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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jungle Lessons-- a path to Serenity in every day life!

SERENITY- the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace. [Serenity week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

From It's a Small World Ride Photo by "Disney Philip"

I've been hopping around the internet looking for tips or tools that will help us experience more serenity. I had an idea to possibly share the top five ways to inject Serenity or something like that when I stumbled across this: "see the glass as already broken!" then it all clicked! The number one reason I find serenity so allusive is that I am always expecting perfection. Not necessarily physical perfection, as that statement implies but perfection in how things are SUPPOSED to feel, look, be enjoyed etc. 

Case in point, the other day Jessie was talking about the It's a Small World ride and how much she liked the African jungle part of the ride when I came up with the inspired idea to recreate that jungle right in our home. We strung ribbon across our living room. Made leaves and flowers. In no time we had quite the display.

Then very quickly I hatched a vision of an entire week of fun projects. We could make the leaves and flowers today. Tomorrow we can hang birds and other fun stuff (notice the party blower J added!) and the next day would be butterflies and other bugs the next... I imagined "playing jungle" for days and singing "It's a Small World," reading jungle related books... a whole cornucopia of activities that would keep ME and  The Girl interested in playing together.

What actually happened is we got as far as you see in the first photo and then J started asking things like, "When can we pull it down mommy?" and "I want to cut more mommy, PLEASE can I cut more??" 

I spent the next day protecting my vision. "J please don't pull on it! Let's keep it up for Daddy to see!" Frankly it wasn't all that fun. Finally I relented and let J cut to her hearts content. It wasn't nearly as bad I thought. She really was quite deliberate in her cutting and we had a good half hour of cutting fun until she eyed the strings! And after the first string fell cry's to "fix it mommy" rang out and we hung it back up.

By not protecting it I had allowed J to see the consequences of her actions AND it relieved so much pressure. I supposedly did this for her fun but when I got committed to how I wanted things to go it stopped being fun for either of us.

At this point in time a few strings remain. We may or may not add to them and next time J asks "When can we pull it down?" I will happily say "How about right now?!" 

So how about you? Where have you gotten committed to things being a certain way? What would happen if you let go of that? What if you approached already expecting things to go differently? 

Disappointments  are always possible but if we expect them and look at the glass as already broken it might very well be possible to enjoy what ever actually shows up.

Ahhh now that sounds serene!

[Inspiration for this post came from reading "A Beautiful Method to Find Peace of Mind" over at the Zen Habits website. Do check it out for even more tension relieving insights!]

Next Post: What ever shows up!

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  1. It always seems to go completely different than I had anticipated around here...sigh. I guess if I just let go it would be more fun, wouldn't it???

    Thanks for swinging by and helping to make my SITS day so spectacular! Your time and your words mean the world to me.

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma, What's for Dinner?

  2. I have nothing to say about serenity (I'm not very good at "serenity") but I have a lot to say about your beautiful "It's a Small World" living room. It's wonderful! ("Small World" is my favorite ride. When we visited Disneyland at the start of April we went on it twice. I love it so much.) And I spy a familiar little birdie with a feathered tail hanging from your jungle vines. Such a sweet & pretty birdie!

    Thanks for the wonderful words re: the process of giving up perfectionism on the path to serenity. Letting go of expectations is so difficult and so important...

  3. P.S. I cannot find the button on your blog for SITS... am curious -- would like to have a look...

  4. That is so freaking cool! I just want to say that! In addition to saying that, I want to thank you for letting this be a genuine life teaching moment for your daughter. Far to many parents throw out the word NO super quickly, but their kids don't know why and never learn that only to move onto making bigger mistakes later in an effort to find out WHY they've been told know. Allowing children to live and explore and learn is essential to proper development and you have shown a wonderful example of that here. Okay. I'll get off my teacher soap box now. But thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you for teaching your child to think and learn from her mistakes by actually MAKING them!

  5. Visiting from Digg...I'm a new follower.

    Hope you had a great Mother's Day!

  6. What a great idea!!! My daughter would totally love this! Thanks for your sweet words about my post over at The Scoop on Poop. Perfection is overrated:)

  7. What a great idea!!! So much fun. And I, too, like that you were courageous enough to let your daughter take down your masterpiece. I can understand the disappointment - I sometimes want the whole world to be as much in love with things as I am sometimes. I am happy to see that your daughter wanted the creation to be placed up again as well. As Jingle mentioned, a learning experience for her as well as for you. Great post!


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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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