Inner Peace

Is this easy for some people?  What kinda magic do I need to master to make this happen?  Seems like it would be easy to achieve, right??  Outside circumstances and even my own thoughts screw me up on this.  I’m trying,  very hard, to be more mindful and selective with my thoughts and reactions to things outside of my control.  I know I can’t force someone to respect me or to be considerate of my feelings.  I can’t force someone to take an interest in me.  I control myself, that’s it only me and honestly that’s enough.

I was raised to be kind and considerate to others, to put them before me.  To sacrifice my own needs/wants in an effort to make someone else happy or loved.  I haven’t always done this, there’s been plenty of times I’ve acted selfishly and had buckets of guilt because of it (I am Catholic after all).  I do tend to be more of a people pleaser and extending kindness and compassion comes easy for me, which I’m thankful for.

I don’t fuss when someone cuts me off in traffic ’cause I’m thinkin they must have an emergency they need to get to.  I don’t know why they did it and I don’t really care,  maybe they’re just an a**hole but I tend to think otherwise.  I do my best to avoid gossip and rumors or others who complain too much.  (Those are people I love from a healthy distance)

Here’s the thing that gets to me eventually…constantly giving and sacrificing for others can be exhausting when it feels like you seldom get anything in return. That’s a selfish thought though, right?? I mean, if you’re gonna do good then just do it and don’t expect it to be returned to you.  But we want it returned, somehow and someway otherwise we start feeling like these people are taking advantage of us because they know we won’t say no.

Peace doesn’t mean to be in a place with no noise, hard work or trouble;  it means you’re able to be in the midst of all that with a calm heart.

So how do I get that inner peace I need to stay calm? How do I keep extending kindness without wearing myself out?  Some things that help me are these:

  • I’ve try to keep my opinion to myself unless asked for.  Most people don’t want it anyway.  I interject my opinion with my kids and husband and even then it’s not necessarily welcome.
  • I try to avoid negative people, the people who gossip, spread rumors or complain, some people can only be loved from a healthy distance. A negative attitude is just as contagious as a positive one, so I prefer the positive one.
  • I try to allow myself time to recharge, time doing things that I find joy in, even if I have to do it alone.  This one is important.  If you feel like you’re around people who won’t give to you what you need, maybe you need less contact with them.  It’s okay to take time for yourself, you deserve peace.
  • Walking and deep breathing.  I don’t know why this helps me find peace and contentment but it does especially out in nature.  A wooded area with more trees and animals than people.  It’s just naturally relaxing for me and helps me achieve that peace that’s needed.
  • My faith and praying.  I pray for myself as well as others.  I gave thanks and turn my problems over to God.  He always has a way of taking care of things exactly the way I need it most.

My list is ever evolving with my age and right now these are things that work for me. I have no problem giving kindness and even receive tremendous satisfaction from it but it’s important to have peace in your life.  Living in the present tense is difficult, the world can be overwhelming and stress builds up, that’s just a part of life.  I think everyone has a different way of achieving peace and maybe it takes trying different things to find what works for you, but keep trying to find it.  You need it to keep extending kindness in this world.  Kindness, gratitude, peace and joy I believe all go hand in hand.  What works for you?

Kindness Challenge-week 4

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16 thoughts on “Inner Peace

  1. What works for me…no expectations! I love to give, and so I do. I have found that giving randomly works best. When and if anything comes back, it comes randomly as well. The people we may want to impress with our good works either seldom notice, figure they are getting their due, or think it’s just the way you are and so need not commend or openly appreciate. What works for me…being grateful that I have it to give. I have also found that I enjoy sharing with my elders, so that’s where the bulk of my gifts go. Still…no expectations. With seniors I don’t get goods, I get a taste of their wisdom. My thoughts here: Priceless! Meditation works, chanting works, droning works. Rest works. Blogging works. Loving people anyway works!!!

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  2. I agree with you while heartedly on surrounding yourself with positive people. I recently moved from an area where I was surrounded with men who were seeking God as hard as I was. We kept each other passionate for God. Since I’ve moved I haven’t found replacements for those men and I feel it. The thing I would give for my “how” is to stay in the Bible. When I slack in that discipline I find my peace slacks up greatly.

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  3. I think Poor Robert hit it right on the head, Aimee. Being a mom can bring peace till you find out your kid/kids need something or are hurting……I also totally believe it is a conscious decision to just take time to breathe and breathe out. Psalm 46:10 is always a great reminder for me in some of my less-than peace filled moments, “Be still and know that I am God.” I love how that reminds me that I am NOT and therefore it is not always up to me to be the fixer of every situation. And yes, some days it takes repeating that multiple times before it finally sinks in my head enough for my heart to believe it.

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    1. I am very happy to hear that there are many who turn to God to find a bit of peace and relief. There’s very few people I speak to about religion in my circle of friends.
      Hmmm, just typing that made me realize that it wouldn’t hurt to expand my circle of friends to include more who do. “Be still and know that I am God” I like that.

