Making Peace

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Sometimes achieving peace without begins within. It begins with reconciling our heart with our head, facing head on those things we might rather avoid. It means taking a personal inventory of our behaviors and choices; making amends with those we have hurt or been hurt by. It means meeting others where they are and as they are… choosing to forgive and let go from a place of love, not ego; from a place of compassion, not resentment, without an expectation of reciprocity.

In celebration of International Day of Peace, recognized on September 21st, I’m curious to know and ask…

How do you achieve peace in your own life? What role can personal accountability, forgiveness and compassion play in achieving peace with others? How can holding space for another and/or opening a dialogue from a place genuine respect, create a bridge to deeper understanding and acceptance? As you inventory you own inner life, are there areas where you need to make peace, whether with yourself or others?

Photo credit: Chris Devers

On Forgiveness and Thanksgiving

If gratitude is the wellspring of peace, love and joy, it begins with forgiveness and the willingness to let go of what’s past, to create new space for growth.

So often we hold on to the past, allowing our grievances and grudges to color our world and those people in it. If we’re not careful, we allow fear, bitterness and resentment to sneak into our lives, robbing us not only of our capacity for joy, but our ability to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness for the many blessings in our lives.

The truth is that we all fail and fall short from time to time. And even when we feel above the fall of others, our very judgment of them makes us no better, and in fact, often worse.

As we move into this season of Thanksgiving, I think I shall adopt a new practice: Instead of simply counting my blessings, I will counter each one with a heady dose of forgiveness, too — weeding out and releasing those things I’ve been holding on to for far too long, and making peace with the gifts of my own imperfection.*

I’m curious…

What might you be holding on that is robbing you of your capacity to feel gratitude for the blessings in your life? In your experience, what is the relationship between forgiveness and gratitude? How has holding onto a grudge or grievance kept you stuck in your own life? What is the relationship between gratitude and our capacity for peace, love and joy?

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*Note: The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown, is an outstanding read on the power of courage, compassion and connection to enable us to find acceptance within and live fuller lives without.

 

 

On Being Ourselves…

Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is to simply be ourselves; to sit in centered stillness, void of our masks, labels, and other outer adornments of success. Yet it is this very willingness to be vulnerable; this willingness to seek radical acceptance from within, that enables deep connection with others and the possibility of true peace and lasting joy.

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I’m curious…

How do you choose to stand in your own truth? How has shedding those outer labels, masks and adornments, enabled you to find more peace, love and joy in your own life? How has accepting yourself, enabled you to more readily accept others?

Acceptance

During my daughter’s preschool and early elementary days, when daily cries of ‘that’s unfair’ and ‘Johnny got more’ were prevalent among her classmates, she learned an expression from her teacher that has always stuck with her: “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

Lately that expression has been on my mind.

How often have you prayed to your God, the Universe, or simply reflected in your mind on something you really, truly wanted with all of your heart?  Perhaps your desire was centered around a thing, perhaps a relationship, or maybe even a job.  In that that desire, you sought fulfillment – a quench of insatiable want, need, or drive for meaning and purpose.

Sometimes in all of our wishing and hoping, begging and pleading, our earnest prayers go unanswered.  We feel angry or disappointed, and in that disappointment, righteous indignation overcomes us and we cry out “unfair!” (though we often later discover that these unanswered prayers were really secret blessings).  Perhaps we adhere rigidly to a plan, resisting conflicting realities, only to later feel betrayed by our own choices.  At other times, our prayers are answered or wishes granted, though what we thought we were getting turns out to be something different from what we imagined altogether.

So often our desires are focused on form, not function; on function, but not purpose. So often our responses are rooted in ego, not heart; or in fear, not love.

Acceptance does not mean settling for less or staying stuck.  It is does not suggest passive dependency, but an active way of seeing and being.  Often an agent of change – acceptance is opening our eyes to what is, that we might see where we are to go from here.  It is recognizing that the gift of a given moment or opportunity, often lies in the lessons it has to teach us.  At its core, acceptance is about the state of our own mind and heart; finding centered peace in the present, that we might reclaim lost joy.

I’m curious:  How often have you missed the magic of the moment, because you were too busy fighting it on your way to someplace else?  How often has a clouded vision of your present, prevented you from learning vital lessons and navigating next steps?  How often has stubborn resistance of what is robbed you of the gifts of time, peace and simple joy?