Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Enemy of Peace

The older I become, the more committed I am to living in a state of peace. By peace, I mean inner peace, since I have little to no control over the war and chaos that is present around me.

Perhaps my growing commitment is due to the realization that I don't have an endless amount of time to get my life on track and to live and feel the way I choose, which is peacefully and joyfully. At any rate, I am not willing to delay living in peace, waiting for chaos around me to cease.

When I watch the news and see the exploitation of the weak and innocent, the insanity of wars between countries over borders and the violence that occurs everywhere, I am reminded how fragile we all are living in this world. 

I read about innocent people gunned down in shopping malls and schools. 

I hear accounts of illness, accidents and debilitating injuries that occur daily, affecting countless people of all ages. 

There are plane and car crashes, oil spills, forest fires, hurricanes and tornadoes that  dramatically change lives in an instant. 

With all of the potential calamities and disasters that can possibly occur in our lifetimes, it may seem impossible to experience inner peace. After all, we're human. The enemy of peace, which is fear, seems normal and is simply a natural part of life. 

I believe peace is what is actually natural. 

Although my view may not be shared by everyone, I refuse to get caught up in mini wars in my own life, knowing that many of the potential battles that exist will not bring me peace in the end. I can still be in peace even if you disagree. 

There is a simple habit I have developed that keeps me in a peaceful state (at least, most of the time), and that is to remember to stay in the present moment, rather than fast forward my mind to the future, where fears can grow at warp speed and my peace can evaporate at the same pace. 

Since there are no guarantees in this life that we will live out our years here on earth, unharmed and intact, accepting the possibilities, without dwelling on them is the first step. 

If we are living our lives in a state of gratitude and appreciation for the simple things, like being able to go to our refrigerator and reach for a drink or food whenever we want it, makes that moment feel different than it would if we were worrying about how high food prices will be the next time we shop. 

Fear changes nothing for the better. In contrast, it robs us of peace right now. 

If you are wondering at this point, how one can live in peace when the unthinkable actually does happen, my response is simple. . . accept, rather than resist whatever it may be. Of course, if there is something you can do to change any negative event, get into action, do it and fast. If, however, you cannot change the circumstances, then the only alternative is to accept it. Accept that it has happened as well as how you feel. Resisting the truth of "what is" (including possibly your own grief), only delays peace. Allowing life to continue to flow also allows you to be at peace with whatever "is" in any given moment. 

In one of my keynotes, The Art of Joyful Living, I emphasize how any new skill or art takes practice. I encourage anyone that finds the concept of living in a peaceful state of mind (regardless of circumstances), appealing, to notice what you think about most of the time.....your current situation, or the fear of what may possibly happen at some point in the future. 

Since you only truly have this moment, NOW, I encourage you to step into it, feel it, and enjoy the peace that is always waiting for you there. Eventually, with practice, fear will eventually loosen it's grip, allowing peace to simply be