Cultivating Inner Peace

by Karen Hood-Caddy -

Gosh, what a time to be alive! Once upon a time, you could get the advice of an 'expert' and know you were on the right track. But just as the myth of the Princess ended with the death of Princess Diana, this last year has terminated the belief that anyone really has the definitive answer about anything. The age of the expert is over.
"I would not waste my life
in friction
 when it could be
turned into momentum."
--Frances Willard--
The good thing about this is that we are each being challenged to turn away from what others tell us and check into our own inner wisdom. This is a very good thing. No one can know as truly what is right for us than ourselves.

The challenge, however, is how to tune into that inner wisdom. When we have crazy, busy mind, it's almost impossible. It's far easier to access our inner knowing when we feel at peace. Besides, it just feels better to be at peace.

1. Come back to your senses.  
Notice what you're touching, tasting, hearing, seeing and smelling right now. Most of our fears and anxieties are based on what we're worried about happening in the future. When we tune into the present moment through our physical senses, we get a strong and immediate confirmation of how supported we actually are. Take one minute to do this now--notice what your senses are sensing. 
Feel your lungs breathing and notice that all the air you need is there for you every minute of every day. Now notice the way the chair you're sitting on supports you. Allow yourself to experience how your basic survival needs are all being taken care of. Recognizing this will help you relax. Inner peace lives in this relaxed state. 
2. Belly breathe for a few minutes whenever you can.  
This will bring you into your body and help you access the peacefulness that is already within you. We often forget that Inner Peace is something that's already inside us. Sometimes we get so caught up in paddling through the big waves on life's surface, that we forget about the ocean of peace that dwells under the surface. 
3. Do things more slowly.  
Again, this is a small intervention, but remarkable powerful. I think it works because inner peace is inherently a slow thing and when we move more slowly, we come closer to it energetically. Walk more slowly talk more slowly, eat more slowly. You'll notice the effects of this right away. 
4. Does this matter?  
When faced with challenges today, ask yourself, "Does this really matter?" See if you can do this once a day. You'll be surprised and refreshed how often the answer is "No--not in the larger scheme of things." 
5. Remember times you felt peaceful and go back to them.  
There is a beach in Greece and a few islands out on Georgian Bay where I've experienced deep peacefulness. When I return to them in my mind, I make my imaginings them as real as I can. I remember the sound of the wind, imagine the smell of summer sun on rocks, feel my kayak bobbing in the waves. Just writing about this makes my shoulders relax. 
Remember, the unconscious doesn't know the difference between an imagining and reality, so your body will respond to these remembrances. And the the more you do this, the more you will be laying down pathways in your brain, which means the easier it will get. 
6. Limit your access to the media.  
Studies have shown that people who watch the news before they go to bed don't sleep as well. Not surprising, given the doom and gloom in the news. Remember, doom and gloom sells, but you don't have to buy it. Limit the number of times you listen to the news or read it and choose wisely the time of day you let it in. 
7. Play soothing music or nature sounds.  
This can have a strong subliminal effect. 
8. Take breaks in your day.  
Our energy tends to balance itself naturally if we let it. Get out at lunch or take your computer to a park (that's where I'm writing this from) and let your energy recoup.

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