Serenity not Security

Sarah Ban Breathnach
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Has this ever happened to you? You pick up a book and a sentence leaps off the page as if it had been written just for you. Or you hear a revelation in the lyrics of a song. Sometimes an angel seems to whisper in your ear.

One ordinary morning I realized I was emotionally and physically exhausted from concentrating on things I wanted to buy but couldn't afford. I felt trapped in a vicious circle. The more I focused on lack and on what I couldn't have, the more depressed I became. The more depressed I became the more I focused on lack. My soul whispered that what I really yearned for was not financial security but financial serenity. I was still--quiet enough to listen. At that moment I acknowledged the deep longing in my heart. What I hungered for was an inner peace that the world could not take away. I asked for help and committed to following wheresoever my spirit would lead me. For the first time in my life I discarded my five-year goals and became a seeker, a pilgrim, a sojourner.

When I surrendered my desire for security and sought serenity instead, I looked at my life with open eyes. [...] When I looked at my life's ledger I realized I was a very rich woman. My heart began to overflow with gratefulness. I started giving thanks for everything: daisies in a jelly jar on my kitchen windowsill, the sweet fragrance of my daughter's hair, the first sip of tea in the morning, pork roast with apples and cranberries for Sunday supper, hearing the words "I love you" before I went to sleep. Each day began to offer me authentic moments of pleasure and contentment. But hadn't they before? The difference was that I was now noticing and appreciating each day's gifts.

The power of gratefulness caught me by surprise. "No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made," Agnes de Mille reminds us. "Destiny is made known silently."

--Sarah Ban Breathnach

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