It certainly feels as though we're living through some turbulent times, no?
You may be feeling the collective upheaval that's palpable everywhere around us.
Or you may be experiencing some personal turmoil right now. Perhaps inner turmoil. Perhaps some real life problems.
Whatever they may be for you, you're certainly not alone. I'm right there with you.
I'll tell you a secret: my life is not all peaches and cream. In fact, right now I'm working through some intense stuff. So much so, that I can't really talk about it just yet. Maybe in a few weeks or a few months.
But there can always be peace.
So if you're going through some challenges, let's hold hands and walk through the challenges in our lives, while we help each other steady ourselves. Yes?
Let me share a story that I heard a long time ago. I can't remember where I heard it or read it. I believe it's an old Asian wisdom parable, and it certainly sounds like it.
The story goes like this: an old, wise king in a faraway land commissioned all of the artists in his kingdom to paint the perfect picture of peace. He would choose the winner.
Many beautiful, serene pictures were created including one of a perfectly still lake surrounded by tall, beautiful mountains. The lake was still as glass, projecting a mirror reflection of the mountains around it. Everything so perfectly sill, but it wasn't the winner! In fact, people were shocked when they saw the king's choice as the perfect picture of peace. It looked nothing like peace!
The picture showed a dark, stormy night with lightning bolts and dark rain falling on a jagged cliff. Off the cliff, a foaming waterfall created a chaotic flow as it shot and crashed on every protruding boulder. The picture was perfectly unsettling, except for a small little branch poking out of the mountain wall. On that branch was a nest. In that nest lay a small bird, very still and quiet. Perfectly at peace.
In the midst of the torrent of life, there can still be peace.
Life and world events may not be pretty or pleasant at times. It may look nothing like what you had hoped and dreamt of...
But there can always be peace.
How do you access it?
By surrendering to the is-ness of life.
Surrender can sound like a hateful word that suggests you're supposed to just accept what you don't like and expect that's what it will always be. It can also feel like failure; suggesting that we stop trying. But in reality surrendering only means that we are no longer resisting.
We stop resisting what is.
We take a deep breath and look around us in THIS MOMENT. Right here.
We disconnect from all of our thoughts and 'what if's'. We stop trying to control outcomes or even wishing for things to be different.
We stop thinking about what's going to happen in the future. We just breathe in this moment. Right here.
You may not know what's the step you will take next. You may not know what will come next week. You may not know how things will turn out.
You just take a breath in this moment. Right here.
Try it right now.
Pause in between your exhale and next inhale, and stretch that moment.
Pause in the stillness in-between your breath. Notice the quiet there is right there. Do it for a few breaths as you deliberately slow down the rate of your breathing and prolong the pauses.
You start to enter a doorway into an inner peace that is accessible to you always. You stop resisting.
And when we are able to let go of resistance and be fully present in the now, as Eckart Tolle says, we begin to access the depth of Presence within ourselves.
You can also pray...
If you have a prayer practice, you can also get to this ever-present peace by praying because prayer brings you deeply into the present moment. This is especially true if you use prayers or mantras with words that were taught to you (vs. using words of frantic despair to your divine source and calling it prayer. That's not true prayer.) In true prayer, you breathe, create silence in your mind and you recite focused, intentional words in reverence.
Again, life isn't always rosy or still. The flow can be rocky, turbulent and hugely unpleasant. But the more we practice and cultivate our ability to return to peace, the deeper our inner well becomes. We also learn how to return to it quickly, even in the midst of the most challenging times.
And if you need help navigating the torrent right now, by all means shoot me a note. That's what I'm here for. I've got tons of tools in my bag. :)
Much love to you. I'm right here with you navigating the rapids of my life.