The Serenity Runes are proving a useful tool for daily mindfulness.
One of the sweetest presents I got for my birthday this year was quite an unusual one – the Serenity Runes.
They were from my friend K, who is a Christian. As anyone will know who has read this blog regularly, I am a galloping atheist, but K and I manage to not argue about our different belief systems.
It’s odd that she should pick the Serenity Prayer, by Reinhold Niebuhr, because it was always a favourite of mine when I was a believer, along with the poem by Max Ehrmann that begins: "Go quietly amid the noise and haste…"
You don’t need to be a believer to benefit from the Serenity Prayer – just replace God with Fate or Nature or whatever you DO believe in. It reads:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
My runes are written on polished amethysts (my favourite stone, as it happens) – you just pop your hand in the bag, jiggle the stones, and pick out a rune as your theme for the day. Since I have replaced God with Nature, my runes are Nature, Serenity, Acceptance, Courage and Wisdom. Each morning I pick out a rune and then try to remember to meditate on that theme or practise that virtue for the rest of the day.
It is proving surprisingly useful. When I was detoured into a massive traffic jam the other day when I went to pick up the DH from the station, I almost panicked (I am a person who likes to know where I’m going at all times), but then I remembered that my word of the day was Acceptance, so I wound the windows down, breathed deeply and went with the flow – the delay was only some 30 minutes.
Today my rune said Courage, which I am trying to remember as I struggle with incipient bronchitis. It’s not bad as yet, but I have a history of bad attacks of bronchitis, necessitating antibiotics, which then trigger a flare of my ulcerative colitis, and on it goes. I have never, in years, had a cold that didn’t turn to bronchitis, and I find it very frightening, so courage is definitely in order at the moment.
I suppose one should practise all the virtues on a daily basis, but it would obviously be too much. Limiting it to one a day is a useful exercise, and in fact I’m thinking of adding some more, such as Cheerfulness, Charity and Compassion – a use for some of those pebbles I lug back from Brittany after every holiday.
The Serenity Runes are available from Amazon.