Now this I find challenging! Not as much as I used to. Not all the time now (and it used to be challenging all the time!), but it does feel like the ultimate practice, the ultimate mastery of my emotions and thoughts.
But I really get it. I really get what the incredible teacher Pema Chodron is saying. Peace is here for our choosing. It is not what happens on the outside, it is our reaction to what happens that takes away our peace. The stories I make up, my negative self-talk, the underlying beliefs and triggers from my childhood, my lack of self-compassion, the way my brain is wired, my humanness that ultimately takes away my peace.
We can’t control what other people do or say or the external forces of what does or doesn’t happen in our lives but we can practice choosing how we RESPOND to those people and events, rather than REACTING and often making things worse. And that includes, for me, practicing responding versus reacting to how I am within myself. So much of my peace gets robbed by my ruminating or worrying about the past or future. Or from giving myself a hard time for ‘not getting it right’.
I say practice because the minute I feel like I am starting to get some mastery around this something happens that shows me it is a daily practice! Especially when multiple things are going on and I am feeling a little ‘thin’, tired or worn-out.
I noticed it this weekend. On Friday we put an offer in on a house we really had our heart set on buying and we got gazumped at the very last minute. On top of that, in two weeks, I am moving out of the home I have been living in for the last 8 years (my safe place) and I am not sure where we will be living yet. We will also be buying a house and my son and I will be moving in with my partner. Heather and I will also be hitting the ‘go live’ button on the Compassionate Self-Awareness Program to Know yourself, Care for Yourself and Be Yourself in the next couple of weeks. So, lots of big things, lots of uncertainty, lots of instability. It has and continues to be an emotional rollercoaster. One minute excited, the next disappointed. I have been holding my inner world pretty well given it all. But the combination of not getting the house we had hoped for and then last night someone saying something that felt insensitive to me, had me wake up this morning and literally not want to get out of bed. I woke up with what felt like an emotional hangover, combined with physical flu like symptoms. And my peace was gone!
I noticed my inner critic was up. My negative projections. The story that told me I am all alone in the world and have nowhere to go. My shame voice that I wasn’t ‘handling it all’. I had let these events and this person take away my peace and I read this quote by Pema and was reminded that it’s my choice.
That said I am also human. And it’s ok that today it all feels a bit much. That today I allowed my peace to be disturbed. To feel my vulnerability and humanness. To let my partner hold me while I had a good cry. To simply be with my disappointment and fears. To deeply rest and self-care as a way of allowing some equanimity to arrive again.
I really get “Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions” and, in my experience, it is nowhere near as easy as it sounds!
But it’s worth cultivating, it’s worth practicing as it’s where true peace lies.
With great warmth