Today, as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., my thoughts turn towards leading a peaceful life.
For me, peace is my purpose in life – to create peace in the world and to teach others to create their own peace. It informs my every major decision and even helps bring order to my life. Living a peaceful life is my intentional choice, just like exercise or healthy eating, so in that way, Dr. King is my role model.
This peaceful life is certainly a work in progress, one that I’ve been committed to for years. It requires awareness, a whole lot of patience and a bit of the cha-cha (two steps forward, one step back). One thing that surprises me is that not everyone embraces peace like I do. Who knew peace could be so controversial?
Peace is why Mindful Café exists. Peace begins with each of us, so the practices I offer help you to create harmony in your own life. And because you are so deeply connected to the rest of humanity, that personal peace flows out to the web of connections in your community, your nation and then planet wide.
Creating a peaceful life does take practice, and fortunately there are many tools available to help you in your practice. Here are some ideas:
Meditate! – Of course I had to start here. In my opinion this is the most important and enduring way to create peace … IF you practice it regularly. There are thousands of meditations online, including several on my website here. Consider joining a live meditation group, either online or in person. Mindful Café meets every Tuesday morning and Thursday evening on Zoom – more information about becoming a member here.
Get in nature! – Almost as important is daily time in nature. Nature can be found everywhere, from the forest to an apartment balcony. If you can’t get outside, you can even sit near an open window. And don’t let the weather stop you, unless it’s downright dangerous to be outside.
Practice self-care – You are worthy of care, so be kind to yourself through regular self-care practices. That might mean morning yoga, or it might mean weekly massages. You do you.
Accept yourself as you are – Along with self-care, comes self-acceptance. You are imperfectly perfect just as you are.
Be kind in your words and actions – Words matter, so make yours kind and truthful. Actions matter, so maker your kind and helpful.
Let go of the past – Nothing you do will ever change the past. Learn by it and move on.
Appreciate what you have – Take good care of your possessions and especially of the people in your life. Let them know how much they are valued.
Give to others – Volunteer to share your time and talents with those in need, with the environment and with causes that are important to you.
Share with others – Talk with those that are on their own journey of peace. You can learn from each other.
Surround yourself with peace – Avoid negative people (you don’t have to be friends with everyone) and spend time with people who radiate joy and peace.
There are no magic answers for how you can be more peaceful. Like anything in life that’s worthwhile, desire, motivation, and effort are required. Don’t judge yourself on how your doing when you find yourself reacting in a less than peaceful way. Afterall, you’re only human. When you make a conscious decision to walk in peace and harmony, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never get upset again. Life always brings challenges. And although the process takes time, walking your unique path to peace adds richness and deep joy to your life.