It’s pretty simple: I think that the cure for discomfort is control. I am wrong.

While other cave people were fighting or fleeing, my ancestors were making Gantt charts. If we could just get an intellectual handle on the situation, understand the variables and get tasks on the calendar, things would be okay.

When I get scared (which is, honestly, any time I stop to think), I immediately want to fix it. Instead, I invite myself to apply serenity.

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.

I don’t need to fix my negative thoughts or emotions. I can just let them be. As long as they are passing through, things will be okay. It’s when I indulge them, when I invite them in for whiskey and gabfests, that we get into trouble. If I believe my thoughts and emotions are the Permanent Truth, life gets nasty.

I can’t fix my physical circumstances. My legs and arm are paralyzed and my disability is increasing. But the promise to surrender patiently needs to be paired with “I will reinvent whimsically.” Rather than heading for despair, I want to use my imagination to expand the possible.

Some things can be – and need to be – fixed. That’s why patient surrender needs to be paired with “I will advocate courageously.” I want to take action against injustice. I want to work for the common good. I want to take advantage of palliative care.

Okay, it’s not a Gantt chart, but it is a chart. I couldn’t help myself. Call it the Chart of Applied Serenity.