Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finding your peace

I decided today to write about some of the things that I have been working on to achieve my inner peace. Not all of them work, not all are my ideas or things I have done but they are things I have read about and researched and I think worth sharing.

As hard as it is, your life is not yours and there are things you cannot change. There is only so much we can influence or affect adn what we can't change, should not be a concern to us. I have noticed with so many people, that they focus on the things that have happened, on the things that we have no control over. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Why should we care about what other people think of us when we really have no idea what they are thinking anyway? Once you open your eyes to this, open your mind to the fact that there are things that you have no influence, and start accepting that you cannot change it, you immediately relieve yourself of a mountain of worry and anxiety. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Taking this path leads to a road of peace.
This has been very instrumental for me in the last few months in achieving my sense of peace. I used to live for wishes, what ifs and thoughts of change. I used to worry about what others thought of me (okay, I am still working on this one) and about things that were beyond my control. I have worked at giving this worry up, trusting in God and just living for each moment.

I don't do this enough but I am trying. A resource I found online says that if you have a lot on your mind and you feel like your thoughts are driving you crazy, meditation can help you find peace. Simply close everything, sit back, close your eyes, and clear your mind of every single thought. Focus on the emptiness. I have a hard time shutting off my thoughts, even for just a few minutes but I am trying.

Spend time in nature

We spend so much time indoors, so much time at a desk, a computer, an office, in a car... our time often doesn't feel like our own. But we humans naturally belong in nature and that is why it feels good to be outdoors when you choose to be (I don't choose to be on yard duty and therefore, in -10 C weather, with the snow and wind blowing , I don't find a lot of peace! But when I can, I go for a walk. I often pray then or talk to God. In the fall I often take my camera and capture pictures of what brings me Joy in God's great world. If you feel overwhelmed, take a stroll outside where there are tons of trees and far from the city. Be there and just enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the peace.

Learn the power of a smile
I stole this directly from a blog....
Whenever you are laughing or smiling, something interesting happens. Not only does something happen on a chemical level to make you feel better, but it also stops all stress and negativity from entering your psyche. A simple smile can make such a difference. For example, the other day I mishandled a dish and it fell on the floor, breaking into pieces, creating a big mess. Now, I could have been angry with myself for being clumsy and thinking “here’s another reason why life sucks!”. But I did the opposite. I began to smile and kind of make fun of myself for not being able to hold on to that plate properly. As I cleaned up the mess, there was no bitterness or anger. As a matter of fact, I did it with a smile on my face…I did it with peace. So whenever you find yourself in a similar predicament, just think of the silver lining, and don’t be shy to poke fun at yourself. You will quickly realize that peace finds its way much more easily to you when you smile.
I smile a lot... so many people have commented that I've seemed so strong and so positive about the journey my life has taken. So many people are so surprised and concerned when that smile is not on my I guess I do a good job of bringing peace through my smile!

Think outwardly

Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in our own world, our own worries and fears. But looking around you, looking at the world and seeing what is out there opens our eyes to the realization that the world does not revolve around our problems. Sometimes we just need to remember how big the world is. Read up on other countries, educate yourself about other countries. It helps to humble us I think. Looking beyond ourselves is very important in finding peace and leads to....

Care for others

You can't find inner peace by looking in the mirror. You need to look around you and not only focus on your own needs and wants. When you begin to genuinely care about other people, so much goodness just seems to be everywhere. This in turn helps in solidifying your inner peace. It can be people close to you or absolute strangers, but any act of kindness and goodwill brings out personal peace. When I help other people, I stop thinking about all that is supposedly wrong in my life, I forget about what causes me to be sad or what brought me to this place and I begin to see all the amazingly awesome things in my life. And then I realize that my life isn’t so bad after all. There is great peace and wisdom in thinking and caring about other people, which we are blind to when we are too deep within our own selfish ways.

Never lose hope
I think I covered so much of this in the first week but hope is something you can never afford to lose. Hope brings, to you, a road to peace. When we get caught up in stress, worry and are overwhelmed within our own life, we forget that hope. We seem to forget that the sun always shines tomorrow, and that this is merely a jog in the road that we weren't planning to take. It has taken me a long time to come to this point of believing deep within my heart, that everything will be ok. But I have gotten there and it has brought me such peace. With hope, I know that whatever seems horrible, is only temporary and that eventually, things will be just fine.

Embrace your faith or beliefs
You obviously all know that I am a Christian and have found great peace in a realtionship with Christ but do I believe that is the only way to find peace...I am not sure. What I do know is that whatever you believe, you must embrace it with your entire being. Be within that beliefe, that faith 100% and peace will find its way into your heart. We may not all agree on what to believe, on what faith is the way etc but we can all likely admit that those that have a strong faith are those that we know that have found peace. There is a reason why research has shown that people that are deeply devoted to their faith have a higher life expectancy and are less likely to have diseases such as cancer. This is because they experience more inner peace, which is important if you want to increase the quality of your life.

Live in the now
Most of the time, what we worry about is relating to something either in the past, or something that hasn’t happened. Living in the present moment erases all of this. Can you change the past...nope! Should we worry about things that we don't even know if or when they will happen? Of course we do it, of course! Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present. In this very moment, living for now...that is where you find true inner peace. In the present moment, there are no problems and no concerns. There is only stillness, and it is within that stillness that you can uncover peace. I used to be someone who worried about things that had already happened, things I had done or said etc. I worried how that would affect my future, I worried what others thought of me because of it. I realized that I can't change what has already happened and that most likely, it happened for a reason that is beyond my scope. I realized that even the best laid plans for the future are completely out of our control in all essence. Once I learned to live in the present moment, I stopped thinking about the past and any potential future, and just worried about being ever-present in each and every moment. My life is definitely more peaceful since then!

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