The American culture is predicated on striving. Striving to reach the next highest level of achievement. Striving to make more money. Striving to buy a home. Striving to be a better you. Striving to have the perfect relationship. Striving to be the perfect worker, boss, mother, father, brother, sister, etc.
If we keep wanting, grasping, hoping to be more, where does that leave us today? With all this striving, is there peace?
December is a month when the word “peace” often comes up. When people say “Peace on earth and good will towards man,” and “Peace be with you.” When “Peace, love and joy” appears on holiday cards amass. Yet if we are striving, always for more, for better, is peace ever really present in our day-to-day lives?
What if peace is available and we are just too busy wanting, striving and grasping to feel its presence? What if I told you it wasn’t necessary to strive or grasp? What if you are perfect just the way you are? What if all you have is now, and the answer simply lies in allowing yourself to be present to now? I think the quote by Bill Keane is particularly noteworthy here: “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”
If we can be present to the wonder of now, then I believe we see that hoping, wishing, or wanting to be in another place is a futile exercise and we are then open to feel peace.
What does it feel like when you believe…
For just a moment that everything is ok exactly as it is,
That your unique self has a gift no one else has and you don’t have to change in any way to offer it,
That it is part of your destiny to add something of great value to this world; something no one else has to offer and all you have to do is be yourself?
What if we realized…
Tranquility, calm, quietness come when we stop doing, and just be,
That just being without any thought is peaceful;
That peace comes in silence, and silence is peace?
Believing and realizing all of this, IS in all of us. It requires us to take note, to be present in the moment we are in. Sit in stillness, close your eyes, relax your body, and take a few slow, deep breaths. Feel your body melt into the chair, your shoulders begin to ease down, the muscles in your face relent. In the silence, in the stillness, there is peace. It is always there, always available.
The true beauty is that as we begin to feel at peace with ourselves, it simultaneously extends out to others in a natural, organic way. It’s the way that the world becomes more peaceful. In case you are looking for peace this holiday season, take a moment to be quiet, silent, and take a breath or two—to be present and available to peace. You could also check out Christopher Papadopoulos’s book, PEACE and Where to Find It.