08 January 2015

Desiring Peace Means Practicing Peace

In case my most recent post sounded glib -- or at least short and without much explanation -- I want to write today about what needs to come after the decision to maintain inner peace.

I've used certain tools for long enough now that keeping or getting back to inner peace is a matter of taking a few deep breaths or removing myself from a situation for a while.

But there was a time when I very much desired inner peace, yet my inherent anxiety and acquired habits of worry and fear plunged me into turmoil despite that desire. I was driven and I knew I was driven. I hated it and could do nothing about it. There's a long story or essay here, but for now I want to acknowledge that acquiring inner peace is a journey. Depending on where you are on that journey, some blog post telling you to "relinquish your inner peace to nothing and no one" might seem patronizing and unhelpful. It would have to me.

The fact is that the second step on my journey to inner peace (the first step being desiring it) was to get myself on anxiety medication. That was a hard decision -- I'd always prided myself on not taking a lot of pills and over-the-counter medicines -- but my misery was so deep that ultimately I had no alternative. After the medication helped me become calmer, I found within me the resources to take the next steps on the journey: to discover and practice the methods and tools that allowed peace to grow.

Photo by William Marsh

I have posted a lot about those tools: meditation, reflective prayer, deep breathing, counted breathing, deep muscle relaxation, guided meditation, music, and small comfort measures. (You'll find links to these topics in the Labels list to the right.) They have sustained me through the loss of my work and active life to chronic migraine pain, as well as sorrows and difficulties for family and friends.

It has been a journey of many years. And there were times I despaired of myself and my inability to find the peace I longed for. So I would never say it's easy. Too much in our world and within ourselves mitigates against calm, quiet, ease and serenity. Yet it has been worth it. And I would not go back for anything.

Thank you for reading my blog. You can comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.

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