Inner Peace of Inner Pieces?

We love to dream, make plans and work toward goals, that we think will make our life better, or at least, make life more the way we think it should be.
Dreams and goals are important and valuable because they keep us from getting complacent and drive us forward in a (hopefully) positive direction. Someone once said, “No great thing was ever accomplished without first a great dream.” There is absolutely nothing wrong (and many things right) with visualizing an outcome and working to make that vision a reality.
However, life…the world…the universe doesn’t always cooperate with our great plans. It has a way of going in its own direction and unfolding in unexpected and sometimes (often) unfortunate ways. When life throws sand in the gears of our plans we are then faced with a choice. We can get disappointed, angry, depressed, curse our misfortune…and all too often give up. On the other hand we can also understand that (pardon my language) shit happens…to everyone, and that picking up the broken pieces of our plans and trying to put them back together or developing a new plan are all parts of the human experience and often lead to greater and better outcomes.
What it boils down to is developing the ability to accept life and our circumstances as they are and, hopefully find some wisdom and peace from our experiences. Once again, this is often a very tall order and much easier said than done…but it can be done.
The following post from Tiny Buddha speaks to this topic of acceptance in the face of adversity and finding the inner peace necessary to take control of our own lives and minds and move on. It offers some practical suggestions on how to accomplish these seemingly daunting tasks. I hope you find it comforting if not inspiring:
(A note of explanation: The author was a serious recreational runner; it was one of the important ways by which he defined who he was. A few years ago he was involved in a motorcycle accident that shattered one of his kneecaps and he was told that he would never run again.)
Life Can Be Beautiful
Life is beautiful every time you’re able to accept something that has gone wrong. When you can feel good on the whole even though things aren’t going your way, you know emotional freedom. What more could you ask for?
The opposite would be the guy who shouts in despair, “Not again, for God’s sake!” when his sports car breaks down in the middle of nowhere or needs thousands of dollars of work on that car. Neither is a fun situation to be in. But what about people that don’t even have food to eat?
It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? Are you looking at life through Ray Bans or from a refugee camp? We must learn to see and appreciate what we have and shift our attention from what we’ve lost.
So, let me point out three steps that can make your life truly beautiful. While it’s true that people who have experienced trauma are often more likely to see things differently, you don’t need to go through some life-shattering experience to become more accepting and peaceful. You can start out from where you’re at now.
1. Find solutions instead of complaining.
It is completely meaningless to complain about things. Negative people drain everyone around them, and complaining won’t change your situation for the better either. You may think it makes you feel better, but it actually just keeps you down—and it’s fruitless.
Don’t waste your energy complaining. Use it more wisely.
You could complain for a lifetime about the leaking roof on your house, but as long as you don’t do anything about it, you’re stuck in the situation.
Instead, ask yourself, “What can I do to solve the problem?” And if you can’t solve it, where can you focus your energy more productively? What things can you control?
2. Practice letting go.
How can you accept a devastating loss or change, for example, that you won’t ever be able to run again?
From my way of looking at it, you have two choices.
One is to hold on to the way things were. Personally, I loved jogging, which made it harder to accept the physical impairment. But if you can’t accept life the way it is, you have a big problem, because we cannot change what already has happened. Resisting the flow of life will only make you unhappy.
The other choice is to bite the bullet and accept life the way it is. That takes courage but the process will empower you enormously. The ability to let go of things in everyday life makes for happiness and ease. You can even laugh when you miss a bus that’s departed five minutes early.
Start out by accepting small things, such as stepping on a chewing gum or losing some change. You’ll be surprised; bit by bit, you’ll be able to let go of most mishaps that come your way.
3. Let beauty in.
When you’re focused on everything that’s lacking, it’s hard to fully notice, appreciate, and enjoy what’s there.
Look around you; there’s beauty all around. What an amazing planet! Beaches and mountains, colorful fish in the ocean, birds flying across the sky, music and culture, blueberry ice cream, kissing in the sunset, and lifelong friendships. There is so much to live for; this could potentially be paradise.
Learn to see and appreciate what you have as opposed to giving too much attention to what you’ve lost.
Open up to what is truly beautiful and important in life. For example, look at a flower and enjoy its fragile beauty; take your mom on a surprise picnic or give yourself a day to relax.
Most of us keep the blinds shut, closing off to life. Some of us even repeat the mantra, “Been there, done that.” The truth is, every experience is new, and it’s up to you how complete or lacking it seems.
Take on the curiosity of a child. Open up and explore life as if it were your first day here, regardless of what you’ve had or lost. You can choose to focus on either. What’s your choice?
Here’s hoping you have an intentionally great and peaceful day.
Rich

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