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  4. I’m a peaceful guy by nature. Very few things rattle my cage (other than teenagers and Donald Trump o_O ). I’m not emotional, almost to a fault. My peace simply comes from knowing that God is in control. That sounds cliche, but that truly is what goes through my mind. I had an anger problem as a youth and early adult, but one uneventful event took anger from me. And it was like God taking a thorn from my side. Since then, and as my faith fortified, I’ve reached a point where I can just “Let It Be.” Peace is a fruit of the Spirit, and the more my mind is fixed on Christ, I feel that fruit in abundance.

    Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I don’t think its a cliche to say that your peace comes from knowing God is in control…if so then I’m cliche-ing right there with ya. I get it, I understand exactly what ya mean by that.
      Most people don’t know this about me but I pray on a daily basis, it does my heart and mind a world of good!

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  5. Aimee — You’ve asked the most difficult question in life. Twenty years ago while my daughter(s) attended Indiana University, I had the privilege of meeting and visiting with the Dali Lama who also had a brother at IU. He is all we think he is and more, perhaps the most remarkable person I’ve ever met. Among other things I learned from and about him; finding inner piece is a daily and lifelong journey with no end in this mortal life. This man leads the Buddhist world, the most prayerful and contemplative religion on the planet, yet he struggles everyday to find his inner peace. Some days he finds it, some days he doesn’t but he never stops trying.

    I find that meditation or prayer (same thing in my small “c” catholic world — Episcopalian) gets me closest but I need to practice it daily in a solitary moment and place. One thing I’ve learned in my 69 years (my children think that would be “nothing); giving to others and finding happiness and inner peace can not be balanced in a ledger. I work hard to be a contributor to my friends, family and a civil society, but I also have to work hard to build my own inner piece. The dichotomy — I cant find the second without doing the first, but at the same time doing the first will not bring serenity by itself. Inner peace requires a lot more good deeds and good thoughts for and about myself. It gets easier with age to recognize self actualization, but it never gets easy. A couple of my daily reminders; “take care of myself first or I will always be last”, “Nobody can take care of me as well as I can”, “taking care of me is mostly my responsibility” and “If you don’t take care of yourself it unfair to ask others to do it”.

    I will give you one parting thought — You suffer from and are blessed by an affliction that impacts fully half the worlds population — Motherhood. Some are really good at it and you appear to be one of those, others not-so-much . The downside of this infliction — you usually put yourself and your needs behind those of your children, your husband and the dog. When you don’t, guilt sets in. Face this guilt with forgiveness (start with yourself and then, maybe, ask for it from others). We know of no cure for maternal instincts, but if you recognize that you suffer from them, they can be managed (much like diabetes) with diet, exercise and self attention.

    I don’t know if this helps bring the issue into focus, I hope so. Remember care for yourself first (put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then help your child) so you will be better able to care for others..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s very insightful Robert. I’m jealous you were able to meet the Dali Lama and visit with him. I imagine it to be quite an interesting conversation!
      There’s a certain amount of balance needed to achieve an inner peace which you’ve described so well. A give and take, an ebb and flow…the same way day turns to night and night turns back into day…both are needed. Of your daily reminders, “taking care of me is mostly my responsibility” sticks out for me. I know that is very much the truth which is why help is seldom asked for.
      You give sage advice and I imagine if we ever met in person we could have very interesting conversations over a bottle of wine…or two. Thanks for your openness and honesty.

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      1. Humility does not begin to describe the Dali Lama. I never felt in the presence of greatness, because is just like us and doesn’t say much but listens well and when he does say something it takes a while to really register and you think, duh, why didn’t I think of that and usually its well after he’s gone. By the way he still spends a lot of time in this country so next time you hear he’s going to be in your neighborhood, drop him an e-mail (contact was on his website) and request a meeting. I’ll bet you get it.

        When we do meet one day the wine’s on me. I sense in you a very kindred spirit who is following a path I know only too well. I’ll let you know where the bumps in the road are when I can see you coming up on them. As to the balance, as you say it sort of ebbs and flows and some days we have a better sense of ourselves. Part of why you don’t ask for help is your great sense of the needs of others and the realization that they don’t have to ask you, you just know and offer or just give it without being asked. Good old reliable Aimee; there for everybody except Aimee. Work on that will you?

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        1. By the way contemplate the differing definitions between the word “selfish” and the phrase “enlightened self interest”. Understanding the difference may give you a whole new perspective on taking care of Aimee.

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  6. It’s interesting that you mention being able to give so freely to others but doing for yourself brings feelings of guilt. Flashback to week 1 of the challenge when this was a common point of conversation when discussing self-kindness. This quote rings so true to me-
    “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
    ― Eleanor Brownn

    How can you change your perspective on being mindful of yourself? How can you change those feelings of guilt into something positive? No need to answer of course, just something for you to consider.

    I like how you have identified ways of bringing you peace and hope that you are able to practice them regularly. You also touched on something important, giving without expectation. You’re right, the only person we can control is ourselves (personally I don’t even do a good job of that sometimes, it’s easier to act than react in certain situations). Keeping that in mind, the word that comes to mind is boundaries. When you see things going in a direction that you could be getting taken advantage of, are you doing something because of a request, commitment or obligation? Or is it something that you’ve offered to do because it just came from your heart? Maybe that’s something to explore because being kind also includes yourself and healthy boundaries are necessary.

    Thank you so much for your honest reflection. Sending lots of light and love your way!

    Liked by 3 people

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