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Posts Tagged ‘challenges’

We’re not really on an alphabetical kick here (starting with all the As), but this week’s topic is Acceptance.

Many of you may be familiar with what is commonly called the ‘Serenity Prayer’.  There are many versions out there (and its full history is still being uncovered), but here is an approximation for our purposes:

Help us accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, to have courage to change the things which should be changed, and to have enough wisdom to distinguish the difference.

The most common version of the above lines is attributed to Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), part of a longer piece that continues living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

The popularity of these words lie in their universality.  Each of us has something in our lives, about ourselves, that we’d like to change – something about ourselves, our situation, our environment.  Often the things we focus on are those over which we can have the least influence, or the influence we have it not always clear.  Family, tradition, and culture can, at times, be stifling, constricting, limiting.   We hear every day that the world contains a multitude of serious problems, many of which seem totally beyond our ability to effect.  Work’s challenges can be burdensome, politically arduous, frustrating, even emasculating.   The subtle nuances of emotion, love, and relationships can elude us.  Our sense of self inevitably contains some element of frustration with our body and our physical expectations.  These and other troubles can cause us to question our courage, our strength of character, even our masculinity.  Just when we start to feel we might be reaching a point of balance, age steps in and changes all the rules.

It is also said that the only constant in life is change, yet clearly there are things that we cannot (and should not) change.  Wrestling with this distinction is the final part of the above quote.  These words are also about control – what and when.  Many studies have shown a healthy human requires some sense of purpose or control over their life, yet fate and circumstance often seem to conspire to leave us feeling powerless.  Dr. James Hollis, author and Jungian Analyst, states that In moments of powerlessness, we may paradoxically find a terrible freedom, and thereby wrest our spirits away from delimiting Ananke*, or necessity (What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life, 2009).   He is referring to the opportunity to abandon our usual management systems (denial, projection onto others, addiction, frenetic activity) and choose new, more appropriate models.

* Ananke (Greek myth) – primeval goddess of destiny, necessity, and fate

I look forward to meeting and discussing the above.

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Monday, August the 2nd, From 7:30-9:30pm

The topic will be what are the struggles or challenges you find yourself facing, and what has been your most recent triumph, and if possible how does this tie into your larger biography? The format will be to simply share a little about yourself, the theme may help provide some focus. If you want to share something else that’s perfectly fine as well.
Seeds for thought on the theme. These are not prescriptive, they can be entry points or ways of thinking about the topic, but there are many other ways to approach it, which may work better for you.
  • Is there a person or situation that is causing you stress or anxiety? What about this situation isn’t working for you?
  • Is your challenge totally new, or is it recurrent? What brings it on? What makes it better? What do you want to do about it?
  • What have you recently accomplished or overcome? What was the struggle? What makes the victory sweet?
  • What change needed to happen for you? How is this applicable for the rest of your life?

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