By Lisabet Sarai
God give me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
To change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
I haven't been to a Twelve Step meeting in decades, but the simple prayer above is still a tool I use regularly in dealing with my life. It captures a great deal of wisdom in just a single sentence, suggesting a strategy for overcoming frustration, worry and despair.
The crux of that technique? Maybe some people focus on the acceptance aspect, the notion that fighting against something that's inevitable and immutable simply wastes precious emotional energy without solving any problems. I definitely believe that's true. I resonate strongly with the Buddhist notion that attachment is the source of suffering.
For me, however, the most important function of the so-called Serenity Prayer is to remind me that I have the power to choose, to change aspects of my existence that don't seem to be working well. When I'm unhappy, I've learned to examine the situation in order to determine whether I in fact have any control over the ostensible causes.
Over the past six months, I've been feeling that Oh Get a Grip was floundering. We've had last minute topics, missed posts, Saturdays without guests. Even more distressing was the fact that I wasn't enjoying the process of blogging much anymore. I viewed my Sunday post as one more task I had to get done, a not-necessarily-pleasant responsibility with an inconvenient deadline. That attitude has probably been reflected in the quality of my posts, too (although I'd like to believe that isn't true).
I was aware of my negative emotions swirling around the Grip, but for quite a while I felt powerless to do much about them. I didn't want to shut the blog down – I know we have loyal readers, and anyway I personally love reading the contributions of my fellow blog members. And yet I felt as though I couldn't honestly keep doing it, week after week after week. The blog was draining me, stealing time from my writing, making me feel guilty... I felt trapped.
When I raised the issue with the other blog members, I discovered they had similar feelings – both positive and negative. Together we realized that we didn't have to accept things the way they were, that we could engineer changes to the blog schedule and content without throwing in the towel completely.
So starting this week, you'll see several changes here at Oh Get a Grip. Instead of having daily posts, we'll offer new content three times weekly, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And each of us will post on alternate weeks. We'll still moot topics to stimulate our creativity and encourage dialogue, but each topic will span two weeks, so every Gripper will have the opportunity to weigh in. We've also modified our procedures for choosing topics, so everyone will know the subject under discussion well in advance - but that's an internal issue. Finally, we won't have regular Saturday guests anymore. However, since we'll have Tuesdays and Thursdays free, we're very open if any other authors want to come and play with us on a temporary basis. (If you'd like to be a guest blogger at the Grip, just email me at the address you'll find here: http://www.lisabetsarai.com/links.html.)
We hope that our loyal readers feel as positively about these changes as we do. I'm excited by the prospect of having more time to think about my posts and to pen essays or fiction snippets that really sparkle. And I'm proud that we have had the courage to take the steps necessary to keep the Grip alive and growing – as opposed to just giving up.