Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Ten Practical Steps to Inner Peace
Unflappable. That is such a wonderfully descriptive word. I have known some truly unflappable people. They exude an inner calmness even in the most trying circumstances. They are fully present with everyone, gentle, and accepting of themselves and others. Then there are the flappers. Flappers have chaos and angst in their midst. They are busy, busy, busy. Frantic and preoccupied. A flapper can't relax or fully enjoy life because they are so easily disturbed by events, people, and problems. In fact, they are prone to create problems and crises. We all flap around on occasion, but some folks are perpetual flappers.
Everyone desires to be less flappable and have more inner peace. We all know the restorative power of meditating, prayer, staying in the moment, deep breathing, and exercise. However, sometimes we need to make some profound and practical shifts in the perceptions of ourselves and how we live to lay the foundation for inner peace. Here are ten ideas to integrate into your life to begin the peace process:
1. Have nothing unresolved as opposed to just having things finished. Don't create "to do" lists for the thrill of checking things off. Clear up the larger unresolved issues personally and professionally that sap your energy and create other problems. You will feel a weight come off your shoulders.
2. Surrender and accept what is so instead of resisting and fighting. Stop struggling. Resistance blocks energy and creativity. How can you find a solution when you are flailing about? Unhook yourself from the situation or person and view it from a detached perspective.
3. Take full responsibility for how you react to others. Other people don't make you behave in a certain way. You choose your behavior. Decide who you want to be in all circumstances. Mentally prepare yourself and plan for a calm, unflappable response even during trying times.
4. Become aware of and sensitive to feelings rather than ignoring them. This means your own feelings as well as others. Don't shove away feelings because they are uncomfortable. They are sending you a message. Take time to poke around those feelings to discover what is behind them. If you don't, the feelings will come back in more unpleasant ways and really disrupt your peace.
5. Tell the entire truth versus editing, lying, or translating. Be real. Lay it on the table in a gentle and authentic way. Hiding the truth doesn't serve you in the long run. Staying true to your integrity brings peace of mind.
6. Distinguish between your self versus your mind, ego, needs or past experience. Take the time to understand who you really are. What are your values, your goals, your joys and passions, your integrity? Those are what define you and make your authentic.
7. Immediately catch yourself when triggered by adrenaline. Adrenaline is the drug of choice in a stressed out society. It gives us a jolt of superhuman energy when faced with a threat. But we mostly use it to get that rush to blast through difficult times. An adrenaline lifestyle can do soul-damaging things: overworking, being greedy, insistence on getting ahead or winning even at the expense of relationships. Kick the adrenaline dependency. Slow down and let go or risk losing your health, your relationships, and your peace of mind.
8. Recognize and determine why your cage gets rattled. What makes you bristle or pushes your buttons? There's a reason this happens, and understanding what's behind these feelings is the first step in addressing the problem or letting it go. Keep asking yourself, "Why do I feel this way?" until you know the real answer.
9. Step over nothing, even the small stuff (but don't fix others!).
Don't ignore even the smallest tolerations or imbalance in your life. You may not be able to change everything, but awareness and the ability to manage tolerations in a healthy way can bring you peace.
10. Reprioritize peace ahead of performance. Make an estimated guess on the days you have left to live. Do you want to look back at your life and celebrate the rushing around, the completed "to do" lists, the stuff, or do you want to reflect on days of calm, connectedness, great relationships, wonderful experiences, and peace of mind?