Ordinary Ways to Invite Peace into Your World
Hello, and welcome to the final blog in our Peaceful Summer 10-Day Challenge.
Today we will review all that we've learned about living a peaceful life and sharing peace with others.
Ways to help ourselves feel peaceful on the inside:
- Have a daily stretch. Exercise your muscles. Do yoga.
- Get outside. Take a walk each day. Lose yourself in the wonder of nature.
- Engage in peaceful pastimes. Craft, build, create.
- Be with peaceful people. Emulate their gentle way of being.
- Live as a peace maker. Speak and act with peaceful purpose. Guide others to understanding and compromise.
- Find peace in music. Play a song, if you can. Listen, sing, be carried away.
- Take time to reflect. Give yourself space to just think and be.
- Choose to respond peacefully. Offer others benefit of the doubt. Contain your moods.
- Dine together in peace. Savour your meal as you share a peaceful space with others.
- Have a peaceful heart. Respect others. Live humbly, and love simply. Treat others the way you'd like to be treated.
EXERCISE: Make time for peace.
Make a plan to be outside, enjoying the peace in nature, this summer. Where will you go? Will you swim in a lake? Hike through the woods?
Commit to a simple activity that will bring your heart peace during those warmer days. Think of that cool room with the cosy couch. What will you enjoy in that peaceful space?
Get in the practice of stretching your muscles each day. Begin with a few simple poses. Remember that slow, mindful breathing is key. Start and end your day with a good stretch.
Share with your family your intention of becoming a more peaceful person. Consider what you'll say to them so they might take you seriously. Talk about ways you can show more peace to each other.
Write down 10 things you plan to do in the name of being more peaceful for the rest of this summer.
It can be small gestures, big changes, or both.
For the Future:
Make a plan to patch up a friendship. How will you make peace with this person? What will you say?
Practice being peaceful toward people in passing. Start with a smile.
Other ways you might show peace to strangers could be…
- Giving a random compliment.
- Expressing gratitude.
- Offering up your seat to someone else.
- Letting another car ahead of you on the road.
- Buying coffee for the person behind you in line.
- Tipping generously.
- Listening to a stranger share their troubles.
- Saying "please," "thank you," and "have a good day."
- Helping an elderly person carry something heavy.
- Holding the door open for someone else.
To really make a difference in your life join the Simplify your Life course. In this course you will learn new tools to help reduce stress and live more peacefully. This course will also help you create new habits in your life so you can make the tools you learn part of every day. For more details and to register click here
What Does it Mean to Have a Peaceful Heart?
Thank you for being here on Day 8 of this lovely, Peaceful Summer that we get to share, together.
Today we will ponder what it means to have a peaceful heart.
A peaceful heart is a happy heart.
A peaceful heart is an optimistic heart.
A peaceful heart is a forgiving heart.
A peaceful heart accepts others in all of their perfect imperfection.
Does your heart feel peaceful today?
Does your heart know peace every day?
We can't possibly feel peaceful all the time. But surely we can focus on ways to bring more peace to our minds and hearts, so that others may know peace through us.
Love is patient, love is kind. Peace and love… a cliché for sure, but they're natural companions.
Where there is peace, love abounds.
Let's think of ways we can be peaceful toward friends and family.
We can show peace by…
- being patient.
- listening without judgment.
- offering a kind word.
- forgiving each other.
- silencing our complaints.
- not criticising.
- offering benefit of the doubt.
- practicing humility.
- showing others politeness and courtesy.
We live peacefully when we do to others as we would have them do to us.
EXERCISE: Seek a peaceful heart.
Think of someone in your life who embodies the picture of a peaceful heart.
What about them feels peaceful to you?
Is it their quiet manner?
Do they speak softly, and choose their words with care?
Does your peaceful friend show a mild expression?
What else does this person do that makes them peaceful to you?
Think of someone with whom you may have lost touch due to a conflict or misunderstanding.
How can you extend peace to this person?
Will you reach out to them in a gesture of peace and forgiveness?
Write down ways that you showed peace to other people today.
Describe peaceful moments that you shared with family.
Describe the ways you offered peace to strangers.
If there were times you did not feel peaceful today, what happened? What did you do or say?
What can you do differently next time, in the name of living more peacefully?
Write about the falling-out you had with a friend if there was one.
What can you do to make peace with them going forward?
For the Future:
Set an intention to shift into a more peaceful way of being with everyone you meet.
- Consider how you can grow in wisdom by practicing peacefulness in all of your encounters.
- If you have an exchange with someone who doesn't seem peaceful, how can you help to soothe them?
- If someone takes away your peace, what can you do to return to inner harmony?
- If you see someone being unkind to others, how can you intervene peacefully?
Practice being peaceful toward others while respecting boundaries.
To continue the work you've started in this challenge, register for the Simplify your Life course. Click here for details.
A Peaceful Response (to Stress and Conflict)
Welcome to Day 7 of the Peaceful Summer Challenge. I hope you are enjoying this foray into living more peacefully.
