It’s hard to find peace in a world of chaos. Whether that chaos takes the form of national politics, violence abroad, or unrest in our own homes -- peace can be elusive. Illness, family strife, and career uncertainty affect us all at a very deep and personal level. As we know, peace and calamity just don't mix.
The health challenges I have faced this year had me searching pretty hard for peace and tranquility. Unfortunately, I found anything but. I'll admit it was my own fault because, rather than focus on calming influences, I turned to the Internet to distract myself with the daily news. To say the least, it didn’t help. It only led to more anxiety, anger, and frustration.
Like most of you, I am exhausted from the hateful rhetoric to which we’ve been exposed as civil debate in our country has been effectively anesthetized. I won’t even bother saying it’s like “nothing we’ve ever seen” (though, apparently, I just did). This climate has served to amplify our personal challenges, and it has only gotten worse since the election. It seems we can do no more than stand by and watch as humanity rots from the inside out. I don't know about you, but I find this reality not the least bit comforting.
So here's the deal: I’m no psychotherapist, but I can say with certainty that taking even a momentary break from the chaos can help restore a peaceful sense of well-being. Getting some fresh air is like hitting the perspective reset button. There is so much beauty all around us, if only we will go outside and open our eyes to it. Setting our focus on the immediate moment, and ignoring the rest, can help us find center once again.
As children we were treated to stories from oversized books with pictures that leapt from the pages in hues of otherworldly imaginations. This may be why, as adults, the notion of curling up with a good book remains so appealing. Delving into another time and place that a writer somewhere lovingly created for our enjoyment can bring back that sense of calm we so desperately seek.
Music is much the same. Can you remember the last time you put on a set of headphones and listened to something as seraphic as kd lang singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah? Try it. [Take a moment to enjoy...] See what I mean? And for you kd fans, here's a bonus performance from the 2005 Juno Awards.
Serenity won't be found in news updates or conference calls or meetings or in our or endless stream of email. All those things can wait. They really can. The trick is, we have to allow ourselves to take the time we need to rejuvenate. But to do that, we must first recognize how important it really is to take those moments for ourselves.
Bringing peace back into our lives and our homes will not only make us happier, it will also seep out to those we love and connect with each day and make them happier too.
Take a moment and find some, then share it.