Finding Inner Peace to Weather the Storms of Change Raging Around Us
Inner peace is the new success
Health is the new wealth
Kindness is the new cool.”
Do you ever read or hear something that speaks to you deeply? It happened again to me recently and I wish to share it with you in the hopes that it brings you as much inner peace, softness and joy as it did for me. I’m sure you’ll agree that now, more than ever, finding inner peace is something we can all use.
Because we live in such strange and harsh times, we do well to seek solace from within. When the world around us is not a soft and nourishing place, we must be able to rely on our own inner resources of gentleness, kindness, equanimity and peace.
David Whyte, one of my favorite poets, has the ability to describe human experiences with elegance and perceptiveness. His descriptions often resonate with deeper parts of my being, making them come alive, say “yes” and relax because they feel heard and seen.
The opening of his poem “Coleman’s Bed” moved me in a special way. It begins…
“Make a nesting now, a place to which the birds can come,
think of Kevin’s prayerful palm holding the blackbird’s egg and be the one,
looking out from this place who warms interior forms into light.
Feel the way the cliff at your back gives shelter to your outward view
and then bring in from those horizons all discordant elements that seek a home.”
This highlights to me that we actually grow rather than find our inner peace when we enter our “nesting place”. Our warmth, our light, our shelter, our home is found in our very core. From this sacred place we can welcome in life’s experiences and see how we can influence the way in which our experiences shape our lives.
We often seek safety on the outside — a safe home, a safe relationship, a safe friendship, a safe space in the world. It’s natural and human to want to feel safe. Yet the very things we think will bring us safety, can fail to do so. And even when our environment becomes safer, we still might not feel safe, if the wellspring of our peace isn’t held internally. I love how Megan Wagner pictures a cauldron we carry deep in our belly, into which we place and hold feelings as sacred — our own and those that other people entrust to us.
Without doing the work to discover your safe space, challenges may leave us feeling vulnerable, exposed, robbed, and not whole. Here are some indicators that there’s room for growth…
- When you feel at odds with yourself.
- When you don’t feel like you belong.
- When you feel increased depression and anxiety.
- When you feel lost and overwhelmed.
- When you feel paralyzed.
- When you collapse and crumble under a crisis.
- When adversities hit you hard and you don’t resiliently bounce back.
- When you allow internalized negative voices to run your life.
- When you feel less in control and in charge of your life.
On the other hand, when you find inner peace you’ll…
- Speak to yourself in a respectful tone, with kind words.
- Make room for and accept all of your emotions.
- Acknowledge where you are as you progress at your own pace.
- Appreciate your inner beauty and enhance it through growth, change and updating.
- Recognize that you have different parts that often compete for your attention.
- Respect your needs and preferences and make decisions that honor them.
Cultivating inner peace and safety is a slow, mindful process. It takes intentionality, courage and a lot of patience. You might not even realize that your inner environment is other than hospitable, until you slow down and pay careful attention. The key is to begin where you are and build this skill slowly.
Your search for inner peace can begin when you realize that being kind to yourself is a courageous act. Past traumas can be healed with inner kindness. And it’s important to give permission to others to do the same.
The poem ends:
“Live in this place
as you were meant to and then,
surprised by your abilities,
become the ancestor of it all,
the quiet, robust and blessed Saint
that your future happiness will always remember.”
It is my wish that we all dare to cultivate a safe nest on the inside; that we can take refuge when life is hard, thereby radiating love and joy always.
If you’d like a safe place to explore how the words you use can either make you feel safe or insecure, please join myself and a group of like-minded women for conversation at the Great Circle Community on Thursday, November 4th for Dissonance vs. Resonance: How to Ensure Our Words Align with Our Values. There’s no cost, it’s a place to listen and to speak your truth.