The serenity prayer
The ‘Serenity Prayer’ is powerful statement of personal philosophy for our times.
“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” (Written in 1934 by Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892-1971, US theologian, writer and teacher.)
Paraphrased versions have been developed to appeal to a modern audience:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change; the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (Using “God,” at the beginning, and whether to refer to the quote as a prayer I’d say are optional depending on your audience – it’s the philosophy that’s important, not whether it’s attached to a particular religion.)
“To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.” (Theodore Roosevelt, 1858-1919, from his Message to Congress, 3 December 1907)
“It is the same when Siddhartha has an aim, a goal. Siddhartha does nothing; he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he goes through the affairs of the world like the stone through water, without doing anything, without bestirring himself; he is drawn and lets himself fall.” (Hermann Hesse, 1877-1962, Swiss novelist, poet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, from his book Siddhartha, 1922, based on Gautama Buddha’s early life. With acknowledgements to http://www.thedailyinspiration.com)
“There is another more subtle way in which the innocence of childhood is lost: when the child is infected with the desire to become somebody. Contemplate the crowds of people who are striving might and main to become, not what Nature intended them to be – musicians, cooks, mechanics, carpenters, gardeners, inventors – but somebody: to become successful, famous, powerful; to become something that will bring, not quiet and self-fulfillment, but self-glorification and self-expansion.” Tony deMello SJ, 1931-87, Indian spiritual leader and writer, from The Way to Love – with acknowledgements to thedailyinspiration)
“Smile tho’ your heart is aching,
Smile even tho’ it’s breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by.
If you smile thro’ your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You’ll see the sun come shining through; for you.”
(John Turner & Geoffrey Parsons, 1954.)
“Close your eyes and imagine where you want to be. Imagine the complete journey you need to take in order to get there. Now go pack. Your reservations have been made.” Michelle Ustaszeski (b.1969), American writer and photographer for inspirational products.