After spending nearly two hours trying to come up with a topic for this week I was ready to give up and call it a day. I was considering sending the boss an email and letting her know that my brain was on overload and that I just couldn’t write this week. The prior week had delivered a few surprises, a lot of work and a flare up of fall allergies that left me feeling out of sorts and a bit unsettled. As I prepared to give up I scrolled down through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a quote that gave me something to think and write about.
Planting Peace, a non-profit organization dedicated to de-worming people from third world countries, orphanages, rain forest conservation, tree planting, equality and peace posted the following quote by Marvin Gaye: “If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.” Peace. What exactly is it and how does one go about obtaining it for themselves. My online dictionary defines peace as “tranquility, a state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety”. Having none of the defined qualities that would consider me a peace filled person I reflect on my own ideas and realize that in order to obtain peace I have to create my own definition and come to terms with things that have created unrest and worry within my soul.
As a middle aged woman struggling with an eating disorder, strained relationships and the desire to be the perfect wife, mother, friend and employee I often feel as if I will never find peace. But those are just the moments when I lose focus and allow my vision to become clouded with negativity, unsettled thoughts and the busy-ness of the day. Over the past ten weeks I have participated in a Bible study at my church that revolved around prayer and various ways we can pray. One method or type of prayer brought quite a bit of anxiety for me at first; it was not peaceful for me at all. Centering prayer, as it is called, encourages turning off our thoughts and allowing ourselves to just be in the moment. There are no words to say, no thoughts to think just simply being in the moment, quiet and still; this proved to be a difficult thing for me to embrace. As difficult as it was to do at first, I decided that I was going to attempt to include stillness into my life on a regular basis.
As difficult as it has been over the last few weeks I have discovered that by incorporating this centering prayerful experience into my daily life not only am I finding myself more at peace but I realize that I deserve this time of quiet, rest and relaxation. Whether I am still for a few minutes or am able to carve out a long period of time I am learning to turn off my brain to the chaos of life and turn it on to peace and serenity; if only for that amount of time each day. While the idea behind this prayerful exercise encourages having no thoughts I find myself eliminating the overwhelming-ness of life and embracing the positives that brings peace to my soul.
One night last week, after struggling with a long day filled with difficulties I sat in the chair next to my bed with my eyes closed and my heart heavy with anxiety. Knowing that sleep would not come easy and struggling to empty my mind I decided to make a mental list of things that bring meaning (and peace) to my life and what I found is that as I reflected on these things I realized that I have come to carry a lot of peace within myself. Things that matter to me might not necessarily matter to others and that is okay. Learning to accept our lives as they are at this moment I believe is the first step in obtaining peace. Deciding to accept ourselves, our lives and our situations as they are in the moment will allow us to be able to work toward improving or changing the things we feel need changing. I believe that in order to make positive changes we must be able to acknowledge and accept circumstances as they are; then we can work to create change and make improvements.
Whether you are at peace with yourself and all that makes up your world or not, I encourage you to take time to embrace stillness and quiet and define your own peace. Knowing that what you may consider necessary in your life may not be the same for others is the first step in finding our own peace. For me, I continue to take time on a daily basis to turn off the demands of life and spend time alone and appreciate all that brings peace to my little corner of the world.
Life is ours to live. Live it with purpose, dignity, grace and a passion that will fill your soul with peace; after all it is up to us to define it for ourselves.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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