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  • Nancy Ogilvie

From Waiting to Serving

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

Principle: We get to choose whether we focus on what's out of our control or what we can change.

Practice/Prayer: The Serenity Prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr: God/dess, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


Lately, I’ve been feeling at the end of my rope with the pandemic, just wanting it to BE OVER already, NOW!!! I’m done with lockdown – done with being home all the time, done with not seeing friends and family, done with ordering groceries and picking them up a week later. I don’t know what I would have done without Zoom, and I do feel grateful to be well connected with friends and family. But I miss touching and hugging them!

I understand full well that this impatience, while quintessentially human, does not serve me. It creates an obstacle between me and Spirit – when I’m this frustrated, I certainly don’t feel connected with Her, and I am unable to see the gifts She might be offering. So I’ve been praying for Her to give me patience and help me see the possibilities in the pandemic.

Today in my meditation, She answered that prayer. I saw clearly how I’ve made myself powerless by focusing on waiting for the lockdown to end. I’ve made my well-being dependent on a change that is entirely out of my control, wanting it to happen NOW!!! In short, I’ve been waiting on others to give me what I need to feel good about myself and my life. And sad to say, that’s a very familiar position for me – I feel trapped, without any choice or agency.

Clarity about that pattern was the first step in my meditation yesterday. The second was seeing a clear alternative: shifting my focus from what I can’t do because of the shutdown to what I CAN do. I began asking myself questions like:

· What could I contribute?

· What do I have to give?

· How can I best serve Spirit?

As these questions shifted my focus from what I can't change to what I can, I connected with an overflowing sense of gratitude and abundance. “Oh yeah, I’ve already been given so much, and I’m a skilled, capable woman. I have skills and gifts to offer, and there are many ways I could be helpful to others. My challenges are so much less than some people’s.”

When I focused on my own unmet needs and waited for others to meet them, I felt powerless and frustrated. I got angrier by the moment. When I shifted my focus to what I can contribute, how I can serve, I chose to take my power back. I was no longer helplessly waiting for others to make decisions about when my needs would be met. It was my choice to feel helpless and angry or to feel empowered and useful. It was my choice to feel deprived or abundant. What a revelation!

1 comment

1 Comment

Dec 25, 2020

A wise older friend once said, as we get older, our choices may narrow, but the one choice we always have is our attitude.

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