I think we all have these days, when our hearts are heavy, we feel like a fraud, maybe we've yelled at our kids, were rude to a sales clerk or snapped at our partner when a simple yes or no would have sufficed. We're human; it happens.
And it could stop there, but I'm stumped. Why is it that I preach love, and forgiveness, and peace, and then I turn around and say things I don't mean, can't say I'm sorry, act like my two-year-old having my very own temper tantrum? I could easily blame it on a lack of sleep, the vast cultural differences between me and my husband and my stoic German heritage...
But it's a lot easier for me to place blame on someone else than on things like that. So I won't settle. I ache every day to be able to practice what I preach and live my truth. I keep asking, How does one stop short in a moment of anger, a heated argument, or with a nagging child, and just choose peace? How do I, in the midst of a messy house, a 40-hour work week, paying the bills and doing all the other Big Life Stuff that we all do, remain on the happy bus instead of jumping off and running like a screaming banshee every time I feel threatened?
I know, again, it's human nature to want to defend yourself from everything, from the slightest insult to an approaching rhinoceros. But can't LOVE be a defense, instead of nasty words and regretful actions? It can be. I believe this. I just don't know how to put it into practice.
Oh wait, I do know how to put it into practice. I just don't have time. Don't have the time to invest in my own sanity and mental health, that is. Because, to clarify, things like time in silence, meditation, prayer, yoga, exercise, get-togethers with girlfriends and writing in one's journal are all activities that can lower your blood pressure, relieve anxiety, teach relaxation and stress relief and reprogram your brain to function like a soldier of peace, not war.
This past weekend, I had a strange moment of focus. Really — I'm not sure what came over me, whether some sort of divine intervention, a little more sleep than usual or just a less-busy-than-usual weekend. And honestly, I can't even remember if there was a specific intellectual clarity I had in that moment or if a solution to a problem came to me, but I remember how it felt. It was a clear sign to me, if nothing else, that pausing for peace IS possible. Catching up and making a space in life to take a break is possible and necessary. Heck, who knows? Maybe my brain is just starting to function again now that I'm eating more sensibly and sugar is no longer one of my four food groups. Maybe, literally, my mind AND body are less inflamed.
I hope and pray that I get that feeling back again, because I don't like feeling like everything I say and do is a sham. I want to be attentive, intuitive, authentic and loving. I want to keep the peace in our household rather than get wrapped up in drama and excitability. Our greatest purpose on this earth, arguably, is to alleviate suffering — for others and ourselves — and it can't be done in a state of anxiety or tension.
If you feel like you're about to fly off the handle, if you think you can't take one more traffic jam, snide comment, rude remark or long line, you need to do this too. You need to make time in your life to reconnect with your inner silence, your very own peace guru, that tiny little spark inside of you that can settle down and remain dormant to gather your thoughts and pay no matter to the ticking of the clock. The more of these moments you create for yourself, the better you will be able to handle the chaos and craziness when it arises...and I'd also be willing to bet that there will be LESS chaos and craziness before you know it.