A Call to Courage First…Serenity Prayer

Most nights, I can still my busy mind and fall asleep easily. Recently, I had thoughts that just wouldn’t still, quit or quiet.  I tossed, I turned, I centered and still they persisted. I was getting more agitated with each turn, with each breath, and felt there was no relief in sight. Then, the words of the Serenity prayer, as I’ve know them, popped into my head… “(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.” As I lay there rolling these words around and calming my mind, they started to change order in my prayer. I started asking for courage first, then serenity. My mind started playing with me, “asking what’s the right order?” As if it mattered at 3am? And, quiet did come. I was able to sleep.

This inquiry of the order of operation, like math, about the Serenity Prayer stayed with me. I did a search and found it on Wikipedia. The original version of the prayer was written in 1932 by Reinhold Niebuhr, who was rarely attributed for its origin. Wikipedia states, “Niebuhr’s prayer originally asked for courage first, and specifically for changing things that must be changed, not things that simply can be changed:

Father, give us courage to change what must be altered,
serenity to accept what cannot be helped,
and the insight to know the one from the other.”

This was a wake up call for me, a call to arms, a fire inside my heart that said, you MUST act. I feel that we, collectively as the human race, have used “acceptance” as a way of avoidance, of excuse, and of becoming the herd following the misguided shepherds or “leaders” (term used loosely). I have to accept what I cannot change, right? What can I do, I’m just one person? Who would listen to me, anyway? This is blind acceptance…becoming apathetic, indifferent, and numbing to the issues of the world, our community and even our own personal existence. Many people think this way…and look at where we are! Earth’s resources are diminishing, civil and global unrest, pandemic, economic devastation. Let’s not forget the inequality among gender, race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic divisions. The world is simply A MESS! It is time to stop rolling over like submissive dogs.

Yes, individuals are waking up! They are finding courage. They are coming back to the order of operations of the original Serenity Prayer. This is a good thing and we need MORE!!! I had a client recently say that he was taught to do everything you can first, to exhaust every option…THEN accept what’s left. There are things happening now THAT MUST BE ALTERED!!!! There is much that CAN BE HELPED!!! And we, collectively, have the power to change things. I would say, our lives depend on it.

So, what can we do? Take this prayer, this mantra to heart…even if prayer is not your thing. Find courage. Take action. Even a small act, done with great love is enough, according to Mother Teresa. Awaken from the herd mind. Stop rolling over! Speak to your Source, God, Universe, or Higher Self and ONLY accept once all the options are exhausted. Things MUST change. Please try it.

I pray this now:

Give us courage to change what MUST be altered,
serenity to accept what cannot be helped,
and the insight to know the difference.

Blessings and Peace,

Blue Jean Oracle