Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peace of Mind, Part IV

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." Mother Teresa

Suggestion # 4 for finding and maintaining peace is:

Be willing to forgive and forget

     To have the courage to forgive someone, and to act on that courage, is transformational to both the forgiver and the forgiven. We are all connected in this universe. We are a part of the whole, so when we forgive others, we reap the benefits also. Holding onto anger and resentment is not healthy, and we cannot have true peace until we're ready to give up the anger.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

     Is it worth giving up my own peace, so I can hold someone hostage to my anger?
     Have a found a way to justify my anger?

     Forgiveness is not about the other person; it's about setting Self free from a cancer that can eat away at our soul. We pay a price for lack of forgiveness because when we harbor resentment, we subconsciously bring the anger and bitterness into all of our relationships. Without realizing it, actions by another can easily become a personal affront to us, and we wind up exploding all over others, who are many times our loved ones. We can get so used to "being mad" and justifying our feelings, that we forget we're carrying that stone around our neck. 

   Forgiveness is a decision to let go of anger and thoughts of resentment. Forgiveness does not excuse the act, nor does it deny the other person's responsibility for hurting us. It's seldom easy to truly forget a wrong against us, but the key to letting it go is to remember the wrong graciously. To hold on to a hurt not only robs of us our peace, but it also creates physical illness.


"Forgiveness is a reflection of loving yourself enough to move on." Steve Maraboli

Click on video to listen.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Peace of Mind, Part IV

"Peace is not something you wish for; it is something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away." Robert Fulghum

Today we will cover suggestion # 3 for finding and maintaining peace.

Be willing to step away from black or white thinking.

      We live in a polarized world where we're taught that everything has an opposite; however, life is not always black or white. Many times, it can be gray.

     Polarization creates opposition and division, and is about extremes, but life is not. We don't have to live in one extreme or the other. We can be in a neutral place and find common ground. This doesn't mean that I give up my belief or you give up yours. What it means is we agree to disagree, with the realization that we could both be right, and therefore, not making the other one wrong.  

     If we are so rigid that we can't bend to see the other side, we may break. When we're stuck in either/or thinking, we can wind up feeling defeated, threatened, or angry, if we don't get our way. When we're neutral we can be unattached to outcomes and can roll with the punches.

     The antidote to polarization, which has the potential to separate us into a right or wrong society, is compromise. A question I've learned to ask myself when faced with a polarizing situation is, "What's more important? That I win and get to be right, or that we agree to disagree and maintain our relationship?" Another good question to ask is, "What is it about me that makes me think I have to be right?" When we have to win at any cost, I think we may be stuck.

     If I choose the relationship, we both win and we do not have to sacrifice our peace in the process.

Peace and Harmony by Full Circle. Click on video to listen.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Peace of Mind, Part III

"Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm." Unknown

My last blog covered suggestion # 1 for finding and maintaining peace of mind. Today, we'll move on to suggestion # 2 which is:

Be willing to see the bigger picture

     Often, our vision is limited, and what we think we see is not really so. It may be just one side of the picture.

     It's easy to get caught up in a crowd mentality and go along with the group. When everyone is standing against something or someone, it takes courage to hold your peace and not make a judgment before you hear the whole story. Many times the bigger picture shows up as we take time to hear the rest of the story.

     There have been countless times when someone has called to tell me about what someone else said or did to them. Usually the purpose of the call is to tell their side and hopefully to gain an ally. I've learned to stop and ask questions before I get pulled into their storm. Hear all sides of the story and commit to seeing and understanding others's points of view.

     Don't allow yourself to get caught up in someone else's storm and sacrifice your own peaceful center.


                                      Click this link for a moment of peace

Friday, August 19, 2011

Peace of Mind, Part II

"Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances." Mahatma Gandhi

My last blog, Peace of Mind, listed five suggestions for finding and maintaining peace of mind. This blog will focus on suggestion # 1 which is:

Be willing to give up the need to control others' lives.

     Trying to control other's choices is like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel. We have no control over the way someone else's life goes. Each of us is a unique individual, here to walk our own path. Until we live in someone else's skin we have no way of knowing what is best for them, or what direction their life should take.

     The driving force behind our need to control other's lives is a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness, which is fueled by deep fear. It is ludicrous, and dangerous, to put our life's expectations on another human. It's safe to trust Spirit and to trust others to manage their own life. Even if they drive themselves into a ditch, it is still their life and their choice.

     There is a difference between caring for someone, and out of wanting the best for them, to make suggestions that are based on love and concern. Being a mentor and offering our help is not the same as feeling we have to mastermind how their life will turn out. I know it's not always easy to let others manage their own life, especially when we think their train is about to jump the track.

