My heart is heavy and it’s Christmas! I have been struggling with the contradiction of this in my mind over the past couple of weeks. Pressure filled thoughts like “I’m supposed to be happy”, or “I should be sad” fill my mind. This year, things aren’t lining up the way they’re “supposed” to.
Maybe you have found yourself in a similar place hoping and waiting for things to line up just so, or judging how wrong the way things are. Sometimes, I’m still guilty of wanting the outer world to give me that sense of peace I long for in my inner world. Deep down I know, as I’m sure you do, that this very sense of peace we long for comes from nurturing and watering our inner life.
I came across this quote years ago and I’ve never forgotten it. It’s one of those things that has popped in my mind over and over again over the years. Perhaps, it was one of those nudges along the way that had me seek the meaning of this….it sounded so good – something I deeply wanted, but so far out of reach.
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.”
Being a girl who fed on the approval of others and whose happiness depended on life looking a certain way – finding a center within that would allow me to stand tall, grow roots and be ok with who I am and where I am was a worthy quest.
I’d like to tell you that I did this and I did that and poof I arrived, but that’s not how it goes. There is no magic pill or quick fix. It’s all steps. Small steps aligned with a bigger goal over time that make big, deep impact. So often, I wanted that short-cut…I wanted to skip steps. I felt frustrated that while I took two steps forward, many times I went two steps back to learn a lesson I hadn’t apparently gotten. What I can tell you is that my journey is still on….and I’ve realized there is no arriving….this is a way of living…. A choice. And looking back over all these years…had I found a shortcut…the journey, the lessons, the roots wouldn’t feel so deep, so strong and grounding.
This past month has been one of the most difficult times in my life and the climate in our world is heavy. For anyone who listened to the BTS call last month – my family and I had to put our beloved, dear Mom in a home. Her dementia has reached a new level…. As I write this today, some of my family has been evacuated and my home town community is surrounded in flames. There has been a lot of tears…a lot of sadness…a lot of change and yet I feel something much deeper grounding me and holding me in place as the storms carry on around me.
So, when things don’t look the way we want them to look or the way we think they should look – what can you do to shift things around and return to a place of centeredness? I want to pay forward the things I have learned, witnessed and tried along my path in the event they might be one of those keys on your path too.
11 Ways to Create Calm In the Midst of Everything Else…
Locate Resistance: Put your finger on the very thing you’re resisting. Ask yourself, what is this here to teach me? How can I shift the energy I am bringing to this situation? It’s true that what you resist persists…so shift that resisting energy to something that feels a little bit better and gives you mobility.
Shift Focus: Are you focused on what you want or on what you don’t want? What happens if you shift your focus to what you DO Want? What action will move you closer to that? Take it!
Release Control: Are you trying to control things that are really not yours to control? Is it making a difference? What is truly within your control? Rein in your control to the places where you can have impact and let go of places where you perpetuate frustration by controlling things outside your domain. Let go and let God.
Tune In: Instead of looking over there and wishing people or things in your life were different. Ask yourself, who am I being in the situation? Are your actions in alignment with what you want? What can you DO different? Go and do it.
Give It Away: Frustrated by others not doing what you want them to do. Be the very thing you are looking for from others. Give away what you most want and notice how it fills you with goodness.
Water Your Grass: A wise person once told me the grass is greener where you water it. Get your head out of your neighbor’s yard and water your own grass.
Look for Learning: What if this very thing holds a lesson for your own growth and expansion. Look for it. Find it and do the deep learning to grow from it.
Trust + Row Gently: You are right where you are supposed to be. Trust. Another dear friend once told me… “Row, row, row your boat GENTLY down the stream”.
Go on a Treasure Hunt: Even in the hardest of times, there are always small miracles and gems of goodness if you are looking. Get looking!
Choose to Shine: When you feel powerless over what is happening around you, choose to make an impact in your own circle. Shine right where you are. Watch the ripple.
Release Pressure and Apply Love: Let the steam off. Journal it out. Then apply love everywhere.
This Christmas season I wish you deep feeling, meaningful connections, loads of love, lots of growing and finding center and gratitude right where you are. Feel big. Love fully. Give deeply. Be all the things you are longing to see in your families, communities and world around you.