FINDING INNER PEACE
Have you ever been around certain people that just seem to have inner peace? Those with Inner Peace (IP) exude good energy. IP’ers are the kind of people you just want to be around because they just have a way of making those in their presence feel better. They live their life with purpose, humility, grace, and gratitude. IP’ers always seem to be content in the moment, not overly concerned about what happened or what might happen. They efficiently work through each day and have a way of bringing out the best in those around them. They own their happiness and won’t let the actions of others or negative circumstances change how they feel about themselves. They treat everyone with kindness and respect. IP’ers are strong in their convictions, but respectful of other opinions. Perhaps I cannot really explain it well, but I know it when I see it in certain people and I feel lucky when I can be in their presence.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever achieve that level of Inner Peace. I know I cannot achieve Inner Peace until I learn to calm my very overactive brain. I’m grateful for what I am learning on my journey.
BY CALMING MY OVERACTIVE BRAIN
I have a long way to go, but I am working on finding greater Inner Peace. I think Inner Peace can be achieved when you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions (not even Donald Trump!). That’s not easy with my very active, borderline ADD brain that’s constantly running on overdrive, or what I refer to as my “Brain Swirl”. I’m working on a mind shift to circumvent the stress, agitation, and anxiety that feed my Brain Swirl. Inner Peace requires a change in how I think and process challenging situations and generally cope with everyday life. I’ve always felt that once I achieve some specific goal, then I’ll find some inner peace. Now I’m realizing I had it backwards. If I can find inner peace first, I can shed myself of the brain swirl and not be dependent upon outside factors to find contentment. I recently read the book, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. In his book, he explains how you can learn to be comfortable with observing, but not participating in the brain swirl. A common analogy is thinking of all that brain swirl like a raging river. If caught up in your thoughts, it’s like trying to swim in the raging river or struggling to stay above water. Now, imagine you are standing beside the river and can observe what going on. The swirl is still there, but you are separated from it. One paragraph cannot explain this concept, so please go read the book. Learning to observe and not swim in the river is a Herculean task for me and I am a total neophyte. But, I know it’s possible.
As a person dealing with ADD tendencies, my mind is constantly swirling. Staying mindfully focused and present is not a natural skill for me. It requires a very cognitive effort on my part. In conversations, I can be easily distracted or I may unintentionally interrupt someone. I don’t mean to be rude. What happens is that my own seemingly brilliant thoughts continuously pop into my head and then miraculously jump out of my mouth in the middle of a conversation. LOOK A SQUIRREL!
Inner Peace also means not wasting energy on past mistakes or circumstances (things I cannot change) or fearing the future. I’m working on it and I’m actually really proud of my progress, but even with the best of intentions, I fail often.
Over the past few months, I’ve been focusing on improving myself physically and mentally. I am grateful to have Kris in my life. She and I encourage and push each other to exercise our bodies and minds. We go to the gym 2-3 times per week. We also take “gentle” yoga classes a few times per week and we each meditate daily. This shift in lifestyle has been transformational for me personally. Not only am I getting into better shape physically, I am also getting into better shape mentally. I am improving my ability to calm my overactive brain and to be more mindful and present. I’ve seen and felt what’s possible. I cherish those glorious moments when I am able to step outside of the swirl, observe it, but not participate in it. In those moments, I find perspective, gratitude, and a wonderful taste of what it would feel like to truly achieve inner peace.
I welcome your thoughts and feedback.