The Path to a Peaceful You
Peace? Right now it seems elusive.
I’ve been thinking about the ways we all look to find peace in our lives. Some isolate and hide in their own inner worlds. Some turn the news off so they don’t have to hear the crazy. I’m noticing that lack of thought is also giving people the illusion of peace. People hide in their vacations, shopping, as well as their food. Some people hide in moods, achievement, knowing, religion, and belonging. Starting to see a picture here? How do you hide?
One of the things that has been affected by my husband’s death has been the need to travel alone to places I’d rather not go. The process of going began with me sitting at the dining room table with a group of people and being totally freaked out (“freaked out“ in this case being a technical term). I was panicked, I was uncertain. I was getting drunk on chocolate because people around the table kept feeding it to me and I kept eating it. I couldn’t even envision the path that I’d be facing during that first 24 hours. I believed that I couldn’t do it alone. Who would walk with me? The walker came later.
The second full day brought with it a discovery that I wasn’t alone. I was able to reach down into a place that I didn’t understand and sit in the moment, finding peace within. For a brief period, I understood that I’d pull this off. But, I didn’t understand how at the time.
I think that inner peace comes from being still and listening to our bodies and our hearts and trusting our guts. We should also allow for some “out-of-the-box” thinking.
When we understand our inner compass it can guide us to places that we would normally not go. I had to learn to trust in what I had and to build it up as I journeyed on a new road. Getting through grief, loss, or transitioning to a new place is all about being able to walk a new road. It is about understanding that when the roadblocks appear, you can find ways of getting through them. When I would begin to doubt, a friend would remind me to “look for your options.” As I did this one thing, I could bring myself back to a place of knowing, understanding, and calm.
I had to learn to sit with the uneasiness of things I didn’t like. That is just one of the lessons I’ve learned because of the life transition I walked through in dealing with Jon’s death.
Sitting with stuff you don’t like is hard. The urge to get up and move back to the safety of the old ways can be strong. Seeing the new path and discovering the new ways will change your view permanently. Once you see the new, you cannot retreat to the old.
I don’t have a magic answer for how to pull this off. I can tell you that the longer you sit in the new space, the better it gets. It’s the equivalent of breaking in a new pair of shoes. The first few wearings can be difficult and then the shoe begins to mold to you and soften itself to your foot. Suddenly, like the shoe, sitting with the new way of being feels comfortable. It isn’t a foreign thing-a-ma-jig hanging around begging for recognition. You feel it, see it, and understand that it is now a part of who you are.
The catch to doing the above is that it is hard! This is where a good therapist, or coach, can come in handy. It can be helpful at times to have an objective third party who can come in and become a part of your team to cheer you on towards the inner peace you desire.
Discovering that peace comes in the silences of the journey has been valuable to me. Spending my first hour in the morning slowly waking, thinking, and reading has also calmed my soul. I get that I have the luxury of doing this because of my age and not having children at home. Now you may be thinking, That is all well and good, but that won’t work for me. Yeah, I know. So here are some ideas for you to snatch at as a beginning.
If you have kids, you can:
- Create a family time to sit and share
- Eat together and talk about the day and one good thing each person learned
- Claim one day per child when the two of you know that you will be together and do something you both enjoy
- Create an end-of-the-day ritual that closes out the day and sends kids off to bed. Make it enjoyable
- Read together
- Turn off the TV
- Go for walks, bike rides, hikes, or another free activity that you all enjoy
Those are just some ideas for kids and families having to walk new paths.
What about you?
- Start by claiming five minutes to just sit
- Light a candle and just… sit
- Swap time with a friend to get out once per week—even for only 30 minutes
- Discover reading, art, or music
- Find a podcast you enjoy and tune in
- If you enjoy a bath, have one
- At some point in time you might want to welcome a cat or a dog into your life
I’m hesitant to make this list too long, or too specific. It’s just meant to get you thinking.
My parting words to you are that inner peace comes after the tears, the hurt, the anguish, and the doubts begin to be purged. There is no magic formula for any of this. What is there? There is the knowledge that those who have courageously walked and sat where you are now, have found their path to inner peace and a new way of being that will look different than where you started from. This is a good thing!
To work with Gail, use the Contact form to request a session.