.
If there is another thing I’ve learned in my 58 years walking this planet, it’s that life is a constant dance between darkness and light. Happiness and sadness. Joy and anger. Good times and bad. Back and forth over and over and over ad nauseam.
Decades ago when I started going to AA, one of the mantras they reinforced was, “This too shall pass.” I used to get so pissed when I’d see this placard on the walls of the rooms. How dare they diminish my unique struggle? But then I started noticing how true it was. And so when something bad would happen, I’d remember that it’s only temporary. And sure enough, over the years whenever I was going through a tough spell – it would eventually pass into history.
In December 2021, as the doctor told me the news that I had cancer, I felt the warm presence of God. it was weird. I hadn’t felt it like that in a while – which is 100% on me. But there it was – a reminder that whether I lived or died, everything was going to work out. It was like donning spiritual armor and was such a powerful moment that for the past 13 months, I’ve held this feeling close to my heart. And you know what? Serenity has ensued.
Despite the battle with cancer. Despite struggles with personal relationships. Despite losing two dogs I loved very much. Despite the world outside raging with fear.
Ebb and flow. Don’t get too high, don’t get too low. This too shall pass. And everything is going to work out. It might not work out how you want it to. It might not work out when you want it to. But I promise, it’ll work out. And it’s up to you to accept it.
So what’s the secret?
By recognizing that my heart is at peace, I am present in the moment. And in this world, being in a moment might be the toughest thing we do. We are so busy planning what comes next, worrying about the future, concerning ourselves with things that are utterly out of our control – that our mind steals us from these moments. Steals us from experiencing peace.
Life is perilous. No one knows what’s coming round the bend. When the tide ebbs and and when it flows. But it does. It always does.
Right now I am in a very good place. I am experiencing a great deal of peace.
It’s critical for me to take the time to recognize this. Because this is as close to serenity as it gets – and for me, the goal of living is to achieve inner peace. But without the presence of mind to recognize these flows of serenity, I’ll take them for granted and my life will feel like a series of trials. Like most of our lives do.
Anyway, pay attention. Understand that we are all going through shit. And when you do find yourself in a moment of peace, maybe say a simple prayer of thanks.