I recently purchased a calendar refill for my daytimer -- yes, I know there are electronic ways to stay organized, and I use them too! -- and was delighted to discover an inspirational theme for each month of 2019. For January, the theme is Seek Peace and I knew I wanted to share this message with you, as well as the one for each month this year.
What do you think of when you hear and breathe in the word peace? Does your heart fill with hope, or with despair? Do you believe that you already promote peace in your life? Over the last couple of days, I took stock of my relationships -- all of them -- and I know I came up short in this value. I think that if we're being completely honest, most of us do too. It can be as minor as a transitory temper flare-up in traffic with an inconsiderate driver, to a feud with your sister, to a deep, unresolved conflict or deep damage from someone who once meant a lot to you. Those negative emotions, whether as fleeting as a bad driver disappearing into traffic, or as sustained as when facing significant trauma, will eat into your soul and steal your peace. When lived with long enough, negative emotions can cause physical and mental illness.
The theme Seek Peace need not be a lofty, unattainable goal of, say, world peace, no matter how commendable and desirable that state would be for everyone. In order to have meaning in our day to day lives, the actions of seeking peace can and should revolve around what each of us can do to promote peace in our relationships. It sounds simplistic and easy but it is certainly not so. Ask anyone who has struggled to forgive another person and the monumental effort of seeking peace becomes so very clear. On a personal note, I have been in a daily -- daily! -- struggle for several years to forgive someone who once meant a great deal to me and who perpetrated a great, sustained act of deceit and cruelty upon me and members of my family. I made a conscious decision to forgive that person years ago so that I would be released from the burden of carrying the anger and hurt I felt. I am not there yet, at least not consistently so, but most days are on the right side of the scoreboard, and I do know that when I feel forgiveness toward that person, my heart becomes lighter and the muscle tension in my shoulders eases.
For some, living with drama is a choice. I have had a few of those people tell me that they feel more alive when they're fighting with or about someone, and will seek out such disputes where none exist. But deep down inside, those same people are insecure and terribly unhappy. We all know a "drama queen" or two. If you don't know one, you may be the one that others are talking about!
Others appear to be born with a calm, laid back disposition, but feel reassured if you are not one of those. Seeking, developing, and nurturing inner peace is a learned trait, and if this Type A personality can make strides in that direction, you can too.
I recently read some advice from www.liveboldandbloom.com on achieving inner peace. I liked it so much that I want to share it with those of you who want to make 2019 your year to Seek Peace. I have added in my own commentary to keep it real from my perspective!
1. Have nothing unresolved.
As opposed to just having things finished, completely clear up the larger unresolved issues personally and professionally that sap your energy and create other problems in your life. You will feel a weight come off your shoulders. For me as a once self-confessed procrastinator, the benefits are huge to not be continually kicking the can down the road. If this is a growth area for you, please consider following this advice. Your life will become much simpler, trust me!
2. Surrender and accept what is.
Rather than resisting and fighting, just stop struggling. Resistance blocks energy and creativity. How can you find a solution when you are flailing about and tensed up? Unhook yourself from the situation or person and view it from a detached perspective. This is not about removing you from pursuing causes that are close to your heart -- causes and movements for which change is possible. This step is to recognize when a circumstance is beyond your personal control and to stop fighting to change the unchangeable.
3. Take full responsibility for how you react to others.
Other people don't make you behave in a certain way. You choose your behavior. Decide who you want to be in all circumstances. Mentally prepare yourself and plan for a calm, unflappable response even during trying times. Your response is really all you can control in many situations. Focus on what you can control.
4. Become aware of and sensitive to feelings rather than ignoring them.
This means your own feelings as well as others. Don't shove away feelings because they are uncomfortable. They are sending you a message. Take time to poke around those feelings to discover what is behind them. If you don't, the feelings will come back in more unpleasant ways and really disrupt your peace. Listen to yourself.
5. Tell the entire truth.
Resist editing, lying, or translating. Be real. Lay it on the table in a gentle and authentic way to yourself and others. Hiding the truth doesn't serve you in the long run. Staying true to your integrity brings peace of mind. It also elevates you and your reputation.
6. Know your higher self.
Distinguish between your self versus your mind, ego, needs or past experience. Take the time to understand who you really are. What are your values, your goals, your joys and passions, your integrity? Those are what define you and make you authentic. If you don't take the time to truly know who you are, almost no one else will.
7. Unhinge from adrenaline.
Adrenaline is the drug of choice in a stressed-out society. It gives us a jolt of superhuman energy when faced with a threat. But mostly we use it to get that rush to blast through the day. An adrenaline lifestyle can do soul-damaging things: overworking, being greedy, insistence on getting ahead or winning even at the expense of relationships. Kick the adrenaline dependency. Slow down and let go — or risk losing your health, your relationships, and your peace of mind. Along with the brain chemical dopamine, adrenaline dependency can and will negatively affect your health, relationships, and career.
8. Know what rattles your cage.
What makes you bristle or pushes your buttons? There's a reason you react, and understanding the truth behind these feelings is the first step in addressing the problem or letting it go. Keep asking yourself, “Why do I feel this way?” until you know the real answer. Then deal with the answer directly. Try to do this in an argument. It is often surprising to suddenly realize that the issue you thought you were upset about, is not the issue at all.
9. Step over nothing, even the small stuff.
Don't ignore even the smallest tolerations or imbalance in your life. You may not be able to change everything, but awareness and the ability to manage tolerations in a healthy way can bring you peace. Don't sweat the small stuff...but be aware of it.
10. Prioritize peace ahead of performance.
Make an estimated guess on the days you have left to live. Do you want to look back at your life and celebrate the rushing around, the completed “to do” lists, and the stuff, or do you want to reflect on days of calm, connectedness, great relationships, wonderful experiences, and peace of mind? What a profound way to prioritize your life! What would you do with 10,000 days left, or 5,000, or 1,000? What if you only had 1 day left? What would be important to you then?
The most profound impact of inner peace is the peace it spreads to the world outside of us. Peace between families, communities, and countries begins with each individual. Inner peace is contagious. As you find inner peace for yourself, you become a model for others and spread the seeds of peace everywhere you go.
I hope this is inspiring and motivating for you too! Let me know what you think!
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"Seek Peace" bracelet pictured in this blog is available at https://www.femailcreations.com