I was walking along the beach the other day doing what so many of us do—thinking about the things in my life that I want to fix—when I noticed a crooked Christmas tree someone had planted in the sand. The tree was leaning far to the left and had an uneven shape.
I wasn’t in the best of moods, so the crooked tree irritated me. I looked away and kept walking. But when I glanced back a few moments later, the tree appeared perfectly straight.
“Got it,” I said out loud, acknowledging the lesson in perspective that I was meant to receive. The tree hadn’t changed, but my vantage point had. Similarly, I needed to shift my perspective on my life.
Immediately, I began thinking about my many blessings. And as I did, I began to feel happier, kinder, more of the world and less caught up in myself. I began to see possibilities rather than roadblocks, beauty instead of annoyances—all because I simply chose to be grateful.
Anyone can learn to do this, and it only takes a few minutes. Do it daily and it’ll knock your socks off.
How to Practice Gratitude
- At the beginning of each day, list five things for which you’re grateful. This positive start can carry through the day, helping you view challenges as opportunities.
- During the day, if there’s a bump in the road, take yourself back to your list. Notice how this feels in your body and how being grateful affects your words and actions.
- Just before bedtime, give thanks again for your blessings. You can do this in your head, but I think it’s more powerful to write them down. This end-of-day practice programs your subconscious with positive, empowering images and helps you create more positivity in your life.
An image I posted
on Insta got
I told the cat this as
I cleaned her box.
I said again. She jumped
in, peed, got out,
and moved to the next thing.
don’t change the fact
that I clean a cat box.
We often use the epitaph “rest in peace” when referring to those who have died. It’s a lovely thought, and one I think we should extend to the living. What if “live in peace” was what we all wanted for ourselves and for others?
Live in Peace
If “live in peace” guided our actions, what changes would we experience in our day-to-day interactions? Imagine:
- a business negotiation where the intention was to find a solution that benefits everyone and to put goodness into the world
- a conversation with a loved one where kindness was the starting point
- a day-to-day interaction—at a restaurant or while commuting, for instance—where your best and kindest self drives your actions
“Live in peace” is my intention for this week. I’m eager to see how pausing to set this intention will change my words and actions.
Will you join me? I’d love to hear how “live in peace” changes your experiences in your work, within your relationships, and in your day-to-day life. Please leave comments here or in my Facebook Group.
More and more, clients are coming to me saying that they’re overwhelmed by the negativity they feel around them, particularly in politics and in the media, but also in their homes and workplaces.
They wonder how they can keep it from invading their lives. “You absolutely can,” I tell them, and then we explore how.
The first step in cultivating peace is realizing that we have a limited ability to affect outside influences. But there’s one thing we can work on: ourselves. So how can we create that inner peace?
Three Areas Where You Can Create Peace
There’s a lot more to this, but let’s look at three areas that my clients are struggling with: jobs, families and the negativity they’re feeling, especially related to their exposure to the media.
- Peace in your job. “I need a new job” is usually the first thing I hear clients say when they’re stressed about work. “Maybe you do,” I say. “And maybe you don’t.” We start to look at ways they may be unknowingly contributing to the toxicity they feel at work.For instance, how do you respond when your boss makes an unreasonable request of you or talks to you in a disrespectful way? Do you silently fume and accept that you need to be loyal and then go home and complain about it? What actions do you think you can take to ensure that you’re feeling respected while still being viewed as a team player?If you’re feeling constantly exhausted and overworked, what can you do to change that? What does “hard working” mean to you—does it have to involve constantly pushing, or can you find a gentler way to accomplish the same amount of work without driving yourself into the ground? What are some things you can do to create balance in your life so you’re not exhausted before you even head into the office? For instance, how are your exercise and nutritional habits? What do you do to create joy for yourself?I think it’s also useful here to quickly review your prior jobs. Did you feel this kind of stress in each of them? If so, is there a possibility that you’ve been repeating unhealthy habits at job after job?
We have a limited ability to affect outside influences. But there’s one thing we can work on: ourselves.
- Peace within your family. What’s your daily life like at home? Is everyone rushing around, gathering only for meals? Is your house a mess? Does one person do most of the work at home? Are you yelling over the sound of the TV? Do your conversations start from a place of love, respect and a desire to connect, or are they adversarial and about being right? What’s one thing you can do today to make a shift within yourself, and therefore lessen some of chaos you feel at home?
- Peace when exposed to the media. We all know that when we eat a healthy diet, our bodies and minds feel better. The same is true with the media we consume. Do you stand in front of the TV yelling when you disagree with a politician featured on the news? What kinds of posts do you make on social media–are they examples of your frustrations or of the world you want to live in? What changes can you make to your daily media diet? For instance, can you replace your hour of watching TV news with a quick scan of headlines in the newspaper or at a news website, diving deep only on the stories you care most about? What can you do for yourself during that extra hour you now have in each day? Is there a way you can get involved with an issue you care about, thus working to solve the problem rather than just raging about it and therefore giving it more of our collective attention? Is raging a good use of your time and energy?
Peace Can Only Live Outside of Us if It Lives Within Us
Everyone’s circumstance is different, and I’m not saying that you need to take all of the actions listed above to create peace for yourself. But if you consciously make one small change, you may be pleasantly surprised by the sense of peace that overcomes you. Peace isn’t something “out there”: It can only live outside of us if it lives within us.
Need some help working through ways to create more peace in your life? Book an appointment with me today.