This week I received a lovely email from a reader thanking me for my book Serenity in Motion, which was first published in 2003.
“I got your Serenity In Motion book many years ago, and it has been one of the only books I can pick up and receive a blessing from, even when in resistance or disconnect. …your book is the one that has consistently spoken to my heart and all parts of me. …I lost (your book) a year or so ago. …Just finding (it again) and your website gives me a sense of ‘oh, here are those simple yet elegant reminders of how a single moment can bring comfort and strength’. Thank you for who you are and your book.”
I am so grateful to this reader for taking the time out to thank me. It is gratifying to know that my books are out there helping others to embrace a mindful and peaceful way of living.
If I wrote this book today, it would be different. I am different. But the message would be the same. As it has been for thousands of years. The nice thing about it—and me—being the same but different, is that I can pick up and read my own book as if I were just a reader, and be reminded of the time-tested practical tools of mindfulness, pure and simple.
When I wrote this book the word mindfulness was not in vogue, as it is today, but that is what this book is all about. So I will be posting excerpts from it on a regular basis to remind myself and my readers that to be present, in this moment right now, is the key to Inner Peace: Anytime, Anywhere.
From the Introduction:
The complexity of our lives, the daily challenges that we encounter, and the myriad large and small decisions that we continually must make can challenge even the most serene of us. Yet even as we resist it, most of us are up to this challenge, because we intuitively know that we can rise above it all and not allow it to defeat us.
So let this book be your guide until you can tap into your own intuitive reservoir for all the solutions. Here you will find suggestions for dealing with some typical issues that might come your way on any given day. Keep in mind that it cannot cover every possible scenario. Your life is unique, as are your particular life’s circumstances, not to mention the feelings and personality that you bring to everything. No one can know without a doubt what the future holds. In the end, it is up to you to meet each moment as it arrives, with honesty, integrity, and an open and willing heart.
All it takes is a decision. Not just one decision, but many throughout each day. Make a vow to yourself at the start of your day and renew it as often as necessary as the day progresses. This is the key to serenity. This is about accepting that each new moment is just that—new. And that no one moment can be duplicated exactly. This will give you a fresh start, a new opportunity to reinvent yourself every moment and live fully and completely, aware and awake, present in the magnanimous now.
Serenity in Motion is a primer for learning how to approach the world without reservation, fear, or self-imposed impediments. It is a tool to use while you train yourself to rely on yourself. Carry it with you, refer to it, and take the suggestions. Try new ways of looking at situations, of communicating with others, of seeing the world. Then start to take bigger risks and, finally, let your intuition guide you. Trust it. It will never fail you or let you down. And if you maintain a positive attitude, your worries will not overwhelm you. And most of all: remember to laugh. Simply laugh and be grateful for your life. In the end, it is all you have.
There are a few main themes or threads running through Serenity in Motion. They are:
•Embrace whatever it is that pains you
•Loosen the tight hold you have on people, places, and things; good and bad
•Keep a positive attitude
•Cultivate a sense of gratitude
•Pay attention and
•Practice, practice, practice
Some of these may seem contradictory, like embracing something only to then let it go. Think of it instead as a paradox that’s not supposed to make conceptual sense. Right here, right now, is the perfect opportunity to practice these two suggestions. Here’s how: embrace your confusion; don’t let it detain you or stop you from moving on. Allow yourself to be confused and then keep going. Once you’ve accepted your confusion, fully and completely, you no longer have a need to hold on. Just let go. Relax your grasp on it. And then notice how easy it is to let go once you’ve embraced it, compared to how impossible it was to resist it, push it away, and make it disappear.
Anytime you get stuck, refer to this simple exercise and practice it on the spot. Keep practicing it until it becomes second nature. Strive for perfection, but don’t expect it. You may never reach perfection, but you will come to understand that the process itself is perfect.