Today we'll explore ways to be more peaceful in response to stress and conflict which we all experience from time to time.
We touched upon these a bit earlier in our challenge.
The first lesson we learned was that stretching the muscles helps us release pent-up tension.
When our muscles feel relaxed, we tend to live more peacefully.
So when a situation does arise, someone who has made stretching a part of their routine will be able to handle the matter in a more peaceful way.
We also learned that conflict is normal. Embracing a peace-making attitude means taking disagreements in stride.
Peaceful people tend to have a good handle on their emotions. They manoeuver smoothly through conflict. This leads to healthy communication and compromise.
Peaceful people don't get ruffled by the little things that happen each day.
When we feel relaxed, we can work toward peaceful compromise.
That makes things more peaceful for everyone.
EXERCISE: Practice Choosing the Peaceful Response.
Run through the below scenarios. Compare a "typical" response versus a peaceful one.
Scenario 1: The line-cutter.
You're waiting in a supermarket queue. Another shopper cuts in front of you in line.
Typical response: Shoot the person a dirty look, but say nothing.
Aggressive response: Confront and accuse. Get into her space and loudly demand to know why she thinks she has a right to cut in front of you.
Peaceful response: Smile, make eye contact. Realise that you don't know why she is in a hurry. Don't let it affect your day or your mood.
Scenario 2: Stress at work.
Your boss tells you that you can leave work early but then she doesn't bring it up again. She even gives you a late-day rush assignment to handle.
Typical response: You feel slighted. You rattle off an angry email to a friend, complaining about how your boss wouldn't let you leave. You resentfully handle the rush job, grumbling the whole time. Then you sit at your desk and stew, vowing to quit soon. You blow off the last hour of work, venting to coworkers.
Peaceful response 1: Recognise that your boss is only human, and may have forgotten her promise. Politely remind her that you were granted permission to go home early. If it's a fairly urgent matter, be sure your boss knows that you must leave to take care of something important, and go.
Peaceful response 2: If your need for time off isn't urgent after all, remind your boss of her promise anyway. Ask if the rush job can be handled by someone else. Suggest that you are available to handle it (if you are) and can reschedule the afternoon off if it will help her out. See what she says, and be agreeable to a compromise.
At the end of the day, sit down with pen and paper. Journaling on the computer can seem convenient, sure. But screen time isn't quite as peaceful. So, sit with your writing pad and let your thoughts flow.
For today's journal exercise, run through all of the day's stressors. Think about the big things, like getting into an argument, if that happened.
Also think about the petty things, like having to tell your kids to hurry up several times.
Run through the stressful or conflict-laden events of the day. Write down what happened and how you handled it.
Sit back and read through the stories.
Did you manage to work through difficulties with a peaceful, patient heart or did you scowl, snap and grumble?
Did you show patience and kindness to others or did you accuse, blame or belittle?
Hopefully you took the peaceful path in your day's dealings. But if you didn't, tomorrow is another chance.
Write down some words or phrases that will help you remember to be understanding and empathetic toward others tomorrow. Things like…
Offer benefit of the doubt.
(Make a list of your own ideas on how to show peace and patience to others.)
To create an even more peaceful life register for Simplify your Life here
Eating Together Peacefully
It's Day 6 of the Peaceful Summer Challenge. Today we'll focus on peaceful family meals, and how to have more of them.
Nowadays, with everyone so busy, it's a wonder that we ever find time to sit down to a meal together as a family.
(Or just as a group of friends who live together - this can be any type of family you like.)
So when we do sit around the table together, how can we fill our hearts with peace as we fill our bellies with food?
Dinner prep can often feel rushed. If someone has prepared a meal for the group, they're likely scurrying around.
Scurrying may bring steaming bowls of food for all, but how does it feel to rush into dinner? Not very peaceful.
So remind whoever is chef of the evening that their effort is appreciated. No need for haste.
Also, ask the person who is cooking if they can use some help.
Maybe not, though. Some prefer that the task of cooking be a solo act. This could even be their own form of peace; quietly serving the group without a lot of hustle and bustle.
Dinner prep doesn't need to be confusing. It's just setting some bowls out and making sure everyone has a fork.
(Confusion isn't peaceful and avoiding confusion is much easier than we might think.)
Once all plates are set and served, the time has come to enjoy a meal in peace together.
Before you start shoveling in forkfuls of food with great gusto, think of how important it is to slow down and be mindful while eating.
Your body is not equipped to gulp down large chunks of food. The slower and longer you chew, the better able you will be to absorb the good vitamins and minerals from your meal.
Taking time to appreciate the mingling flavors of deliciously prepared food, is surely a welcomed, peaceful act.
Your body may not even know what to make of this new way that you have found to cultivate peace.
Eating peacefully is a wonderful way to show your body some love, today and every day.
EXERCISE: Practice being peaceful around the table.
Sharing meals is an age-old practice that is often romanced. "Eat dinner as a family," say the experts.
However meals around the family table sometimes take on a bizarre flavour.
