Sunday, August 16, 2015


Not this Serenity ...

Not that I have an Issue with Firefly.

I love that series and the movie.  Such an incredible cast working together perfectly to bring their story to life.

A group of misfits jumping around the galaxy just trying to get by.  Despite all the ... ummm ... interesting situations they wound up in they managed to work together and survive.

It was such unique story, but unfortunately it never had any success in the mainstream markets.

If that were the serenity I was looking for ... If I was a character on Firefly, I would definitely want to be River Tam.

River went through so much in her life, but she still survive.  She is such an awesome character.

She is an absolute genius.

Alright ... she was an intense, psychotic killing machine created by the government.  Despite that little quirk she was such a survivor and truly protected those she cared about in the end.

So obviously I'm not devoting a blog entry to a sci-fi show.

Okay, maybe not so obviously as I do tend to ramble on about some different topics.

Many years ago my first therapist insisted that I recite the serenity prayer several times every day ... "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change ..."

This is an issue for me.  If things bother me I want to  change them.

Yes ... it is my issue and I need to work on it.

Yes ... I know there are many things I cannot change.

Eventually I do realize that if I continue to worry or gripe that I'll just cause myself unnecessary stress ... the problem is trying to figure this out earlier in the process rather than dreading things for days or weeks.

I think the problem lies in the interpretation of the word accept.  When many people hear this word they think of:

       - To take or receive (something offered); receive with approval or favor.

       - To agree or consent to; accede to:

There are many definitions to "accept."

If you look at the etymology it is derived directly from Latin "acceptare:"  Take or receive willingly,

Sometimes the more appropriate definitions to use are:

       - To accommodate or reconcile oneself to:

       - To regard as true or sound; believe:

Also, when something happens that is harsh or unexpected happens the prayer does not say, "God make me joyous or excited ..."  It says, "grant me the serenity ..."

Serenity - from the Latin root meaning clearness.  Today it means tranquil or calm.  Back in the 1500s the word was used in regards to weather.  Clear or calm weather makes sense.  Being clear or calm in life also makes sense.

The prayer doesn't say immediate calmness or acceptance.  It is asking for the capacity to be serene so I can be able to receive or accept things.

If I were to get rear-ended it is not likely that I will be tranquil right after the accident.  I will need to deal with the immediate shock, possibly physical injuries ... I will contemplate how this may affect me in the immediate future.  How will I get to work?  What if we need to replace the car?

When I call Pam she will have the same worries.

These emotions are normal ... they are human.

Asking for the serenity to accept the situation means being able to stay calm enough to handle it in a clear minded manner.

I have seen many people get hit and they start screaming at the other driver.  Sometimes they threaten physical violence ... or inflict physical violence.  This is neither calm, clear minded nor accepting.

I know I cannot un-rear-end my car ... I cannot un-break an ankle ... I cannot undo, reverse or change many things.  I do not have to like it; I simply need to ask for the calmness to stay clear minded and accept it.

A small example ... a small step in the right direction.  Last week I found out that my company was changing my medical insurances.  I was scared.  Would my doctors be covered?  Would my medications be covered?

I did have a brief meltdown while trying to find the information, but it was brief.  I was given this serenity that often eludes me and I realized that whether or not my issues were covered that this was going to happen.  I realized that there would be a solution to the issues regardless of the answers to my concerns.

Pam did a little research and found that everything we currently have is still covered.

This was a good lesson to carry with me through other issues.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chasing sunsets

The Ventura County Fair
from Grant Park

It seems like I am consistently finding myself ignoring some aspect of my life ... my well being ... my sanity and spiritual wellness.

Recently I have been ignoring my "me" time.

Unfortunately this is an aspect of my life that often suffers as I concentrate on other issues.  I do not really have any time to spend "me" time.  I know there will not always be time for me, so I need to take advantage of it when I can.

This week has been a stressful week.  There have been so many things going on at work that I feel like I'm running in circles ... in thick mud ... carrying a 50 pound trashbag full of Jello.  I was feeling really worn out and was getting a little stressed.

The Ventura County Fair is running this time of year.  It is held at Seaside Park near the Ventura pier.

I had gone up into the hills above Ventura to take pictures about a week before.  Grant Park (known locally as The Cross) has a wonderful view.  I was able to take several pictures from there and was happy with them

I had an idea for a different picture ... the sun setting behind the fair and the pier.  I just needed to be near there at sunset.  I needed me time.

Seagulls swooping over the beach
I got some me time.

Thursday evening Pam and I went to the beach.  It was nice being out of the house ... and not being at work.  We made sure we got there about an hour before the sunset.

Pam waited in the car while I walked out toward the ocean ... this is a story in itself, but I will just say that my legs were not used to (and probably not ready to) walk in the sand for that distance.

The picture
the sun setting behind the fair
Spending the hour on the beach was really relaxing.  I took so many photos; caught several good shots.  I still haven't looked at them all, but many are very similar.

Seeing the pictures after I got home made everything about this week just fade away for a while.  The waiting and planning were worth the time. I definitely need to make sure I get some amount of me time on a somewhat regular basis, whether it's taking photos, riding my bike or just going for a walk.