Thursday, June 14, 2012

Getting a Tattoo, Getting a Massage, Giving Blood--Things Where the Serenity Prayer Helps

Today, I got my first tattoo.  Color  will be added in September.  It turned out to be more than I could ever have imagined.  The artist was incredible and the process was not something I'd want to do every day but really not so bad.

I commented to Emily (the artist) while she was working that I was glad I had chosen to get it in a place that I really couldn't easily see while she was working.  She found this curious and told me that whenever she got a new one she would do everything she could to contort herself to see.  She talked about being a type A personality.

At the time, I said that I saw an analogy with getting a full body massage.  And since then I have also thought of an analogy with the process of giving blood.  The last of these is highly ironic given the wait to donate after getting a tattoo in at least some places.

What is the analogy.  Well, I relate it back to the Serenity prayer--where i ask for the courage to change things I can and the serenity to accept those I can't.  Before I decide to donate blood, to get a massage, or to get a tattoo I have the power to make the choice.  To choose to do it.  Doesn't take much courage to get a therapeutic massage but getting a tattoo and giving blood require at least a bit of gumption--if not courage.  But once I have started, in any of the three settings (tattooing, massaging, or blood donation), I simply let go.  There is nothing more I can do.  All I can do is have the experience.  That sets me free.  My leg muscles tightened a little, but I did not break a sweat and I did not have my heart rate go up.  I just relaxed.

Sometimes, we have to figure out that we can change things we don't want to.  But the ability to accept those things that we truly cannot change is an amazing release.  It is almost empowering to let go.     

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