Next time you're sharing supper with your partner and children, become the observer. Tune in to who's doing and saying what.
- Is someone telling others what and how much they should be eating?
- Is someone quietly feeding their food to the family dog?
- Is someone interrupting another family member as they speak?
- Is someone using this time to lecture others?
- What do people look like when they eat? Do they chew slowly and mindfully? Or is this a more of a gulping and chomping session?
- Are people fighting over the last bite of dinner?
- Do they slurp their drinks and wipe their faces on their sleeves?
- Can belches be heard?
Sharing meals with other people can feel slightly awkward at times. In fact, you may be thinking privately that family meals are really not all that peaceful.
Grown adults, too, have their share of meal-time drama. Maybe someone is picking onions out of their stew with a wrinkled nose.
Perhaps the evil eye is being aimed at the person who forgot to bring her plate to the sink.
One person might choose to do all of the talking during the meal. Another person might be fiddling with their phone.
Consider everything that went on around the group dinner table this evening. Did the meal seem peaceful? Or was there a tense undercurrent?
We can't control other people. But we can try our best to practice being more peaceful toward others, especially during shared meal time.
- Make a list of things you saw happening as you had dinner with your family or the people with whom you live.
- What part did you play in the group dinner dynamic?
- How can you work on being more mindful, and sharing peaceful moments, when eating around the table together?
- Write down bad habits that you would like to change in the name of sharing a peaceful meal with the important people in your life.
For the Future:
Commit to being gentler, kinder, less hurried and more patient at dinner time.
Remember that meals should be savoured, not gulped.
The more mindfully you eat, the better of a job your body will do in digesting the nutrition that comes from your food.
The quieter your digestion, the quieter your mind and the more peaceful you're likely to feel.
To bring even more peace and calmness into your life and to make it a daily habit join the Simplify your Life course. More details here
A Time for Quiet Reflection
Welcome to Day 5 of our Peaceful Summer Challenge. Today we will make time for quiet reflection.
How often do you take a moment to sit quietly with your thoughts?
The world turns at a very fast pace in our modern times. We're driven by communication and constant messages from the media, friends, people trying to gain our business.
To attract more peace into your life, you must first embody what peace really is.
You might feel like people want to rush you through your life's moments.
Everyone wants you to commit, answer, make a decision.
Don't give in to them. Being at peace with one's self means taking the time you need to live right.
It is summer, and the delights of the great outdoors are a healing balm for body and soul.
If you've been feeling pressured to do and be all things to all people, stop and reassess.
Take a breath. It's summer. A time to slow down and engage with all of your senses.
EXERCISE: Find peace in the poetry of Mary Oliver.
Have you heard of Mary Oliver? She writes some of the most beautiful, simple yet poignant poems.
Mary Oliver delights her senses in the beauty of nature, and then transmits her thoughts to paper for others to enjoy.
Many of Mary Oliver's poems are born from quiet walks through the woods.
If you enjoy poetry, look at Mary Oliver's poems - I Worried, The Summer's Day. Savour and ponder them when you're hungry for a peaceful respite.
Do you enjoy writing?
Take a walk in nature. Tune your senses in to the magical world around you.
- Look for colours, movement. What tiny creatures may be hiding in plain sight?
- Be mindful of nature's music. What do you hear?
- Catch a scent on the wind. Does moss have a smell? Let your nose delight in the intoxicating aromas of the woods.
- Sample a taste of raspberries growing wild if you find some. Sweet, yet tart to the tongue. The flavour of summer.
JOURNAL IT. Think about on your connection with nature.
Set aside quiet time after your walk in the wild. Put pen to paper. (A computer screen won't do for this exercise.)
Describe what you saw, heard, smelled, tasted.
Reflect on how you felt before and after.
Did you set out resenting the activity? Once you let go, did you feel more peaceful?
What about this experience brought you peace, and why?
Did you feel more connected to people and events in your daily life, once you returned from your brief respite?
For the Future:
Bring peace to your own soul and to those around you with a daily gift of quiet reflection.
Each day, set aside about an hour, or as long as you can, to focus on things in the physical world. It doesn't always have to be outside in nature, though it can be.
You may have a space in your home meant for restful repose. Maybe it's a lovely room with pale-painted walls and sunlight streaming through the window.
There might be a comfy couch; a bookshelf of good reads; and a little wooden table that just fits your tea cup and a dish of cookies.
You are not permitted to look at your phone or log into tech of any kind, during this time spent in your special place of reflection.
If you have children, bring them along to share quiet time with you.
They may engage in their own, peaceful activity such as colouring, reading or drawing.
Your space or situation may not look like this at all. This is your time and your special place so choose a spot that brings you peace. You could be a fireside sitter. Indulge in your need to be beside the flickering flames, and just let your mind wander.
The activity should not involve complicated instructions or anything that requires you to move out of your peaceful head space.
Don't forget to check out the Simplify your Life course where you can start using simple tools to make your life simpler and more peaceful every day. For more details click here