Day 8 Peaceful Summer Challenge

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?
 
 

JOURNAL IT:

 
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.

Day 7 Peaceful Summer

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.
 

JOURNAL IT:

 
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…
 
Slow down.
Offer benefit of the doubt.
Be kind.
Have patience.
 
(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

Day 6 Peaceful Summer Challenge

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.
 

JOURNAL IT: 

 
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

Day 5 Peaceful Summer Challenge

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

Day 4 Peaceful Summer Challenge

Simple Pleasures Bring Us Peace

Thank you for joining us on Day 4 of the Peaceful Summer Journaling Challenge. Today we will think about  simplicity.
 
There is peace to be found in the simplest of pleasures.
 
Think about all of the activities you participate in each day.
 
These days, we spend a lot of time using technology.
 
We check our phones more times than we can count.
 
Most of our daily doings are, in fact centred around using our smart phones.
 
Is this actually smart?
 
It's certainly not peaceful. Think about how you feel on the inside, when the compulsion to check that mini take-along computer strikes again and again.
 
If you crave simpler times, then do this. 
 
Just put the phone away.
 
It's likely that no one will come down on you if a few hours pass before you check messages.
 
No one can do anything to you if you miss a call.
 
The first step we can take as we immerse ourselves in blissful simplicity, is to free ourselves from technology. 
 
With your phone set aside or maybe even shut off… how do you feel now? 
 
Are you any closer to feeling peaceful?
 
Next, think of all of the activities you used to joyfully partake in before technology took over your life. 
 
What are they? 
 
What simple things ground you and bring you a deep, abiding sense of peace and contentment?
 
Here are some pastimes that may help once again gain that elusive sense of peace.
 
  • Crafting
  • Dancing
  • Music
  • Exploring nature
  • Reading a great book
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Showing love to your pets
  • Cooking
  • Gardening
 
What do all of these things have in common? They engage the creative mind. 
 
What happens to your brain when your inner muse and maker wakes up and becomes connected?
 
When we set to certain tasks that engage both our hands and mind, something amazing happens. We zone in and are able to relax. A sense of peace comes over us.

 
There is no better therapy than putting the mind and hands to work creating or building something useful. 
 
Working for a purpose also delivers a sense of peace. 
 
It's as though we are wired to make a difference in the world by way of our skills.
 

EXERCISE: Rediscover the joy of simple, peaceful pleasures.

 What type of creative work do you love to get lost in? 
 
What activities can you do to feel calm?
 
Are you musical? Do you sing or play an instrument?
 
Set aside some time for musical enjoyment each day. It doesn't have to be a big, looming goal. No one is telling you to join the glee club if that's not in the cards for you right now.
 
The key here is keeping it simple. Put on your favourite songs and sing along. Tap out a tune on the piano, if you play

For now, just bring yourself to that musical place each day, for some peaceful enjoyment.
 
Painting can be fun. Your love of colour can translate to a small, simple home improvement project

 
If you've got acrylic paints lying around, this could be your next fun activity.
 
What if you're not especially creative? What will your act of simple engagement be?
 
We talked about pets. Do you have a dog or cat?
 
Today, set aside just 15 minutes to lavish attention on your special furry friend.
 
What would really make your pet's day great? 
 
Would your pet love a belly rub and a good brushing?
Would your pet enjoy taking a walk around the block with you?
Would a favourite treat and some hugs make your pet feel good today?
 
Share some quiet moments with your pet. Feel the peace flowing from your heart to the heart of your faithful friend.
 
JOURNAL IT:
 For today's journaling challenge, make a short list of activities that bring you the greatest peace.
 
  • Describe the activity.
  • Explain why it makes you feel good to do the activity.
  • When was the last time you did this simple thing that you love to do? If it's been a while, what's been stopping you from enjoying this activity?
  • If time is an issue, how can you do your day a bit differently to make time for your special activity that you love? Is there something that you can consolidate or let go? Make a plan for positive change!
  • What supplies do you need to get started with this simple pleasure once again?
 

For the Future:

 Select one activity from your list. Set an intention to do this simple thing at least once per day. It needn't be something complicated. 
 
Maybe you don't feel that painting is something you'd want to do every day. That's okay; just select another simple pleasure that you enjoy. Do that instead.
 
Another option: give yourself a daily gift: an hour of peaceful engagement in the activity of your choosing. You can rotate through your favourites, if you like.
 
For example, on any given day you might choose between reading a book, drawing in your sketch book, writing for pleasure, or just playing with your dog or cat if you like.
 
During this hour, let your mind relax and unwind from the pressures of the day. 
 
Do not permit any person or plan to detract from your activity that you enjoy. Schedule it in just like any other planned event you might attend.
 
Your mind and soul are crying out for more peace and contentment in your life! 
 
This is a simple way to offer yourself these gifts.

Don't forget, to take even more steps towards simplifying your life sign up for the Simplify your Life course that starts next Monday, For more details click here.

 
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