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Finding Personal Peace In The Midst Of Challenging Times

I can recall being a kid in the 70’s and hearing my parents talk about the bad economy and the long gas lines. I recall thinking that a bad economy must happen a lot because it seemed like they talked about that often as I was growing up.


I can vividly recall a time of challenge and difficulty when our grandson was born with multiple gut issues that required 4 surgeries in 4 months and an extended 4 month stay in the NICU and all the moments of grief and anguish over wondering if he would be ok.


I think it’s safe to say if we live long enough we go through moments in our lives that can bring us to our knees. In our world and in our country right now, I think we’ve had more than our share of those moments in the last 12 months.


I am reminded by the political and social unrest; politics that have crossed way over the line of having differences in values or beliefs into a cult like following – I am reminded by a deadly virus with the name of Covid-19 that so much of this life both personally and in the world is out of our control.


We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world, with people that are broken sometimes physically, sometimes mentally or emotionally, and sometimes both, some that go unseen and others that because of their position wield enormous influence sometimes for good and sometimes for evil.


I am reminded that the only one I can control is me.


This is an opportunity if we choose to see it that way. It is an opportunity to make time and space to be sad, to be angry, to feel disappointed in people, in our country. But it is also time to reestablish a few things as well.


We can stay sad, angry or disenchanted, or we can use this as an opportunity to control what we can and ought to and surrender the rest.


Utilizing a tool I call a T chart can help. It involves identifying one specific issue ( lest we get overwhelmed) and then instructs us to identify the specific outcome(s) we desire.


From there you can draw a “T” on a letter size piece of paper and create headers of “Things I can control or influence, and the other side, “Things I cannot control or influence.”


Write down specific actions in brainstorm fashion of the elements of your situation you can and then cannot control.


Seeing it all on paper and having that visual, offers us a plan of action. We can then survey the landscape of the things that are within our control and consider which action or actions we should pour our time and energy into. Which ones are likely to move us toward our desired outcome?


On the other side, consider all those things you identified that you cannot control. Then surrender them. That can look like different things to different people. Some of you may choose to pray on those things, others might meditate on them only long enough to mentally and emotionally release them. Some of you who are more visual or kinesthetic may need to write down those elements that are beyond your control and burn them in your fireplace or outdoor fire pit.


Revisit the lists daily. Meditate on the goals or desired outcome. Put your energies and time

where you can effect change.


You won’t have peace unless or until you intentionally pursue it. It doesn’t just arrive neatly

wrapped on your doorstep one day.


However, pouring yourself into controlling or influencing what you can helps to regain our balance, and sense of internal peace and control.


Additionally, make time and space in your day- even 10 minutes to consider what brings you peace. Do you need to do some mindful deep breathing, slowing down your heart rate, and accessing your parasympathetic nervous system so you can help your mind and body experience calm?

Deep mindful breathing is one thing that with practice and repetition, can instill a state of inner calm and peace.


Do you need to make time and space for prayer or meditation? People who pray and /or

meditate slow down their heart rate, and often fairly quickly enter into a state of peace and

relaxation. A prayer can be formal or it can be just talking to God as you would a friend.


Might you choose to learn a technique called Havening? Havening is a simple way of doing repetitive motions that literally change what is happening in your brain. While it is often used for treatment of trauma, anyone can learn to use it to simply feel more relaxed and calm. Research Havening. There are several good you tube videos that demonstrate how to do it.


There are additional practices, things like tapping, (emotional freedom technique) doing yoga, tai chi or getting a massage that can induce a state of peace and calm.


But you have to make time and space to allow for these things that can make a world of difference in your mood, energy and mindset.


Lastly, we need to know what is going on in the world, but we don’t benefit by watching a constant flood of news. Limit yourself to 10 minutes of news daily to get a handle on what is going on, and then move on to more peace inducing activities.


We wish you peace in the midst of historic and challenging circumstances.


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