Peace begins with me
This is a mantra that we often use in yoga class to meditate. I touch my thumb to each finger in turn. Peace. Begins. With. Me. Over time, the message has settled within me becoming my truth.
Sometimes we feel as though we are caught in a whirlwind with things happening to us beyond our control. A devastating medical diagnosis for you or a loved one. Bereavement. Struggling to pay the bills. Redundancy. Divorce.
We may have parents who are near the end of life or children who are experiencing a crisis. We want to make everything better for our loved ones but feel overwhelmed and helpless.
The world is a scary place right now. Listening to the news can cause anxiety, anger, and frustration.
It is hard not to get caught up and pulled apart by a whirlwind of emotions. Finding peace within. A sense of calm, despite all that rages around us can be challenging. It may even feel pointless – achieving peace for just one minute impossible.
Early on in my writing journey, there were times when I experienced emotional turmoil and felt out of control. Fear of failure. Disappointment. Rejection. Elation followed by despair. The highs and lows of my writing life were having a detrimental effect on my relationships, my health and my well-being. I was looking to outside influences to bring me peace of mind and reassurance. Through meditation and journaling, I learned to take back control.
We all know that we cannot control what happens to us only how we respond. But this is sometimes easier said than done.
So how do we find peace within? Here are some suggestions:
Find five or ten minutes each day to meditate. Use a YouTube guided meditation if you are new to this. Boho Beautiful, The Honest Guys, and Adrienne (of yoga fame) are good places to start.
- Practise breathing exercises. We do this a lot in yoga. It takes practice but can be very effective. I Googled this and saw there were a lot of resources. This one might be helpful: https://www.verywellmind.com/abdominal-breathing-2584115
- Walk in nature and focus on your senses, what you can see, smell, and feel.
- Write a gratitude list. Grace Sammon (a guest on my podcast The Mindful Writer) described this process beautifully when talking about a friend. ‘…she had a very cantankerous divorce, and she would just go to the beach and cry. And someone told her she needed to find joy and gratitude every day. And she thought that was preposterous. So, on her list, she would write down sand. Sand. Water. Beach. But what she found just from that act of mindfulness, she was able to grow that list and cry less because it was that: Sand. Seagull. Bird. Wave. Sunlight. Cloud. Rainbow. People chatting. People walking. And her list, really unbeknownst and unplanned to her, grew.’
- Another of my guests, Matthew Williams, used journaling when he was in a dark place following a divorce. By writing down what had happened to him he started to make sense of his life. In his words…‘We create narratives around everything that happens in our life, who we are, our relationships to others. All of that is a story that we tell ourselves. And the question is who, who is holding the pen? And who is writing that story? Are you consciously creating the story of your life? Or are you allowing it to be written for you by other people’s expectations – by a particular person in your life, whether it be a partner, a parent, an employer? Are you handing the pen to somebody else? At any point, you can take that pen and you can create your story.’
- Some people find spiritual affirmations helpful. Again, there are a lot of these on the internet if you Google.
- Gentle physical exercise can help us to feel grounded. I love to dance, and of course, practise yoga.
Although it may not feel like it at times peace really does begin with us. Try to find that quiet place within. At first, it may only be for one minute. Be grateful for that one minute and know that you can return again and again. A loving, and compassionate you is waiting within. Peace. Begins. With. Me.
Sending you peace and the hope that you find some light within the darkness.