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Change

Recently I came across a different take on the ‘Serenity Prayer’ which struck a chord, and continues to make me chuckle.

‘Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change The courage to change the one I can And the wisdom to know it′s me’
It′s so easy to think how much better the world would be, if only people thought the way I did. We can see this tendency on a personal and global level, throughout the story of humans on this planet. As a child, I believed that if we put all the good people, those who were in tune with the religious doctrine I was fed, on one side, and get rid of all the bad people, those who disagreed, life would be perfect.

My four year old grandson recently told his Mum that he ‘knew everything about everything — life, people and glitter’. How wonderful at that age to have such confidence. Unfortunately, some people grow into adulthood with the same conviction and are happy to impose what they know as ‘the truth’ on anybody unlucky enough to be in their company. We′ve probably all come across people who are similar to the woman who C.S. Lewis mentions who ‘was always trying to help, and you could see the people she was trying to help, by the hunted look in their eye.′

How is it that we are sometimes arrogant enough to think we know what′s best for other people, when we′re often not even aware of what′s best for us. Coming from this place of superiority, we often try to impose our ideas on others. We forget to listen to their perspectives, which mostly far exceed in relevance and usefulness, the beliefs we might have about what they should or shouldn′t do. And out the window once again, goes the power of mutual learning.

I′m not interested in dogma or intractable ideas. My Mum used to say that ‘rules were meant for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise people.’ I decided a long time ago that in this instance I was a wise person and what comes to me in the way of rules or fixed ideas is always under scrutiny. What seems important is to stay open to fresh ideas and really listen, especially.

when they are at variance with our own, rather than immediately rejecting them. This is an ongoing challenge for many of us.

If we are willing to examine and let go of archaic beliefs we may have picked up from the past and open ourselves to new horizons, we can continually expand and grow, remembering that the only person we can change is ‘moi.’

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