Finding serenity during times of chaos

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Sometimes the only option is to go with the flow

By Dr. Matthew Lapp, Columnist, The Times

CTColLogoMattLappThe snow is beautiful the first few times it blankets the landscape, but at this point I have had enough of winter. With that said, there is not a whole lot that I can do about it, short from removing myself completely and traveling to a warm, sunny beach in South America.

Times like these bring to mind a famous poem originally penned by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1943.  Since then, the Serenity Poem has been adopted by various twelve-step programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as numerous individuals as a guide to handling life’s daily challenges.  The poem reads:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

Often times, we try to control our present moment in hopes of gaining favorable outcomes in the future. For instance, we may write down our ‘to do’ list at the crack of dawn and plan everything down to the minute until we go to bed that evening.  However, there are days and moments when our perfectly planned ‘to do’ list becomes irrelevant due to circumstances beyond our control.

Our recent bought of power outages caused by severe weather conditions are a perfect example.  Although a snow day allows us a good excuse to slow down and spend time with family or catching up with a good friend, these imposed circumstances create disruption to our daily routine and force us to give in to Mother Nature’s plan.  This chaos can be handled in two ways, we can either give in and just be in the present moment or we can be resistant and let these uncontrollable circumstances get the better of us. Either way, we get to choose, even when we are at our limit and have had enough.

This powerful quote by Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, describes the power of embracing the present moment versus seeking to control the future. He states that:

“The present moment, is at best, a means to an end, a stepping stone to the future, because the future promises fulfillment, the future promises salvation in one form or another. The only problem is the future never comes. Life is always now. Whatever happens, whatever you experience, feel, think, do its always now, its all there is. The road to enlightenment is generally thought to be found in sustaining the practice of living in the present.”

So how do we do that?  How do we live in the present moment and create serenity now? To start, we can take a deep breath and let go of our resistance and need to control every moment.  We can work to create the space in our lives to be still, even if it’s only for a minute or two at a time.  With each breath we have the ability to quiet our mind and experience our present moment more fully. We can seek greater awareness and wisdom about ourselves, our lives and our relationships with the focus on accepting life, just as it is, without judgement of the way things should be.

We get the choice as to where we put our focus, our time, and our energy.  We can choose to focus on things beyond our control, like the weather and all the disruptions to our daily routines that it can impose, or we can take the courageous route and initiate action on things that we have the ability to change in the present moment. The challenge, and the opportunity, is to continually distinguish the difference between the two.

Drs. Allison and Matthew Lapp are the owners of Salus Chiropractic Studio in Thorndale. For more tips on living a health, happy life, visit them on Facebook at

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