The last few days I’ve had this sense of peace over me. It is because I am getting settled in to this new life. And I’m on vacation. I have been so peaceful that it was hard to think of a blog post. There aren’t as many thoughts in that state of rest, it’s just being. While I am not always in this state, I can achieve it for long periods of time. I wonder how many others can do this.
Often we look for happiness in future days. Days when we’re getting married, having a baby, getting a new job, having success with our blogs, buying a house, traveling the world, and having everything we want. I know I look forward to those occasional hypomanias where everything feels exciting and new. As I gain more life experience I realize that true happiness comes in the form of peace in the settled days. That life’s exciting experiences are just a small portion of my happiness. It is usually more beneficial to achieve a state of balance. I used to think that balance meant routine and possible boredom. In these routine days I discovered a new version of joy, and that is the unshakable state of peace. It is difficult to achieve but thankfully I arrived here many times.
You’ve heard these tips before, but as with anything important, there are no shortcuts.
Getting back to the present moment
I’m stating the obvious here. Books beat us over the head with this. It is cliche. It’s not as simple as jumping into the present moment, or else we would all be there. Yet, it is essential for peace. For a while I had a phone alarm that said “stay in the moment” which was supposed to jerk me back into the now. It often worked except it caused increased focus on alarms and my phone. After a while coming back to the present became a habit and I eliminated the alarm. It is hard to stay in the moment when things are fast paced, when the weather is horrible, when you have a flat tire, when someone in your family is sick, or you’re having a bad day at work. Those moments suck. On those terrible days, many of us do laundry and the dishes, make a meal, spend quality time with loved ones, read, and go to bed under a warm blanket at night. Those are low stimulation times, and they are perfect for debriefing and coming back to the now.
Get rid of your stuff
My new job gave me a relocation bonus. After doing the math, it made more sense to get a smaller relocube to bring my stuff and rebuy furniture when I got here. I could have used a trailer for a 3-4 room house, but I got a trailer for a studio instead. This was one of the best decisions I ever made. I won’t give a lecture on how to decide what to keep, but the book The Secret Magic of Tidying Up was extremely helpful. I know I had an unusual opportunity, but I can’t emphasize how important it is to declutter your space. You do not need your crap. We use too much space in our heads to maintain our stuff, and just to look at our stuff. Our minds and our demons are skilled liars. They will delude you into thinking items will make you happy. None of us can happily manage too much stuff. Some people like antiques and cute things. I like new and updated things. Because I’m a terrible interior decorator, I just went with a color scheme and slowly repopulated my space.
I used to put a major focus on having unpleasant tasks done. Bills paid, house clean, appointments done, odd stuff done. (Like “go to the town hall” or “get application notarized” for example.) Due to my past, it was important to stay ahead of things and parent myself in case of an emergency. Yet, those endless to do lists are just threatening and unhappy. Those tasks will always be there and it’s almost never urgent. Now I have this happy daily to do list that I look forward to every day. It’s pray, tidy, read, write, spend time with my dog, practice Spanish, and practice guitar and keyboard. These are areas where I truly want to progress. I find when these are in line, I have energy to do the other things. The blah tasks are more peaceful. By prioritizing what I love, I align with the holy spirit. On the other hand, everyone has multiple habits they want to do “DAILY!!” work on your abs DAILY!!! Practice your language DAILY!!!!!! Write DAILY!!!!!!!!!!” it can be overwhelming. Sometimes we just gotta chill on this daily stuff and be flexible. And that’s ok too.
Daily silence and prayer
Except for this. Don’t skip this. God’s first language is silence! We will lose all sense of direction if we fill our days with business and routines. We start to do all the wrong things, take on unnecessary obligations, and get totally lost. We lose control of everything. Constant and mental noise is pure hell, it is horrible for our souls and it is the main issue with society. Silence and prayer are absolutely necessary for peace.
I struggle with this one at times. I am goal oriented and also reflective and I get lost in my own world and thoughts. I tend to daydream and lose presence with others. Despite being near awesome people, I become isolated and lonely. Many are more skilled in this arena. We are all faced with true connection practice with people in our lives. God’s other first language is love. Try hard to listen to others and see their point of view. Despite how it feels, we are all truly connected. Others often reveal a part of God that you don’t have yet.
Exercise, taking medicine, nutrition, etc.
Ask for grace
While I can often achieve peace and balance in my life, it is not by my own efforts.. Everything is 1000 times easier when you sincerely and earnestly seek God’s guidance.