First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.
–Thomas a Kempis
It can be pretty difficult to find inner peace when the world is what it is, and our lives are so stressed and busy. Annie and Cait were discussing this during one of our usual fast-paced (dare we say frantic?) work days and it occurred to us: how do we find inner peace? What are our keys? We figured if something worked for us, it might be helpful for you, too.
It was fun to see how many different methods we had for finding and maintaining inner peace. We offer these ideas to you, in the hopes that together we can promote deeper peace both within ourselves and in our world this holiday season.
Setting A Peaceful Mood, Pleasing the Senses
Taking time to set the mood of peace with decorating is a wonderful way to make it happen. They say that intention is all! Pine boughs, candle lighting, favorite decorations… By listening and acting on what your senses are asking for to make a peaceful feeling, you can succeed.
When tension hits, head for the tub! While a few drops of lavender essential oil are recommended for promoting peacefulness and relaxation, orange oil, juniper, and pine are uplifting, too. A handful of sea salt is another great addition, helping to clear away toxins of body or soul.
Listening to Music, Singing
There is nothing like listening to favorite music to make one feel at home and connected to what makes one’s heart “sing.” Caroling can be very peaceful-making, as can just singing along to a CD of the Hallelujah Chorus!
When we’re feeling irritable or hassled, lighting a sweet-smelling sage, cedar, sweet grass, or rosemary bundle brings a deep sense of calm. Wonderful for purifying tensions or bad feeling.
They have been used for millennia to honor Spirit and bring focus and calm to humans everywhere. Annie and Cait both prefer beeswax candles and love their honey color and scent. Funny how just a minute or two spent beside a glowing candle makes everything seem okay.
There are so many lovely meditations to do, and they are all helpful ways to go deeper, turn inward, become more peaceful and calm. We have dozens of meditations in the Body Mind Spirit channels to choose from.
Setting the Tone With Traditions Loved By All
Part of feeling peaceful during the holidays can be to be connected with those you love. Establishing traditions that foster this togetherness is just the right solution. Making a breakfast meal on Christmas morning that is well-loved by all sets a beautiful tone for the day.
A full-body massage is ideal, but we find that even a few moments spent massaging our own feet is helpful, bringing us more peacefully into our bodies and relaxing tensions everywhere.
Inspirational works abound: poetry, prayers, non-fiction, fiction–it can all bring an uplifting sense of calm.
Sometimes stress can be a sign that we’re not getting enough loving touch. Hug someone! If there’s no one nearby, grab a companion animal (Annie has two dogs, Cait has two cats), or a stuffed toy or pillow. Allow your body to relax into the embrace (even if it’s one-sided!) We always feel better and more peaceful afterwards.
Sharing Projects and Experiences With Friends and Family
Spending time with loved ones is the great opportunity of the holiday season, and it is often missed if we get too busy. Weaving in sharing the time together makes all the difference, even if you share a busy shopping trip. Doing projects, such as holiday baking, with those you love, can nurture the heart.
We both have found that sometimes we just have to take a periodic break from the news. So much of it is ghastly and helpless-making, focusing on the negative. We have learned it can be better to husband our strength to make a positive difference where we can rather than getting depleted and stressed from information overload.
Expressing deep feeling, opening to and aligning with the greater will, honoring and thanking the Mystery–it all counts as prayer, whether we use formal words or pray completely off-the-cuff. We both do this in different ways, but we find that giving over our stresses and problems to a Greater Power is very peaceful-making.
Something about the soothing rhythm of walking–and the sights, sounds, and smells of nature if we are walking outdoors–is a wonderful peace-maker. We both solve a lot of problems when we take walks, and always come back to our respective homes feeling refreshed in body and soul.
Both of us have found that reciting (or thinking) a list of things we are truly, deeply grateful for is a wonderful practice that encourages inner peace.
Mending Fences, Reducing Tensions
Households can be problematic during the holiday season, with many different needs yearning to be met. Strategizing for ways to reduce tension ahead of time can give confidence and peaceful results. Anxiety is so often caused by complicated family relationships. Trying to mend one or two relationships in need of help can deeply help one’s inner disquiet.