Peace is a tricky word. I'm fairly certain it is something we all want. We want peace in our world. Peace in our family. Peace at our workplace. And especially, we want peace in our own minds and hearts. We want to feel that everything is alright, calm, running as it should. Although we all want it, I think peace is something most of us know is very difficult to find. I would go even farther and say many of us don't think we ever will consistently find it. The concept sounds lovely and we may even actively try to bring peace to our little bubble of the world, whether that be our workplace, our carpool, ourselves. But unless I’m talking about an hour I spent in a massage or those precious 5 minutes I got to spend going to the bathroom by myself, peace is never something I use to describe my life. Yet, in my heart, I know that in order to live my very best life, I have to be able to find peace within the absolute craziness that can be my experience on a regular basis. Finding peace doesn’t mean you are living in a delusional space where you forget everything else exists. Living peacefully doesn’t always equate to calm. I beat myself up all the time because I allow my day to day to get the best of me. I know in my heart that I should be grateful. I should be savoring the little things that my children do. I should be treasuring every step along the way because so many people have told me it goes so fast. I know I should be grateful for my health, not criticizing every bump and curve. I know I should be so appreciative of my job, even though it challenges me in ways that are anything but peaceful. I know I should stay positive and kind and loving and calm and balanced and healthy and and and and….the pressure I put on myself as a woman is tremendous and unreasonable. This peace thing, if I was really honest, feels completely unattainable. I could pretend if you like. But walk in my shoes for a day and tell me if you would feel at peace. Try to hold it all together for just one random Wednesday of any given week and tell me if you feel at one with the universe. Most of the time I am patting myself on the back if everyone makes it out of the house with matching shoes on. If I can get to school without one of my kids bleeding it’s a good day. If I can manage to get 5.5 hours of sleep total (uninterrupted…no now you are just taking it too far) would be considered a major win. Now you want me to find peace in the middle of all of this? The first step for me is recognizing that peace cannot be viewed as a mere luxury that others are lucky enough to have. Peace in my life is essential to my overall health both mentally and physically. Having in peace in my life makes me a better mother, a better counselor, a better sister & daughter, a better wife and a better person in general. If I can figure this thing out, I will be so much happier and in turn can spread that happiness to every part of my life. Stress is not something that is going to go away. But perhaps stress can be a fleeting emotion that I can learn to let go of and rely on my new perspective of peace to be my guiding emotion. Maybe. Work in progress for sure.
During the next week, I’m going to dive into this peace thing and see if it is something that is even possible for my crazy life. During our first Meraki meeting, we were able to break down the steps we need to find the peace that all of us were looking for. The first step was to actually figure out what peace looked like in our lives. It’s going to be different for every one of us and like I said before, it may not be stillness and quiet. Our definition of peace may have to change depending on the circumstances of our life and that is ok. To find peace, you have to know what you are looking for. What does peace look like in your life? When you are at peace, how do you feel? How do you act? What do you experience physically? How are you emotionally different? Have we ever really thought about it before? Life can get so busy and some of us just feel like we get up, do our best, go back to bed and do all over again. There does not feel like any other option because we are in survival mode. But what if there was a different option? What if there was a way for us to look at life and experience life in a way that was focused on finding peace no matter what conditions were in place? I'm going for it. The worst that can happen is...well I can't really think of something bad that can happen from me intentionally trying to find more peace except maybe I get stressed because I get stressed but what's new there? So taking my first step in this whole thing, I spent some time defining peace in my life. For me, being at peace means I can think straight. The crowded thoughts in my head take a break and I can organize my them in a logical way. When I am at peace, I can sleep. I put things in my body that are good for me. When I am at peace, I laugh. I surround myself with people who are positive and who have the best intentions for me. I truly feel myself. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am confident and strong. When I am at peace, I can take a step back from my day to day life and see the bigger picture. I can feel the weight of the world but not in a bad way. Instead in a way where I recognize that there is so much goodness...and I believe that the universe is truly working out for me. When I am at peace, I know that I am here for a purpose. When I am at peace, I put fear in its place. I am not bombarded with worry about the what ifs or should haves or why nots. I trust that the people in my life are on their own journey and are going to find their way. I trust that God has the best intentions for me and that love and goodness will win. I trust that no matter what life brings I will figure it out. When I am at peace I can let things go. I don’t dwell on what I do not have but instead am grateful for what I have been given. When I am at peace I feel connected to others. I focus on the good...I see the good. This is what peace looks like for me. Maybe the first step in finding peace is really taking some time to listen to your own head and heart and inviting peace to your table. Giving it a space to tell you what it looks like in your life. So the challenge this week is to define your peace. What does it look like for you?