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Our Keys to Inner Peace

Our Keys to Inner Peace

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.

Baths
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!

Smudges
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.

Candles
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.

Meditation
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.

Body Work
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.

Reading
Inspirational works abound: poetry, prayers, non-fiction, fiction–it can all bring an uplifting sense of calm.

Hugs
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.

News Moratorium
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.

Pray
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.

Walk
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.

Gratitude Practice
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.

Read more: Spirit, Inspiration, Peace, Self-Help

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

12 comments

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8:35PM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Nice article and good comments.

8:34PM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Nice article and good comments.

8:33PM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Nice article and good comments.

8:33PM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Nice article and good comments.

1:45AM PDT on May 22, 2013

Thanks for this. I've been doing a lot of these, plus some similar things. I think this post completes my list. It's helped me to write it, so I feel I should share even though I've written a lot.
 
I hug my friends - I may live alone with no family, but I get several hugs every week!

If I feel stressed, I put my fingers on the pressure points on my temples and forehead and breathe deeply several times, or stroke the back of my neck while breathing slowly.
 
If I have a problem, I can almost always think of something I can do about it first thing in the morning. It sounds strange to go to bed with an issue on your mind, but it makes for a solution while your mind is fresh. I try to visualise myself as a strong, resourceful and eloquent person who can resolve just about anything. I meet problems one at a time, and try never to think of them all at once.

1:39AM PDT on May 22, 2013

I have a list of jobs to help me feel good as I tick each one I complete.
 
Near the computer I have a tin containing essential oils. Open the lid and breathe deeply...
 
I feel I can always ring up a friend and share experiences. I usually find something that makes me laugh has happened since we last spoke, so I can make them laugh as well as myself.
 
The sun rises in front of my house, goes round the side all day, then sets beyond the trees at the bottom of the back garden. Weather permitting, I can always be in a sunny room.
 
My home is full of books. I once bought a job lot of poetry books for £3.00. I've been finding wonderful poems ever since...
 
Being retired, I have much more control over my everyday surroundings than I would in an office. Ignore fashions. There is only one correct look for the inside of a house... and that is whatever makes the occupant feel happy! I have wonderfully coloured fabrics and furnishings because one of my mottos is: 'Rich bright colours for a rich bright life.'

1:34AM PDT on May 22, 2013

I find colourful glass objects in car boot sales and arrange them on mirror tiles (some of which are glass-painted) in the windows so the sun shines through them. I look at these and focus on the colours I see reflected in them. 
 
I switch on Classic FM, and if I hear 'The Lark Ascending', 'Finlandia', or various other pieces of music that are hugely significant for me (as opposed to just liking them) I stop what I'm doing and let the music take over inside me.

Computers can drive you mad. I was once furious with it for throwing a tantrum, when the radio went so quiet I wondered what was on, so I went quiet and still, and listened hard. It was a piece by Vaughan Williams that I know as 'The Pavane of the Sons of the Morning.' (A pavane is a stately dance.) I started to think: 'Who are the Sons of the Morning? Are they angels? '

Now I have a 'stud' of horses in the living room, and they all have names - the kind of names you use for a pedigree as opposed to short stable names, so I can be more creative. A new palomino mare, currently nameless, was standing by the computer. I named her Pavane of the Morning, so I could focus on her and stay calm next time the computer played up, and visualise the angels dancing. ( A fancy name for a piece of Beswick china, but if it works, does it matter?)

5:10AM PDT on May 21, 2013

I thought it would be a good idea to write as many ideas on staying calm as I can.

I look at the hills I can see from my window and after years of feeling trapped in town, I think how lucky I am to live here. Sadly I can't walk a lot now, and there is a hill in front of my house I'd never been able to walk up. Recently I realised I could just about manage it, so I made a big effort, and now I can look at the hill from the living room and reflect on what it was like up there.

I've very fortunate that these hills have a network of little lanes with next to no traffic, so if I have time, I can always find a route I've never taken before, then stop my little car and enjoy beautiful views. Some places in the hills had great significance for me before I moved house, then was surprised to discover how close they were to my new home!

I've only recently had a car, and just sitting in the driving seat, preparing to go somewhere, makes me feel fortunate and appreciative.

I've always got what I need to make a cup of coffee when I'm out, and hopefully have some home-made bread with me as well. It tastes so good I don't always bother to spread it with anything.

5:07AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Thanks Dale O,

I'm sorry about the double posting, but the computer was doing its utmost to wreck my inner peace! I didn't think I'd managed to post anything at all!

This is what I was trying to say when the system trimmed my post.

If I have time, there always seems to be a nature programme with a commentary by Sir David Attenborough on Iplayer. I share his passion for the natural world. He has a wonderful voice, full of enthusiasm for his subject, while he explains things I would never otherwise have known, so I get lost in enjoyment.

4:21AM PDT on May 21, 2013

A delightful and creative comment Rosemary H. There is nothing quite like art and a roomful of wonderful plants to bring even more richness and meaning into one's life. Plants are so colourful and having a mini-rain forest is so very tranquil and mellow.

Most of these suggestions are delightful but a 'News Moratorium'? Would never work for me, grew up in a media oriented family, most of us working at one time or another in news and news is in our blood.It can be disquieting to go without unless on a restful camping trip in the middle of nowhere. However, on some of the more hectic/tragic/scandalous...and other intense news days one can always go for a long two hour walk by the nearby river to unwind and see true tranquil times in Nature. Smudging is wonderful and serene. Many delightful suggestions.

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