Wednesday, June 16, 2004

god grant me the serenity

okay, first line - what is serenity to me?

i first felt serenity in that micro moment i realized that chocolate had stopped talking to me. i don't know if this sounds far fetched or weird, but unfinished boxes or bags of chocolate would 'call to me' or 'summon me', literally speak to me telling me to "come and eat me, i'm still here, if you don't someone else will beat you to me, finish me, you'll feel better, you know you can't resist". twisted stuff like that. i don't know if it was mental unbalance or something spiritual, but it was finally gone.

i used to think i was the only one, but i've mentioned this a couple times in group and others have smiled that knowing smile - yes, you are not alone.

i think it was about 5-7 days off chocolate, when that crazed withdrawal feeling was passing and there was silence.

i had serenity. granted by god. nothing tastes as good as that felt. nothing.

it can be elusive though, it slips away as mysteriously as it arrives. i can give it away or even allow it to be stolen. but it only comes from god.

this is why i could never be an agnostic. i am reminded of that passage in john 6 where jesus tells the crowd - 'eat my body, drink my blood' and they fled. he turned to the disciples and say 'you're still here??" and one of them (probably peter) said 'where would we go?'

that is truly what keeps me sometimes - where would i go? who else can grant me serenity but you god?

i've tried to suck it out of liam (and the boyfriends before him), i've even tried to substitute ministry and good things to bring me serenity - but they are incapable of granting it to me.

there is no magic genie, no drug, drink or substance that will bring me what i long for.


i almost wanted to name my daughter serenity before she was born. but then i realized that there would be many times she would keep me up at night screaming or be demanding and i heard myself saying 'not now serenity, please stop crying' - we quickly abandoned that one.

it is my daily prayer. god, please grant me serenity today - and help me not to trade anything for it. anxiety, anger, fear, control, food or meeting my own needs apart from you. breathe.

one of the things that i suffer from is the inability to breathe. i catch myself holding my breath, even when nothing stressful is happening. i will be typing and find myself light headed and realize i'm doing it again. somewhere back 'there' i think i thought that holding my breath would make me invisible, unnoticeable, in control. it didn't work. but i still to this moment don't breathe like normal human beings do.

part of my serenity includes breathing. in, out, in, out. it almost seems like i hate the rhythm of it all. repetitive rhythm gives me anxiety. the ticking of a loud clock stresses me out. having to listen to a clothes dryer tumble will about drive me round the bend. maybe i can't breath because my own rhythm brings me stress? i don't really know. i do know it is common for abuse sufferers. i even have to have a sound machine in our bedroom because listening to liam's breathing in and out throws off my own breathing.

so many times a day i have to remind myself to breathe. deep filling breaths, cleansing me, refilling me. granting me serenity.

i also clench my jaw. lock solid. before we moved stateside i had the most amazing dentist. i only saw him a couple of times, but he changed my life, honest he did.

he said 'bobbie, you grind your teeth.'

'no i don't'

'yes you do'.

i argued a bit and he said that the only time my teeth should touch is when i'm chewing. huh? really.

he told me that there should be enough space between your resting teeth to hold a pencil. (but remember your lips should be closed - slack jaw mouth breathing isn't serenity!)

he told me 6 times a day to ask myself 'bobbie, where are you teeth?' it sounds stupid, but try it. if they are clenched i had to separate them and concentrate on relaxing, (it's harder than it sounds) and eventually i had mastered the skill of unclenching my jaw.

those skull crawling headaches disappeared. my shoulders, that used to be up around my ears lowered and my back relaxed, my neck actually had range of motion. it was glorious!

that's what serenity feels like to me - deep intentional breaths, relaxed muscles and silence in my head. i know that when those three things are missing they are red flags that indicate my serenity is slipping or all together gone.

and even today - nothing tastes as good as serenity feels.

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