Regarding Survival and Serenity
sur·viv·al – /sərˈvīvəl/
Noun: The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances. / An object or practice that has continued to exist from an earlier time.
Survival is a good thing, right? It sounds so strong and heroic, doesn’t it? In many cases, it is! It very literally means “I survived something much bigger than myself and I’m still here to tell you about it!” Survival is to be applauded and commended!
I am a survivor. I survived infertility. I survived several failed domestic adoption attempts and crooked baby sellers. I survived a nasty case of international fraud in which we lost a lot of money. I survived more than one unethical adoption worker and government official who cared far more about lining their own pockets than they did about helping families or kids. I survived 6 weeks in Eastern Europe…and most of it living in a hot hotel room with no kitchen amenities and an AWOL translator. I have survived parenting RAD, PTSD, ADHD, FASD and all that comes with it.
I am still surviving all the parenting stuff…and so is my husband. Our marriage has been shaken to its core at times, but we’ve survived. Our daughter has survived all of it with us. She has not escaped unscathed. No one who lives with this stuff does. And then there’s my boys. Oh yes, they’ve turned our world upside down, inside out, and stomped on it. But they, too, are survivors. They have mentally, physically, and emotionally survived more than any human being should ever have to endure, and they are healing. As a family, we have weathered many storms and have survived nearly blowing apart at the seams more than once.
On the other hand, survival is also very passive. It is nothing more than mere existence. It is getting up every day and putting one foot in front of the other and merely going through the motions of life. After a while, the heroism of survival wears off and it leaves us dull and lifeless. I spent many years of my life living in this place. By many years, I mean over a decade. Those on the outside applauded and praised me for what I was doing, but on the inside, I felt very little. I was exhausted, numb, and quite literally a walking zombie just waiting for the apocalypse.
Then one day, I woke up. The life I have isn’t one I chose. It isn’t one I would wish on anyone else, either. But it’s mine. It’s what I have been given. Though I didn’t choose the circumstances that surround and dominate my life (or the lives of my children), I do still get to choose what I do with them.
Serenity is better!
se·ren·i·ty – /səˈrenitē/
Noun: The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.
Ahhh…serenity – I love this word! Even just hearing the word inspires me to slow down, take a big deep breath, and try to find my happy place in my heart and mind. Serenity is a state of calm, peace, and contentment. After living and surviving in a chaotic world for so long, these are the things that I crave more than anything!
For a very long time, my only choice survival. My life had been reduced to get up, keep going, and keep doing or fail. There was really nothing in between…until I woke up and realized that there was and is. The day I realized I had had enough and I wanted something different was the day my life changed forever.
That was the day I sought help for myself. It was the day I chose to fight back and win. It was the day I knew for sure that light is stronger than darkness and the journey to find it is worth it.
It was not an easy process getting there. It took a lot of hard work and conscious, consistent effort, but I made it. I found my way out of hell and I found serenity in the process! It didn’t happen overnight, and getting there wasn’t a linear process. There have been many ins and outs and ups and downs. I also made many mistakes along the way…and I have learned a lot from them, too.
Notice there is no mention anywhere that finding serenity means the hard stuff goes away. It doesn’t. It probably won’t. In fact, I don’t think serenity really exists without chaos. Serenity isn’t a thriving, independent metropolis. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Serenity is a little island oasis in the middle of it. It is an active state of being content and thriving among and in spite of the chaos.
Here is something very neat, though. As I, the mom, began finding my own way back to the light, my family followed me. I didn’t really see it coming, but it happened anyway. My marriage got stronger and my kids began the steady and lasting process of genuine healing and attachment. We still have our days and moments where things are a struggle. We also know there are no guarantees for what the future holds, either. What I do know, though, is that my own capacity to deal with whatever comes is exponentially greater than it used to be and sure feels good to be where we are now.
Are you ready to find serenity?
Are you ready to find these things for yourself? I found my way out of chaos and darkness. I’d love to help you do the same. Schedule a free Courageous Parent Session with me and see if what I offer is the right fit to help you on your journey.