My friend Marcy and I are creating a retreat for women focused on experiencing and cultivating inner peace. Our focus on this subject has reminded me how important it is to nurture the peace within us and return to it often. It is only from that place that we can really experience all life has to offer and the joy it can bring.
If you are like most people on earth today, you may not be feeling very connected to your inner peace. There is probably a lot on your schedule and even more on your mind. What you need are some tools that will help you ground in peace fairly quickly and I just happen to have some for you.
Focus on the Present Moment – Easier said than done. Right? You might be surprised how simple it is when you practice regularly. In moments of stress, worry, or dis-ease, try one of these easy strategies for grounding in the moment:
- Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, focusing on the air moving through you
- Put your hand over your heart and count each breath you take
- Bring mindfulness to your movements and what is around you – feel and watch every detail
- Designate something as an anchor to your present moments, like a specific hand movement, the face of your watch, the veins in your wrist, or anything you can focus on quickly and easily.
Create Daily Peace Practices – when you start and end your day with activities that calm and center you, the time in between will be peaceful as well. There are unlimited ways to do this and it is important to choose what feels right and you are willing to commit to. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Walking in nature
- Reading meaningful or uplifting material
Live Simply– inner and outer clutter are distracting and complicate our lives. On some level they keep us on edge all the time. Creating a physical environment that is peaceful and calm will nurture the same within you. Take a careful look at your space, calendar, and the people in your life. It may be time to let some things go. When you are able to focus on what you love and what is meaningful to you, more peaceful moments will follow. This isn’t selfish. When you are in a calm and relaxed state you will be more effective in what you do and present with the ones you love.
Don’t Marinate in Your Upsets – we are all faced with events and people that disturb our peace. It’s part of living in a world of humans. When you are triggered, the feeling that comes as a response only lasts about a minute. The problem is that you keep replaying the story and triggering the feeling over and over again. The opportunity here is to learn not to keep repeating the story so that you can return to a peaceful state as soon as possible. Here are some of the strategies you might choose to work with:
- Give it a minute or two – let the feeling dissipate on its own
- Any of the tools above for returning to the present moment
- Ask yourself if being upset is serving you and if not, let it go
- Move into neutrality by stepping outside of yourself and observing the situation
- Imagine you are watching what is happening on a movie screen
- Bring compassion and understanding to all involved, knowing everyone is doing the best they are capable of in that moment
Cultivating inner peace is a gift to yourself and those around you. It is from this grounded space that you can be your best self and create your best life. And, it feels sooooo good.
Learn more about the Inner Peace Retreat
When someone lies to you they are more likely to:
- Touch their face or scratch their nose
- Blink more often than usual
- Avoid eye contact
- Smile only with their mouth
- Seem uncomfortable with pauses in conversation and jump in to fill the gap
- Provide more information than they are asked for
- Look relieved when the subject changes
- Have closed body language like crossed arms or have something between you
When you are feeling challenged and frustrated by people around you, changing how you see them can make all the difference. You can adjust your view of people, events, or things to make them seem more or less powerful and make it easier, even entertaining, to be around them.
Just imagine what would happen if you visualized the troubling person in front of you as a:
- 2 year old having a tantrum
- Cartoon character
- Character in a fairy tale or myth
- Animal in the zoo
- Mouse sized version of themselves with a little squeaky voice
You can flip the view and use this idea in a loving way that brings forward compassion for the other person, by seeing them as:
- The beautiful baby or child they once were
- A hissing cat or barking dog that is afraid and really just wants to be loved
Visualizing words flashing on their foreheads like hurt, afraid, insecure, or sad, can also help you feel more understanding and diminish the impact their actions have on you.
The most powerful way to view yourself and the people around you is to remember that we are all souls. Our souls are perfect, but they get covered up by our fears, pain, and reactions to the things that happen in our lives. Remembering the true nature of the troubled and troublesome people around you can support you in interacting in a more comfortable and loving way.
- Create holiday intentions and review them regularly
- Focus on the meaning of the holiday
- Pray or meditate daily
- Forget about people pleasing
- Enjoy uplifting holiday music
- Spend time being fully present with the ones you love
- Do something to nurture yourself each day
- Spend time in nature
- Read something that inspires you
- Be gentle with yourself and the people around you
- Focus on how you want to be, not what you want to do
- Eliminate guilt by re-evaluating expectations
- Dance, sing, and play through the holidays
- Give from your heart
- Find a way to saturate yourself in gratitude
- Stay centered in the present moment
- Keep plenty of breathing space in your schedule
- Give your body the rest, movement, and nutrition it needs
- Establish firm, but loving boundaries with people who challenge you
- Stay organized and on top of things by using lists, apps, or whatever works for you
What will you do to stay relaxed this holiday season?
