Peace Begins With Us
Giant snow flakes float gently earthward creating softness surrounding our little homestead house. Quiet white envelops us in a peaceful blanket spread smoothly over the valley. It feels comfortable, a warm welcoming back to center, back to home.
Things in this world can feel overwhelming, especially if you are someone who feels deeply. It can hit you like tidal waves, crashing into you like a wall of brick, smacking hard stinging skin and cracking bone, rolling you over into tumultuous seas, plunging directly into the depths of an ocean you had no idea was surrounding you. Clinging and clawing, struggling to breathe, find footing on solid ground, lungs searing hot and longing for breath can leave you washed up on shore with sand plastered into hair and eyes, bruised and battered broken wanting desperately to know what just hit you.
Tsunami. Tidal Wave.
I welcome the gentle, the fresh, clean white of newly fallen snow. Crisp air fills lungs and brings you back to the present moment. Back to your quiet center, welcoming you back to home. Wouldn’t it be great if we could stay here, in this peaceful place where all is quiet and well within our souls? What if I told you, you could? Would you believe me, or say it isn’t so?
Our natural state is peace. We want to live in love. When we are aligned and centered, and all feels good, natural, energetic, and connected, when love flows through us we are open and loving, peace permeates our hearts, bodies, minds, and lives.
We all get blindsided, thrown off track every now and again.
Even the most devoted, the most intentional, fall prey to the human condition and the state of the world around us. Stress hits us hard, taking its toll, making us irritable, and robbing us of joy. We cope daily with the challenges and stresses of our lives. Holding a job, raising a family, nurturing relationships, managing businesses, and just plain ol’ daily life, not to mention all the chaos and changes that are going on in the world right now throw us off balance and cast us far away from our naturally peaceful, loving state.
How do we find balance and regain peace?
I once asked a teacher of mine this question. It always felt like I would get a little taste, or a glance at what peace would look and feel like, then like a whitetail deer, that fleeting moment of an eyeblink, a flicker of tail, springing of muscle and flash of white, the feeling would be gone, elusive. I will never forget what she told me. She said, all you have to do is ask. Peace is always there. It sits quietly waiting for us to want it.
I didn’t understand her answer with the depth that I do now. Peace is permanent. It is a part of who we are, our soul, whether we have experienced it or not. Peace is ours. It surrounds us, it’s visible and accessible in creation. We can see it, feel peace, experience it in a quiet moment on a beautiful beach looking out over the vast expanse of the ocean, or a stillness that wraps around you at the peak of a mountain. Peace is snow falling gently enveloping our world in a softness that speaks by saying nothing.
So how do we cultivate peace in our own lives, in our souls, especially when it feels like the world around you is spinning out of control?
First stop. Ask for peace to become accessible to you. Create an awareness of peace. We cannot create or accept something that we do not acknowledge. Practice peace.
Find a still place. Slow your body to slow your mind. Turn off electronics, and your phone.
Come to sitting in a chair, in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor, your spine straight, sitting up tall. Feel your feet firmly connected to the earth below you, while the crown of your head reaches gently up toward the sky.
Place your hands on your abdomen, fingers spread across the lower belly.
Close your eyes or find a focal point, soften your gaze and relax your eyes. Relax and release your lower jaw, allowing the molars to part a bit creating space in the back of your mouth, and your tongue to settle into the base of the mouth.
Bring your attention to your breath. Breathing in and out through the rings of the nostrils begin to gently deepen your breath, drawing the breath into the abdomen allowing your belly to round and expand as you inhale. Feel your fingers spread gently across your abdomen as the breath fills your belly. Allow your belly to round and expand filling with breath. Pause and hold the breath with gentle awareness.
Exhale slowly through your nose, contracting your abdominal muscles to gently squeeze the breath out of the belly. Feel your hands on your belly, fingers come back together as the air slowly releases from your lungs.
Inhale gently again through the nose, allowing the belly to round and fill with breath. Bring your attention to your hands feeling them expand over the abdomen. Pause the breath when your belly is fully rounded, filled with breath. Count slowly to three.
Exhale slowly to release the breath through the nose, drawing the belly toward the spine to gently squeeze the breath out of the belly to exhale fully.
Continue to breathe slowly and intentionally in this manner. As you begin to feel comfortable with the breath, cultivate an awareness of peace. This may be an image, a feeling, or an experience to help you connect with the peace that surrounds us. With each inhalation breathe in peace. Allow peace to expand with your muscles as you inhale. Hold that feeling of peace gently in your center with your belly rounded and expanded. Allow the feeling of peace to expand outward from your center.
As you slowly exhale, release anything, thought, feeling, image, or idea that is not peaceful. With each inhalation continue to breathe in peace, allowing the feeling of peace to permeate you, envelop you, support you, and become part of your being. Feel fully surrounded, supported, loved and connected to peace. Continue to exhale and release any stress, negativity, and non-peaceful ideals that you may be holding onto.
Breathe and let go.
Breathe and receive peace.
Peace is in us. Peace surrounds us. We are peace. Peace begins with us.