Surrendering to Serenity

It’s the beginning of a new page, and like the beginning of a new day, it brings a certain intrigue and hope to see what will come forth. It’s a new season in the desert as well, and yes, the desert does experience a change of seasons. Lately, the mornings have greeted me with a breath of crisp cool desert air, just enough chill to make you break out the boots and long sleeves before stepping out under the deceiving sunshine of blue skies.

By now fall has abandoned the East coast forests, making its way toward the West, brushing the desert’s stubborn earthy palette with a swath of golds and yellows. The desert has its own version of evergreen forests, Saguaros and Palo Verde trees cling to their pale green cover of color through the winter, showing how resistant they are to nature’s cue to change.

Maybe it’s the wave of fall’s creative influence where my own brush of creativity swipes at the page again. The connection between writing and nature is obvious to me, the open expanse of the desert can compare to the vastness of a blank page, there are those days when the attempt to write appears as dry as the Hassayampa River, with no sign of nature’s flow in sight. It is on those parched days when you pray for a cloud of creativity to flood you with new words, channeling their way to the page in a downpour.

In the same way the draw of the West called me to return, the page also beckoned my return. Even after long periods of neglect, less than ideal settings, and a plethora of unfinished ramblings, it continues to keep this coquetry going, whether I like it or not. I’ve tried many times to release myself from its seduction, to distance myself from this relationship, by setting up unattainable goals and unrealistic expectations, but like a persistent shadow it continues to pursue me.

While the desert is my muse, and the page my companion, both have been my constant in this shifting adventure called life. Woven and imbued in my very being, no matter how much I’ve tried to let them go. And if there is one thing I’ve learned over this past half century of living is that acceptance holds the key to inner peace. It took a very long time to learn that, or rather “accept” that nugget of wisdom; to enjoy life more fully is to accept what is, not what you think it should be.

Learning acceptance doesn’t always eliminate struggle and it is in those moments of contemplation when I lean on the prayer of serenity, “Lord grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

“Acceptance – Courage – Wisdom are guideposts to the writing life.”

My writer’s serenity prayer goes like this “Lord grant me the serenity to accept that my words belong on the page, courage to change the mindset that they don’t, and the wisdom to know that this is all part of the writing process.”

The tenuous pushing away, only to be pulled back, the ebb and flow of this beautifully challenging relationship is as natural as a new season, sinuous, eventually falling into place in its own time.

Surrendering to serenity, is Nature’s way of teaching us to accept our own edges as part of who we are, and to continue thriving no matter how harsh the conditions. Summer in the desert, or winter in the Rockies, they both adapt to change willingly, knowing it will all come and go again. So as my writing life and this blog continues to adapt to the changing seasons, I’ll keep surrendering to the process, allowing what needs to be written to surface in its own time, unforced, while surrendering to the imperfect nature of it all.