We often hear remarks about the importance of peace on the world stage, especially as it relates to war. We are taught that conflicts and battles over differences need to be fought and won. But what if we adjusted our thinking to focus on how to welcome peace by understanding and dismantling what we are individually battling? The place to start is also the most difficult place, because it means taking an intimate look at ourselves and being honest about our personal conflicts. This blog isn’t about global peace — it’s about the power of personal peace, which is the only way global peace will ever happen. Much can be said on this topic, and the following ideas are not comprehensive, but are suggested as helpful reminders for creating inner peace.
As cancer survivors, we know the demanding challenge of making peace with our diseased bodies. The surgeries and other treatments all have side effects, and they change the look and feel of our bodies. Some changes are temporary, like hair loss and raw skin, and some are permanent, like scars and parts of our bodies we no longer have. A month ago a medical test suggested I had colon cancer. Further testing showed it was a false positive, but for three weeks I lived with the possibility of a second round of cancer. Once I made peace with it there was no fear, tension, or anxiety because I knew that whatever happened, my peaceful foundation would carry me through. I would be fine no matter what my body was doing.
We need to make peace with every change, because therein lies the richness of discovering the tranquil beauty of our inner self. Sometimes we have a hard time recognizing this through our turmoil. It helps to face whatever form change has taken, acknowledge what we can’t control, accept the feelings that emerge, and give ourselves permission to be imperfect. Serenity will follow.
Another challenge is making peace with our aging bodies. This is another place to give ourselves permission to be imperfect. Over time all the signs are there: rising cholesterol, shrinking height, undisguised bulges, elusive sleep, and more doctor recommended vitamins. My personal favorite is what I call map legs (I inherited them from my mother) that feature red and blue highways all over my legs. The highways get more crowded each year. Make peace with it, Sylvia, make peace. The aging process isn’t going to stop, but if we can become at ease with it and befriend ourselves, we are moving into peace.
One of the gifts of aging is the serenity that comes when we become more of who we really are inside. We realize the priority and preciousness of peace, and can consciously choose what nurtures our minds, renews our bodies, and feeds our soul. One of the rewards of doing this is avoiding the activity treadmill that keeps us going faster and faster until we go crazy. We do not need to do more and run faster. Larry Eisenberg writes, “For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe.”
Then there is making peace with conflict. Often our first reaction to conflict is anxiety, not peace. If we convince ourselves that the importance of an issue is seen in the amount of time spent worrying, we will give power to the problem. Power to the solution is found in calmness and peace. Bringing forgiveness to the conflict invites a divine generosity that frees us from anger and bitterness. Anxiety is a choice and so is peace. It is possible to be peaceful even in the middle of chaos and unresolved problems. If we move our focus from how hard life is to doing what we know is right for us, peace of mind will follow.
Here are some ways we can nurture inner peace. Let’s walk in nature until our minds are quiet. Let’s watch a sunset or sunrise over the ocean until we feel soothed. Let’s meditate and pray until we are calm. Let’s spend time with a dear friend and feel loved. Let’s be still until our perspective is balanced and our values are clear, so we behave with integrity. And let’s forgive ourselves and others on a daily basis.
Another exciting element about creating inner peace is that when we take inner peace into our daily life, it begins to spread. As we nurture our own peace, we begin to radiate serenity that touches others, and peace becomes contagious. This is truly powerful! So, let’s check in with ourselves – How do we know we’re on the right track? Peace Pilgrim writes this: “There is a criterion by which you can judge whether the thoughts you are thinking and the things you are doing are right for you. The criterion is: Have they brought you inner peace? If they have not, there is something wrong with them — so keep seeking! If what you do has brought you inner peace, stay with what you believe is right.”
There’s so much we can learn from each other. Today let’s share some of the favorite ways we each nurture our inner peace. There can never be too many good ideas, and you might have just the idea someone else needs to hear. You can share in the comment area. Today, let’s create more inner peace.
Until Next Time – Sylvia