3 Practices to Move You Towards Inner Peace
Updated: May 25, 2021
I have been on a healing journey for a very long time. The path is rocky, winding, steep, and unknown, but oh so satisfying. It has required me to really look at the root causes of my suffering and to really tune into who I long to be. In talking with countless others as friends and as clients, what I realize is that we are so much more alike than we realize; we all have essentially the same roadblocks and the same deep desires. One thing I know in my heart is that we all desire a greater sense of peace in our lives. Below are three practices that I wish I would have known when I was in the earlier stages of my journey. They pack a huge punch in nurturing peace along the path to self-discovery.
I think it is too common for women in our society to be disconnected from the wisdom of their own bodies. We are highly sensitive and emotionally intelligent, but not encouraged to use these gifts in our society. Your body always knows what it wants and needs. Don’t believe me? Try this simple two second exercise. Close your eyes and, in your mind, repeat this sentence, “I am meant to feel peace.” Notice how this sentence makes you feel. Perhaps your shoulders relax and you feel the impulse to let out a sigh. You are, in fact, meant to feel peace so, upon hearing this truth, the body relaxes. Your “inner knowing” can be consulted any time by running a thought through you and noticing the body’s tense or release response.
My mind has millions of thoughts a day. While I can watch many of them pass without being distracted too much by them there are a few that are much harder to dismiss. These are persistent thoughts that bring me absolute misery because they are born of my deepest fears and insecurities. I have learned to work with these intense thoughts by dialoguing with them in such a way that loosens their grip on my perception. Next time you are in the grip of a thought that plays over and over and brings you excruciating pain simply ask this one question, “Can I absolutely, beyond a doubt, know that this thought is true?” Of course, you cannot. Notice how the thought loses some of its power, your body relaxes, and a sense of peace washes over you, if only for a minute.
Worry and anxiety are pretty much running in the background and often in the foreground of my life at all times. The more I try to figure things out, fix “problems'', and control what others think and do, the worse they get. Welcoming whatever is showing up is ONE of the hardest practices for me. Often things happen that I just can't seem to accept. I grip onto what I want and resist what has happened with inexhaustible energy. It never works and panic ensues. Over time and with experience, I have learned to use present moment awareness and a simple meditation to help me release the control (I don’t have). I close my eyes and ask myself, “For this one inhale may I accept what is arriving and for this one exhale can I let go of the resistance I have to what is arriving?” After a few breaths, listen for a voice within telling you that at your core, there is no need for worry, you are ok.
Connecting to your inner knowing, questioning your thoughts, and letting go are all practices. A practice is something that you do repeatedly, consistently, and with honor. Finding a teacher, a community, and a support team are all ways to increase the probability that these new ways of being become part of your life. Remember, you are meant to feel peace.
If you are interested in learning more about these practices I encourage you to join my Guided Book Club around Martha Beck's newest book, The Way of Integrity. To learn more about the book club and to sign up click here.
Art by Adelaide Marcus