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Beside Restful Waters

by Gregory Hermann

God, 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.

The Serenity Prayer

I call this my “space prayer”.

I have been in several recent discussions regarding space. I have said or heard many statements regarding space.

This is a safe space.

I need to protect my space.

My space is so cluttered.

Stay out of my space.

I would like to invite you in to your own space for a few moments.

What is occupying your space?

Worry about Covid, paying bills, kids in school, conflict with someone.......

How can anyone consider voting for ….......

Whose life matters?

This pain is unbearable!

What is occupying your space?

What can you do about it?

This familiar prayer is a tremendous personal challenge. I allow others to occupy a great deal of my space. Those who riot and plunder generate anger and hostility in me. Politicians generate anger and fear in me. People who are suffering generate empathic pain in me. Abuse of the environment; abuse of other people; drivers who cut me off; people who disrespect me; I think you get the point. Life has a way of invading my space with anger, fear, hostility.......

Acceptance? Serenity? These decisions to accept and be serene are difficult. These decisions require a change in my way of thinking. Damn!!!! I don't like to change.

I don't like to change, period.

Change is like learning a new yoga pose. My latest challenge in the head stand. I was afraid of this pose. I could fall and break my neck! It takes a great deal of strength. I have to be upside down. So, I had to face the fear – I had to practice, with courage, to change the fear into confidence. I trusted other instructors to guide me.

Then, I had to practice poses that challenged my strength and balance. There is that “P” word again – practice. Practice requires that I study myself, make changes to avoid the dangers, and practice some more.

I needed a prop, a wall to be my safety net when I lost balance and avoided my dreaded fall. The help of the prop gave me confidence to advance the practice.

Literally yesterday I executed the pose, not as fast or as long as the other person in class, but I did it AND I celebrated.

I executed the Serenity Prayer: When I set the goal, I had to accept my fear and my inability to execute the pose. Practice was with courage to change, slowly and methodically. Wisdom was the recognition that I couldn't execute the pose like others. I had to use methods that were safe for my body and mind.

This is a way to change my fears, my anxieties, my habit of blaming others for my emotional garbage. Asking for help is a humble act of courage and acceptance of the fact that I cannot make these changes alone. I really have to practice asking for help – it takes me a lot of practice, and humility, and more practice. Then there is the wisdom piece. I find the exercise of wisdom to be an ongoing experiment. I have to try something different to learn the difference.

I have to try something different to learn the difference. This is risky stuff because different is.... well, different. It is change and I don't like change because it is different.

The head stand turns me upside down. That's really different as it requires a totally new perspective, but it really feels good when done.

Sooooooo! Do you have some space that needs to be turned inside out? Is there something you need to turn upside down? Can you take it in steps to build the strength to begin the turn? Can you ask for help to guide you safely to know which changes to make and how to make them safely? Will you take the risk to learn the difference between safe and unsafe practices?

Together, we create safe spaces.

Together we identify what we can and cannot change.

Together, we practice the steps toward open and safe spaces.

Together we learn, come to know the differences.

We got this!

We find ourselves celebrating beside restful waters, or some other restful space.


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