     It takes a lot of energy to hold on to what's not ours. Attempting to control others takes us out of a peaceful place, and many times sets us right in the middle of a battleground. Let it go. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that the only life you are in control of is your own.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Soul Food: Peace of Mind

Soul Food: Peace of Mind: " For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind ." Ralph Waldo Emerson Peace of mind refers to the absence ...

Peace of Mind

"For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peace of mind refers to the absence of mental stress or anxiety; and the presence of serenity, calm, quiet, comfort of mind, and inner peace.

Anger refers to mental stress, and a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility.

WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE?

Five suggestions for finding and maintaining peace of mind , all which are based on willingness,  are:

Be willing to:

1. Give up the need to control others' lives.

2. See the bigger picture.

3. Change from black or white thinking and embrace gray or neutral thinking.

4. Forgive and forget

5. Surrender to "what is" and go with the flow.

I'll cover each of these in my next five blogs, so stay tuned please.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Healing the Past

"Healing from our past is an essential aspect of expanding our sense of self and awakening our capacity to love." David Simon

People say, "Forget the past because it's over and done. You can't change it."  And, in one respect this is true. We can't change the past, but we can heal the pain of the past in the present.

I've noticed how my past pain and unhealed sorrow keeps showing up in my present. My choices, thoughts, behavior, relationships, job, and everyday life are affected by what I've not yet healed from my past. So, the pain I experience in my present is a result of what I'm still holding onto from the past.

Example: Even though I've done a lot of healing around my abandonment issues, I still have a tendency to hold on tight to people and attempt to control their life. Ensconced within my fear of abandonment is a belief that if I control others by keeping them in a box, they won't be able to run for the door when they get the chance. I sometimes still expect people to leave me either physically or emotionally.

When I see that I'm attempting to control my husband's decisions, or likes or dislikes, or when I get afraid because he won't let me control him, I pull myself aside into a quiet space. I then give myself the gift of feeling my fear of abandonment in the moment. This helps me to be clear in my mind that what I'm experiencing is not about him, it's about me and my fears. Every time I'm able to do this, I can lovingly step back and appreciate his uniqueness and individuality, and set him free to be the person he is.

Healing our past is a process. It is not a one-time deal.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our Purpose

"There is a purpose to our lives that every day tugs at our sleeve as an annoying distraction." Robert Brault

It is by being present to ourselves and life that we are able to find our purpose. Pay attention today to the things that grab your attention. You know when someone is tugging at your sleeve, or the hem of your dress or pants, like an impatient child that's begging to be heard and noticed.

Many times, unfortunately, we disregard life's tugs, and continue on being the way we've always been, and doing what we've always done. When this happens, we may be missing the biggest message of our life.

Go down the side streets, take the road less travelled, follow the tug at your sleeve. It could be your purpose calling you. What do you have to lose? Better yet, what might you gain?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Smile

" A smile is the beginning of peace." Mother Teresa

A smile is a facial expression that denotes happiness and pleasure. A true smile includes the eyes. If the mouth is curved upwards, but the eyes are not involved, the smile fails to utter the unspoke message of love. Many times, I know I'm loved by someone because of the genuine look of happiness on their face when I walk into the room. The love shines through their eyes.

A smile can be used to ease tension both for the person smiling and for the one who is being smiled at. Phyllis Diller said, "A smile is a curve that sets everything straight."

Offer yourself and others the gift of a smile today. Spread good will and peace by smiling wholeheartedly. People may wonder what you're up to- but you already know. You're up to offering peace and love.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Finding Your Center

"Know that you have a center. Know that you belong there. Know that the path to the center takes no effort." Deepak Chopra
Being on a spiritual path does not involve work. Quite the opposite- it involves stillness. The quieter you are on the inside, the greater your level of peace, making it easier to find your center.

Different people and belief systems offer myriad ways of finding your place of peace, your center. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Taking deep breaths from my belly while focusing on the rhythm of the inhale and exhale.

2. Chanting OM (sounds like AUM), which means "that which sustains everything which is order, and it pervades everything." I sing OM on the exhale and find myself deeply relaxing into the sound and the vibration that it produces.

3. Relaxing in a warm bath with soft music and candles

4. A cup of chamomile tea

5. Visualizing roots coming out of my solar plexus or my feet, and going down into the earth, creating an anchor.

The goal is to be at peace in the midst of living your life, and to be able to hear the still, small voice within.

In the end, what matters is that you find what works best for you. You may have other ways of centering yourself, and if you do, I'd love to hear from you. How do you find your center?