Being Peaceful in a Not So Peaceful World

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Do you ever wonder how you can stay peaceful as Life throws her inevitable curveballs your way?

The morning of May 2 started out as one of those “perfect” mornings. Getting up feeling peaceful and contented, I took an early morning walk to my favorite pond; had a deep meditation and felt such love for the budding trees and wildly chirping birds. I had the day “perfectly” scheduled to work on the re-design of my recent book.  Ah yes, the day was unfolding perfectly with such grace and ease, I thought, as I sat down at my favorite desk in the library and laid out my work.

And then —

I turned to the first page and found I had the wrong 280-page document printed out.  My team member was three time zones behind me, and it was too early reach her to sort it out. The rest of my week was scheduled tight, and this had been my “magic” window to work in bliss on my beloved book. I felt a rush of upset, even anger. My perfect day seemed to dissolve as I sat in the library with not even a computer — just my pen, pad of paper and book — and no time to get back to my office and start something new.  It seemed not only was my day thrown into disarray, but my week was too.

Trying to decide what to do, I picked up a copy of my book and randomly thumbed to a quote by Mary Morrissey: “Give up the pretense that by being tense you can make something better.”  

When Life throws her curve balls, it can be so easy to get thrown off-kilter. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can throw us for a loop. We can look at another’s frustration and wonder what the big deal is, but it’s not always so easy in the mirror.

It’s been said that the source of suffering is our attachment to unfulfilled expectations, when we want someone or something to be different than it actually is. Fortunately, there are a few ways we can untangle ourselves from this web of expectations. 

Here are six tricks to help you on your way to peace in a world that is not always so peaceful:

Become aware of how you’re reacting. This can be difficult when our emotions are flooding us, but the first step is to just notice and acknowledge the disappointment, frustration, anger, sadness etc. Don’t gloss over this step: Telling your frustrations or anger to hush up usually just makes them just grow louder.  Give them a voice or a good cry. Put your hand on your heart, even as you recognize that you have a choice in how you respond to any situation.

Physically relax your body. Don’t try to jump into action immediately. Take at least a few minutes with yourself and consciously relax your shoulders, your jaw, your eyes. Hold your forehead with your fingertips and cover your eyes until you feel yourself relax. Maybe allow yourself a little smile, which signals to your brain that things are not as dire as you might think. Take some deep breaths.

Ask: What is this trying to teach me? Asking this question can open the door to curiosity, which is one of the best ways to shift into an upward spiral. Ellen Tadd teaches that when we view life from a human perspective, life can seem tragic, but when viewed from a spiritual perspective it can get really interesting.  

When I asked what this snafu was really about, the guidance flooded in. My perfectionistic, uber-Virgo, super-organized self was needing to learn to unwind and let go of control and perfection. It needed to develop a little more humor, and trust that a perceived bump is also part of the “perfection.” It was a lesson to roll with the punches by keeping an expanded state of being instead of allowing myself to contract into fear. Expansion keeps us curious and in our heart-space. Fear constricts us into a narrow me-view. You can’t be in both places at the same time: we get to choose to either be in Expansion or Fear.

Explore your expectations. If you like to write, journaling can be a great way to access the subconscious expectations that often run the show without our realizing it. I like to ask my Spirit to write through me to tell me what expectations are hijacking my happiness.  

That person who upset you by their words of actions? What expectations do you have about how you want or think they should behave?  Did they agree to those expectations? Do they even know you have those expectations about them?  Would they agree if they did?

What about situations? I was really attached to my expectation that I’d be able to do what I’d carefully planned. When I got honest with myself, I recognized that I’d been expecting “perfection”— from myself and my team members. I was holding all of us to unrealistic standards of perfection. I wasn’t leaving room for mistakes or, more importantly, recognizing the perfection of Life and the Universe when we simply open up and wonder what the “curveball” is all about.

Ask: What’s the gift in this situation? When I asked this question, I laughed out loud at the answer. I’d been having writers block recently and was procrastinating on writing some articles I’d promised folks. My soul isn’t happy when I don’t write for more than a few days. Suddenly, I had nothing to do — with only pen, paper and a block of time to write this article you’re now reading. The Universe really does know what she’s doing!  

It’s said that rejection is often the universe’s protection. When I could open myself to this guidance, I could see that I was being nudged to follow the path that would bring the most joy, not dutifully follow the to-do list.

How might one of your frustrations actually be a gift for you?

When Life throws a curve, it’s not always easy, but we can cultivate peace in our heart to be peaceful in the world.  We always have that choice.

Written by: Diane Pienta

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Diane Pienta is a writer, forest therapy guide and creativity mentor. A former businesswoman, she was sparked by a cancer diagnosis to transform her own life with alternative healing, creativity, nature, yoga and meditation, This led to a new career guiding others to be their own magic in ways that bring joy and fulfillment. She’s the author of Be the Magic: Bite-Sized Nuggets of Wisdom to Feed your Joy, Nourish your Soul and Open your Heart. Find her on Instagram at @dianepientamagic and Facebook at dianepienta. More information at DianePienta.com

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