Peace. This is a word I thought I knew the definition of so well, actually better than well. Even as a small child I was all about peace signs and peace, love and happiness. I mean after all I hated guns, didn’t think people should be at war or fight with each other, that everyone should live together as one without conflict. Well it would take me nearly 30 years to learn that there was so much more to peace than that simplistic definition I had in my head.
That peace while yes could mean those things it could also mean tranquility with oneself that while nations and groups with different ideological and philosophical thoughts needed to find that tranquility so did each and every one of us with ourselves.
I spent the majority of my life at war within myself, some of it brought about by the world around me, some by those close to me and some by me, myself and I. I had all of these notions floating around in my head about how everything should be, could be, would be, that I never spent anytime thinking about how it presently was. I think I actually avoided the present as much as possible, which was pretty easy in a society that has us thinking about college before we have even entered kindergarten, our future weddings in pre-school and what we want to be when we grow up as soon as we can talk in many cultures. Then there is the constant looking back that many people constantly do trying to analyze how it will be on how it used to be. I was the perfect combination of those people looking to others to see how it should be, analyzing what happened to me in the past to decipher how it could have been and never stopping to take it all in and see it as it IS.
As I started this journey into a new, fulfilling, career I also was experiencing some tumultuous problems in my personal life, processing the pain of the many friendships I had lost in the past 10 or so years and the agony of trying to live up to some pre-described plan of how I was supposed to be and who I was supposed to be. It was in the midst of all of this that I had these rare glimpses of being ok, that almost scared me, how could I be ok when the world was falling apart around me, I must be losing it.
In college I took approximately 3 yoga classes and hated each one a little more than the last. I could not handle the quiet reflection and flows with set intentions, breathing and letting go. My mind was at constant war thinking oh no this isn’t exercise, I can only think about how hot it is, this lady is crazy, this isn’t relaxing at all. As a lifelong athlete I thought of exercise not as a means to relaxation, but as a means to exhaustion, meant to push ones body to the edge. It turns out years later I would find yoga again, not as another form of exercise to try, but as a relaxation and meditation technique. I found it while helping my partner recover from a stroke and reading on the many benefits of it for a person with a brain injury. It was there in the studio focusing on Matt that I experienced what yoga actually was, a release, a time to be one with your body, without the noise of the outside world, a place to quiet the mind. Yoga would end up being a key component of my journey to peace and self discovery, allowing me to find my passion and learn that it was not always buried so deep inside of me.
Yoga was part of that journey but other things helped me along the way , my career coach challenging me to dive deeper, my partner and friends reflecting and sharing with me and honestly deep, quiet reflection into myself.
I stopped being so angry and analytical about everything that happened to me. I allowed myself the feeling of anger but I also allowed myself the opportunity to let it go and not consume me for the years to come while still knowing it was ok if it took time to get there. I learned that there simply was not a reason for everything people did, sometimes you just don’t know why it happened or why you did it or why you hurt people you love and that is in fact ok and that too can be breathed in processed and let go. I for the first time ever let people go following the old adage that I loved so much that some people come into your life for a season or a reason, not everyone is there for a lifetime and that too is ok. People do in fact change and grow, sometimes apart, sometimes together, you cannot cling to what as in the hope that there will be something in the future. I saw for the first time in my life that worrying and stressing do not change a thing nor solve one problem therefore it is best to spend time changing what you can and letting the rest be, while working towards your goals. Perhaps most importantly people can only meet you where they are at, you cannot force them to be on your level or live up to your standards, but you can happily meet them where they are at and strive to develop a relationship from that point forward. Some people will see your worth in some ways, some in others and some not at all, but that is not for you to worry, stress or decide.
It is through all of these things that I have found peace, while knowing that there will most likely be a time in the future where I do not feel as grounded or peaceful. However, I am hoping this journey will guide me through maintaining the feeling when life gets chaotic.