I guess it only makes sense that this is the ONLY way to actually create peace.  With this breath, and this breath. On a recent yoga and meditation retreat, many of us spent time contemplating, discussing, and reflecting upon the idea of peace. What does it look like in real life? How will we know when we have experienced peace? And finally, what are the obstacles in the way of having peace? I’m not talking about some pie in the sky WORLD peace, simply peace of mind. Now.

For me, peace is evident on a quiet day without too many things on my ‘to do’ list or in the view of Pawtuckaway Lake crusted with ice and completely still. There is peace in nature, peace in the woods, and peace in the early morning hours before the sun rise. Peace is seeing joy and ease in the faces of those I love.

When I try to honestly consider what peace feels like, I’m immediately reminded of what it is NOT; the chaos and unrest between my ears. Peace in the outdoors is one thing… peace in my mind… a whole different thing. I have been especially curious as to why it feels so elusive. Basically, my inner quiet gets disrupted when I want things to be different; when I lose sight of contentment (Santosha). For example, sitting in a 3-hour faculty meeting when I have a long list of other ways I “should” be spending my time robs my peace. When my inner critic tells me that someone or something isn’t quite right, or when the habitual stories (real or imagined) begin to dominate my thoughts, peace feels like a lofty wish, just out of reach.

For what it’s worth, going through this exercise did help me make peace with myself. Even if it only lasts for this breath. And this one. Sooner or later, I start stringing more of those breaths together and SHAZAM!

My sincere wish for you is that you get curious about what robs you from the peaceful moments that are possible. Consider those obstacles with wonder instead of judgment and take a breath. Make peace with yourself. Merry Christmas.

“Peace – It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”