Tag Archives: serenity

The Secret: Serenity AND Ambition

By Jim Selman | Bio

New Year’s is a time to reflect and remember. I was reviewing some old ‘resolutions’ and came upon one that has served me well over the years. It may be one of the most useful and relevant bits of wisdom I have to share with people.

“The important thing is to choose what we have and give up our attachment to what we don’t have—so we can have the space to create our dreams and manifest our intention.”

This says a lot and can boggle the mind a bit. Most of us think we are attached to the things we have, not the things we don’t have. This statement also challenges our commonsense notion of how we relate to what we do have—especially if you are thinking that what you have ‘is not enough’. 

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The Wisdom to Know the Difference

By Jim Selman | Bio

Think about the positive attributes of growing older, and ‘wisdom’ will always appear near the top of the list. Until recently, I had assumed ‘wisdom’ was a kind of ‘right knowledge’. Every time someone says the Serenity Prayer, I am reminded of this attribute again.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I wonder if I do know the difference.

On one level, I have learned a degree of serenity and think I am more or less accepting of most things in life. Yet I still fret about our political leadership, the drift toward corporate oligarchy, the environment, TV programming, traffic and a hundred other things that I think should be

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By Jim Selman | Bio

I don’t think that age is personal. I know it feels like it is ‘me’ that is getting older, but I don’t experience myself as older. If anything, I experience my ‘self’ as being ‘better’ than at any time I can remember over the past 66 years. I feel more ‘alive’, more engaged, more present and more satisfied than ever. It is true that my body can’t run, wrestle or climb as easily as in the past. I make love more often

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Too Late Smart

By Irene Noble

Admittedly my vision of my granddaughter
is somewhat impaired by my love for her, but for the life of me I fail
to understand how she became so wise so soon. We are
both an only child, both raised by a single parent (a father for her,
and a mother for me). We share a “jack of all trades” DNA. I watch her
now as she, like my younger self, slightly out of focus, tries her
wings. Like a hummingbird sampling nectars looking for the

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By Jim Selman | Bio


This way of thinking about and relating to life is one of the most persistent and difficult aspects of our culture. Everything is either this or that. And if it isn’t this, it must be that.

We are either independent or dependent.

We are either the part or the whole.

We can be unified and whole or we can be fragmented and incomplete.

If something isn’t true, it must be false.

If something isn’t wrong, then it is right.

And on it goes….

This either/or mode of observing

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Serene Ambition

I was talking with a fellow recently who was asking why this blog is called Serene Ambition™. He thought that the two words didn’t seem to go together. He could get ‘serenity’ and also understand ‘ambition’, but together they made no sense to him. In our normal way of relating to the world, you can have serenity (meaning inner peace, calmness, maybe even joy) or you can be ambitious (meaning committed to creating or accomplishing something in the future)—but not

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Redefining Success

By Shae Hadden | Bio

I’ve been thinking about how we define success, and observing how serene people become when they feel ‘successful’. For most of my life, I’ve focused my thinking on achieving the traditional symbols of success: significant recognition, meaningful associations with particular people, my own home, specific possessions. Something shifted in me a few years ago when I realized none of these ‘mean’ anything when we reach the end of our journey. They hold only peripheral interest for me now.

Life gets fired at us point blank. And I notice that my actions continue to be predicated on my old definition of success. So I need a new definition to provide a more empowering context for my future, one more in line with my current thinking. Here’s my first stab at a new ‘take’ on success. If I can live the following, I may be successful:

  • Sincerity – listening generously and speaking authentically
  • Understanding – learning about my self and others and our world
  • Commitment – being clear about what I’m committed to and acting on my commitments
  • Courage –acknowledging my fears…and being in action anyway
  • Empowerment – developing others to be who they choose to be (and myself as who I choose to be)
  • Standing – for others and the future I’m committed to
  • Serenity – surrendering to ‘what is’ and trusting intention

As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” So to be successful, I’m committing to these habits:

  • Smiling for no reason
  • Loving compassionately and unconditionally
  • Listening with my whole being
  • Speaking powerfully
  • Singing spontaneously
  • Playing with work
  • Sharing my joy and passion
  • Doing what’s necessary to be energized, healthy and serene
  • Expressing gratitude for the arrival of each new day, every new person, and all the ‘breakdowns’ in life.

So how do you define

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Scientist Searching for God in the Brain

Recent research by neuroscientist Mario Beauregard of the University of Montreal attempts to pinpoint what happens in the brain during a ‘mystical experience’. Dubbed ‘neurotheology’ or ‘spiritual neuroscience’, this new line of inquiry may marry religion in a science in a way that could make it possible to make people’s lives "happier, healthier and better able to concentrate". Read the full Scientific American article, Searching

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One of the things we need to learn if we haven’t learned it by the time we reach retirement and our ‘golden years’ is how to deal with loss. Aside from the obvious loss of friends and family though death and incapacitating illness, we have a host of other things we can ‘lose’, such as systems of support, material possessions, our physical abilities and perhaps most importantly—possibility. Not everyone experiences loss and certainly not in the same way. But loss, whether real or perceived,

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Healing in Dying

By Kay Costley-White

The most joyful person I have ever met was a young man dying of AIDS. Chris’s path to serenity had been long and difficult.  In the early 1990s, his family, afraid of their community’s reaction to his gay lifestyle, rejected him. He moved from central Canada to Vancouver, developed a family of choice, and lived with a partner committed to a life-long relationship. But his partner and many of his friends died of AIDS. Then his place of employment found out the reason for his many absences for sick leave, and he was fired on the spot. Later, life-threatening infections kept him in hospital, too weak to care for himself. When I knew him, he understood that there was no hope for a cure or prolongation of his life. Medicine could do nothing beyond keeping him comfortable, and he was facing his imminent death.  But
the healing of who he was as a person—his mind, emotions and
spirit—induced people to visit his room to get a taste of his radiance.
 How could someone with such losses possibly be joyful? How had Chris got to this place of profound personal healing in the face of death? Did he have some strong religious faith to sustain him through his dark hours?  It appeared that he had opened to the anguish that can be a part of living, totally surrendered to his personal chaos, and eventually emerged beyond its confines. Witnesses to such a deep process are often left with healing of their own, a sort of ripple effect that produces a feeling of abundance in loved ones and professional caregivers alike.  You may ask, “What does this have to do with me—I’m still healthy and active?” While most people don’t aspire to the transcendence Chris demonstrated, we can all prepare ourselves to face our dying. We can explore our fear, participate in therapies to help us face the horror of final goodbyes, and find technologies to help us reach forgiveness. Employing these strategies requires courage and a certain tolerance for the unknown. But the process releases energy, and we may find that the degree of our readiness for death is directly related to the quality of our lives now. Chris showed us that opening to the full meaning of dying can enrich our experience of living. In demonstrating joy, serenity and gratitude in the face of death, he was an inspiration to the humanity in each of us, a source of hope for the growth of the human spirit. read more