With the change of seasons (not that it is very noticeable here in CA), I decided to pull out my winter clothes and see what I could piece together for my cool weather wardrobe.
I have to admit that while I am not a big shopper, I do like getting a good deal. This has resulted in my having a hodgepodge of clothes, many of which do not go together. It is challenging for me to clear some of them out because they are nice and might fit with something new I pick up in the future. So, even though I don’t have a ton of clothes there is a sense of chaos.
What I want is a closet with nice, well made clothes that go together. I want to open it and see a few complete outfits as my choices for each day.
And then, all I have to do each morning is ask them, “Who wants to come out and play?
This weekend I tried to tackle the project of clearing my closet. I must not have been in the right mood for it because I kept putting back things that had been placed in the donate pile. Instead of pushing myself, I simply accepted where I was at and chose an easier process that might work for you as well.
- I discarded anything stained or damaged. My two cats have a habit of putting holes in my clothes when they do that pawing thing before laying in my lap and I’m not really a fan of the shredded bag lady look.
- I stashed summer clothing and things I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be wearing for a while in the back of the closet where they would be out of my line of vision.
- I put together a few outfits for casual, business, and exercise/lounging with what remained and gave them center stage with lots of empty space around them.
- I then turned all of the hangers for this season’s clothing backwards. When things are worn and laundered they will be hung the normal direction. In a couple weeks it will be easy to see what I truly enjoy wearing.
My closet looks much better and the chaotic feeling is gone. My choices are more clear each day and I am only wearing things I feel good in. It feels very peaceful to have a simple wardrobe, even when I haven’t cleared it all out.
My intention is to return to this project for phase 2 in a couple weeks and move out all those items that I am not really wearing. The experience of enjoying a simple organized wardrobe will make those choices much easier.
We all have stories about our histories and many of them are about childhood experiences where our needs were not met. Some of us continue to feel the pain and anger of those early times. The beliefs we formed about ourselves and the world also continue to shape our lives.
Holding onto our childhood stories can keep us stuck in the past and blocked from living the life of our dreams. We can make ourselves sick by keeping the emotions in our bodies. We live as victims and are controlled by fear. This is what feeds our deepest feelings of being unworthy and unlovable. Continue reading
Years ago I went through a time period when I was feeling sad and I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. It had happened gradually without my realizing what was going on. My days felt hard and my heart was heavy.
And then, one evening I was sitting on my couch watching TV and began to cry. I realized this was becoming a pattern and that is when it hit me. I cried when I watched the animal rescue show every evening that featured starving, abused animals in desperate situations.
My choice of “entertainment” was impacting how I felt in a big way.
There are many ways that our small choices can influence our moods, feelings, and level of hope about the world. In many cases the descent into negativity happens so gradually we are not even aware of it.
Taking the following steps will help you reset your life and start to feel positive again:
There are times in our lives when we all have continued doing things that no longer served us. Sometimes we just wonder about it. Is what I am doing working for me? Should I make a change? Sometimes we feel stuck. Why does nothing happen when I try so hard?
The following process is a quick and easy way to evaluate how effective your strategies are and decide how you want to move forward. Simply ask yourself these 6 questions: Continue reading
Recently, I presented a program about strategies for dealing with stress to employees at a local insurance office. One of the things that became clear is that most people think of stress as something big, powerful, and overwhelming, that controls them.
Not true. Continue reading
I have to admit that even after living in California my entire life this last earthquake scared me. It was 5.1 and the epicenter was near my home. This is the first time I have had to clean up broken glass and things that fell off shelves and I am very grateful that it wasn’t worse.
But, it got me thinking. We all experience quakes in our lives – being laid off, a shaken marriage, death or illness, and even those smaller aftershocks like an argument or project gone wrong. Continue reading
The period of completion, rather than being just an act of finality, is also one of transition. When we seek closure, what we really want is an understanding of what has happened and an opportunity to integrate the lessons we have learned. Continue reading
Anything worth doing deserves a solid foundation that will increase its chances of success. Sometimes, how you begin something is the most important thing. Here are two steps that will get you off to a great start: Continue reading
I recently had a situation where I felt misunderstood. When I carefully reviewed what was said everything seemed to be clear, but it was obvious the other person was angry with me. Continue reading