Wellness can be guided by "The Serenity Prayer"

Lighthouse column
By: Angela Ponivas, M.S.W. Special to The News Messenger
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No matter what your religious beliefs, most of us have heard ?The Serenity Prayer? at one point in life. This prayer offers 24 words to wellness and never were there more true words in which to live by, because it sums up the healthiest mindset. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Serenity, being the first key word here, can be hard to achieve when we are in pain and distress. We must find a way to quiet our minds and to be calm if we want to think clearly. Prayer and meditation are two ways that can help with this process. Soft music can also calm the mind. It is important to find what relaxes you. Acceptance, the next key word, truly is the first and foremost important item we can achieve in life, especially, when we want to heal from grief. We cannot change others; we can only change ourselves. Courage to change the things I can. We can only change ourselves. We can change our basic beliefs, attitudes, actions, reactions, habits, situation and even our emotions. Our emotions are based upon many aspects, including our life experiences and beliefs. If we can figure out how our life experiences have affected us, we may find that our knee-jerk reactions may come from those experiences that were more significant or traumatic, causing us to overreact to current circumstances. Our beliefs come from everything we see, hear, learn and experience from the time we were born. Many beliefs are based on family culture, experiences and traditions. However, as adults, we have the ability to question those traditions, explore new ways, choose new traditions and change the way we view matters. When we educate ourselves, and search for wellness, our emotions will change as we uncover and develop new beliefs. The wisdom to know the difference. This is the ability to be truthful enough with ourselves to see the difference. When we believe one way all of our lives, changing everything we ever thought and believed is not easy but it is not impossible. We tend to not change until it becomes too painful to remain the same. Therefore, pain is an excellent motivator and catalyst for change. When we begin to look at ourselves and our belief systems, the task to begin change may seem overwhelming but it is never more than you can handle. When we begin to open ourselves to new possibilities, it?s like a floodgate opens and all this new knowledge suddenly comes flowing in. Some call it an ?ah-ha? moment and others call it a spiritual awakening. Whatever you call it, the sky is the limit when the light comes and you begin to accept what you cannot change, change what you can and you know the difference. You can achieve anything with serenity, courage and wisdom. If you are going through a challenging time in your life and need help finding serenity, acceptance and wisdom, then call the Lighthouse at 645-3300. We provide individual and group counseling as well as wellness education classes that can help you find the strength and support necessary to overcome difficulties. Angela Ponivas, M.S.W., is the Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center?s executive director. Her phone is 645-3300; address is 427 A St., Suite 400; and Web site is