No matter what the circumstances, it’s possible to find peace and happiness. It can be easy to forget gratitude, but if we make a concerted, ongoing effort, we can find it.
This weekend I’m spending in New Mexico with my sister and her kids. I’m nervous about going, for reasons I don’t completely understand—I think it’s because usually Mom would be with us, and now she’s not—but the good thing is that I get to spend time with my loved ones. The most valuable gift you can give a person is your time, which is a good thing because I can no longer afford to buy them expensive gifts. What I can do is show up.
The holidays won’t be easy this year for those of us who’ve lost loved ones. Their absence will be felt more strongly. But the beauty of that is that we can allow ourselves to feel the depth and strength of the love we feel for those we’ve lost. We can be grateful for our loved ones whose physical presence is still here, and we can know that those who’ve passed live on in our hearts.
My belief is that most people are inherently good. Our actions may not always show it, but we want to do good. Some of us have different ideas about what that means. We have no control over what another person says or does, or how events play out. All a person can do is her part. We can cast our votes and then accept the results. That doesn’t mean not to take action. Now more than ever I want to get involved in being of service to my community. No laws prevent us from helping others, going to rallies, or engaging in peaceful protests.
Not everyone is a thinker or a spiritual seeker. Perhaps most people are not. Many of us spend at least some or all of our time numbing ourselves out with television, food, alcohol, or one of the other many addictive behaviors our culture encourages. These behaviors are soul-killers. They prevent us from being who we truly are, our highest selves. They prevent us from getting close to God, Tao, Allah, or a higher power, or our inner/higher selves, or whatever you want to call this power greater than ourselves. Not everyone is interested in this higher power, but for me, it’s how I find peace. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to indulge in a good TV show now and then.
However, lately I find that it’s hard to do anything that involves words and people. One reason could be that the words that I read and write are too negative, or too much, or too little, and that’s why I haven’t posted every day. Our brains are wired to the negative for self-preservation, but this evolved way of thinking no longer serves us. Neuroplasticity allows us to re-wire our brains for the positive. Lately I find peace in painting, Buddhist chants or instrumental music, preferably uplifting sounds. I love to watch documentaries about wildlife. I no longer want to live in the negative.
Some other ways in which I find peace, things that I feel grateful for, are this: nature, watching birds, taking photos, looking at photos of animals, spending time with loved ones, reading inspirational books, sipping cinnamon rose tea.
At night I go to bed with the intention of having a dream that will expose truth to me, because I believe dreams can do that. Last night I dreamt I saw a chalkboard and on it was written: God. This is it. My interpretation is that God (or whatever word you use—I use “God”) is the answer; God is here. No matter what we do or whether or not we acknowledge it or feel it, I believe a higher power exists, and is right here, now. For me to find peace, I must access this higher power, and access it on an ongoing basis. It’s easy to forget, especially when times are happy, but we can always come back to it… Peace and namaste.