By Julie Matheson
I notice time and again as therapy clients come in week after week that there will often be a similar theme throughout the week. The issues person-to-person may be very different but one similar component will stand out to me.
This past week it was the question – does this person before me fully understand the choice they have when it comes to enjoying deeper peace? In other words, do they realize they can choose peace no matter what is going on? Or, has so much happened in life they no longer think they have a choice about the level of peace with which they walk through life?
There were a number of factors driving the question: Noted attitudes pushed by their doctors about staying on certain ineffective medications, which they accepted without question. Or, when we talked about adopting an alternative attitude about some particular issue, it was met with low confidence about their ability to find peace and resolution about it.
Inner peace starts with knowing we have a choice. I mean, how deep does the attitude that says “I have no choice in the matter of my own peace” actually go? Maybe it’s a new concept to some that peace is even an option. As if having inner-peace in the midst of stress and chaos is impossible. When, truly, choosing one’s attitude is a skill that can be learned and applied to any situation.
I first became aware of my ability to change my attitude at will in my early 20’s when I got introduced to the practice of making gratitude lists. It changed and empowered my sense of stability every time I did it.
Paying attention to cause and effect is perhaps the most powerful tool to spend our lives perfecting. As in, I did this and then I got this result. Or I took this medication and this is how I felt. Or, I ate this particular food and this is how my body reacted to it. Or, when I get enough rest I feel amazing and have more peace and resolve for dealing with stress.
But these are just two ways to play with our attitudes. There are many others. And, the gift in the practice is twofold. One, we most likely will achieve a shift in our perspective from doing the exercise. Two, we learn that we can shift our attitude with just a little attention toward doing it.
Perhaps we get too invested in our helplessness and forget how incredibly powerfully we can evolve our thinking. Suffering can become an identity, and we don’t even realize that we are living a story of suffering.
However, we all have a choice in how we believe, which affects how we think, which further impacts how we feel and behave.
Do you feel you have a choice when it comes to safeguarding your inner peace? What skills do you use when your inner balance is thrown off kilter? How do you bring yourself back into balance?
Here are some thoughts to consider about your inner peace:
1. Know that you can choose it by committing to it. Make it a priority. Take charge of your own peace. Own it. Cherish it.
2. Be the guardian of your inner sanctuary. Spend time alone when you need to. Say no and mean it. Stand up for yourself and your peace. Avoid aggressive persons.
3. Hone skills that contribute to peace. Giving yourself permission to practice setting boundaries like not picking up the phone every time someone calls and not answering every text the second it comes in. Take a breath. Take a moment. Take a walk without your phone.
4. Remember the peace that is always available in silence and stillness. Next time you sit quietly, put a huge bubble of soft white light around yourself and know that it filters out anything that’s not peaceful. Use your intention to set it up and then let it do the work for you.
5. Pay attention to cause and effect. Use this practice to evolve your thinking. How do certain foods and substances affect your mood? What do you notice? Then act on what you learn to take better care of yourself. You are the only one who can.
Your Affirmation for Peace: I choose peace every day. I am powerfully peaceful. I practice peace and when I need to act quickly, I can, from a place of serene, calm and balance. I do not blame others when I lack peace. I set boundaries. I trust my inner knowing. I trust my inner peace. I guard it. I cherish it. I cultivate inner peace and it, in turn, nourishes me.
Julie Matheson is a holistic mental health counselor and author. Her new book is now on Amazon in paperback, Kindle, Audible and in bookstores near you – Lotus Flower Living: A Journaling Practice for Deep Discovery and Lasting Peace: Untangle Your Mind and Heart Once and For All. You may listen to the Introduction at LotusFlowerLiving.com/book.