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It’s All There in the Serenity Prayer

Nook Schoenfeld • Editor's NoteNovember 2020 • November 4, 2020

Nook Schoenfeld

It’s important that we all keep in touch with each other, now more than ever as winter’s cold creeps in. I’ve found many colleagues have grown bored with the same old quarantine routine and don’t even want to join any Zoom meetings, just to rehash the same stuff or ask the same questions they already know the answers to. I happened to hear from my old friend Robert Mokry, proprietor of LightParts down in Austin, TX the other day. I asked how he was doing and, well, he just went off… in a good way that I’d like to share with y’all.

Robert Mokry

“Well this is a topic I’m quite passionate about. How to accept the sh*t show our business is enduring without our heads exploding. It’s all in The Serenity Prayer. ‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’

“BTW, this isn’t a ‘Christian’ idea. The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism address this, as does Stoic teaching (plsn.me/pillars) and The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It appears wise people over millennia have recognized the importance of this line of thinking.

“But acceptance can be really hard when it’s this bad. Our industry has had to accept some very hard realities. And on many days, the list of ‘things I can change’ is often pretty short. That’s a great recipe for fear, anxiety and depression. I say that from first-hand experience. I say the Serenity Prayer often these days, more this year than in all my life previous. All I can do is affect the things I can change. So what are some of those things?

  • Self care — exercising, eating right, watching my drinking. I was forgetting all this stuff at the beginning but have gotten back on track. And it’s made a huge difference in my attitude and outlook.
  • Meditating morning and night, being cognizant of the gratitude for what I still have — health, family, friends, home, music. The important stuff.
  • Networking with colleagues via email, phone, etc. The people are the main reason I was attracted to this business, and I don’t want to damage or lose those valuable (both professional and personal) connections. I make a point every day to reach out to as many of my industry buddies as time will allow. For my mental and spiritual health, as well as theirs.
  • Emailing my congress people to lobby for RESTART and aid for our industry.
  • Waking up every day, getting my ass out of bed and working as hard as I can on “the things I can change,” no matter how short that list is today. Then ending my day knowing I did what I could. Avoiding fretting over stuff I have no control over.
  • Using some of the spare time I have to do for others. There’s nothing like helping others to make me feel better. This could be mowing the yard for the old people up the street or picking up some groceries for them.
  • Managing my jealously and resentment of others who haven’t been affected the way we have, who don’t seem to understand what we’re facing as an industry.

“I was whining to Anne Hunter at Rosco about this, saying, ‘Is there any worse industry to be in right now?’ Anne replied, ‘How about being a first responder?’ Thanks Anne,” Robert concludes. “I needed that slap upside the head of perspective, for real.”

After listening to Mokry’s rant, I felt quite a bit better. Maybe we all just need a slap in the head once in a while. Why don’t you reach out and say hi to Mokry at robert@lightparts.com.

 

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