Peace on Earth, and goodwill to men.
We often hear this hopeful sentiment during the holiday season. This feel-good phrase acts as a blessing of sorts, a wish for the universe to experience calm, joy, and unity. It expresses a desirable and enticing concept, of course; yet it is an idea that can be difficult to envision as a REAL possibility.
Does REAL peace exist? Can REAL peace be created?
Most people contemplate these questions at various points in their lives. Many ponder them on a daily basis, especially now. It is difficult to escape these kinds of doubting wonders when we operate in a world that constantly bombards us with evidence of violence, anger, and general turmoil.
You can shield yourself from some of that by unplugging more and significantly limiting your media intake (an approach I use and highly recommend); but unless you live as an authentic hermit, it is hard to ignore and avoid completely. Being entirely cut off from information and people doesn’t align with fostering a balanced life of REAL wellness anyway. You require a minimal amount of data in order to survive and function, and pure isolation is simply not healthy.
So where does that leave you in the quest for REAL calm, joy, and unity?
How can you find REAL peace and REAL rest in a society which reflects a seemingly steady state of unrest?
Where on Earth can you look for peace?
I recently came across an intriguing Happinez magazine article (issue14) about Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Indian spiritual leader and politician, Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948). It talked about the life lessons Arun learned from his grandfather, his own views on ways to achieve peace in today’s world, and his new book, The Gift of Anger, which he wrote as a way to share his grandfather’s legacy and teachings.
Arun says, “A peaceful world cannot be created or imposed from the top down. Change doesn’t require big organizations or institutions. Every individual makes a difference.”
In other words, friend, you have the REAL power to make a difference from where you now sit. The one and only caveat: you don’t have the responsibility to do all of the saving of all of the world by yourself (admit it, there are plenty of you reading this who are figuratively killing yourselves trying to do just that).
It is important to stay away from playing the role of superwoman or superman. Get away from the “I have to save the whole world” mentality. That’s not how any of this works! There is no one person fit for the job of saving the entire world single-handedly. Remember that poignant line in Avicii’s song, Wake Me Up? “I tried carrying the weight of the world, but I only have two hands.”
You only have two hands. You can’t (and don’t have to) do it all, and neither can any individual leader, country, or institution. What you can do, however, is take ownership of your personal piece of the world and make it your mission to save that. It is all about taking responsibility for generating peace in your life by rocking your own REAL stuff within your own space.
Peace is personal.
Arun’s overall message stumbles upon a cornerstone concept of REAL living. You were born with the power to create whatever reality you choose for yourself (and for your world). If your vision for a REAL life includes an environment of peace, it is up to you to make it happen.
The REAL tea is that the creation of anything REAL, peace included, begins and buds at a personal level. As with pretty much everything at play in the universe, REAL movement – on any front – starts (and ends) with you. Profound shifts of any kind occur from the inside out, not from the outside in.
You need not look to world leaders and influential moguls to cultivate and support REAL peace on the globe, you need only walk into the closest bathroom and look at the person in the mirror. I am pretty sure that leaders and moguls use the bathroom too. . . imagine the possibilities if they all championed peace by beginning with the man in the mirror?
Yes, you should do your part to stay educated to ensure that you are offering support to peace-minded and forward-thinking heads of state and industry trend-setters. At the end of the day, however, you only have REAL control over what you do to inspire a REAL shift for the better.
If you don’t think you have the power to instigate bigtime change from the little bubble you are standing in, you are mistaken. That is your fear-based, skeptical mind talking. Don’t let your ego brain fool you into thinking that this is a next-to-impossible or monumental undertaking. Allow your wise intuition to guide you into taking small palatable steps that will ripple out and create tidal waves of crazy good transformation.
You can promote peace with a piecemeal approach.
Creating a REAL life is done in simple and bite-sized chunks, and at a moderate and manageable pace. The same approach applies to impacting the world in positive ways and facilitating REAL change (i.e., inspiring REAL peace!). This does not have to be an overwhelming or complicated task, friends.
Arun suggests that “the only path to peace is to be the change we wish to see in the world. That means we must begin as individuals to learn to live in peace and find peace of mind. Most people don’t know deep in their hearts what that is. They tend to believe that peace means the absence of war. That’s a huge misunderstanding. “
What does peace mean for you? Define it.
Deep in your heart, what does peace look like? How would you describe peace of mind? There are no right or wrong answers. Responses will vary greatly, and they should. REAL peace will mean something different to you than it does to me.
Many definitions of peace have to do with the condition of non-war, treaties and agreements, and freedom from civil commotion and violence. Others identify peace as freedom of mind from anxiety and distraction, a state of tranquility and serenity, or the experience of silence and stillness.
One or more of these may resonate, or you might have a completely different concept of what REAL peace is. Feel free to use these more common interpretations as your foundation and build your own customized description of what REAL peace is. A bit of reflective quiet time will be required for this exercise (but hey, you can get that time in the car or in the shower . . . none of this has to be a big production).
Prompts to help you with crafting your personalized definition:
- Which types of situations make you calm inside? Which make you feel less stressed? Which cause you to experience less anxiety?
- What other emotions do you associate with peace? What types of situations inspire those peaceful emotions within you?
- When was the last time you felt truly at peace and/or experienced those other similar emotions? What were the circumstances surrounding those times?
The answers to these questions will help you draft your unique definition of REAL peace.
Word to the wise: the definition you come up with will be a working one, and you can fully expect it to change form over time. You will consistently evolve, and so too will your characterization of things like peace. Plan to revisit, reassess, and revise yours periodically.
How can you bake more peace into your moments and days? Do it.
Once you have developed a clearer understanding of what REAL peace means to you in the present moment, use your personalized definition as a reference and set aside some time to ponder the following questions:
- What are the situations that promote peace for you?
- What are the situations that take away your peace?
- Who are the people who promote peace within you?
- Who are the people who drain you of peace?
- What are the places that inspire peace within you?
- What are the places that rob you of peace?
- What are the activities and event types that generate peace for you?
- What are the activities and event types that steal peace from you?
- What are the topics that infuse peace into your conversations?
- What are the topics that sabotage communication for you and detract the peace from otherwise productive discussions?
Step 1: Write your thoughts down as you run through this REAL peace inventory. Leave some space between each entry.
Step 2: Go back through each category and add at least one starter action you can take to add more of what promotes peace and to alleviate more of what does not bring peace to you.
Remember, this is a process you will tackle in small and simple steps. Begin by implementing gradual adjustments that can be inserted into your daily existence with relative ease.
Example: If there is someone in your life whom you pinpoint as a peace-drainer, don’t pressure yourself by thinking you must completely cut them off immediately (which isn’t always logistically possible). Rather, consider subtly limiting your interaction time with him/her, and/or changing up the setting around those interactions (ensure that necessary together time is in a peace-generating environment, or that it includes other peace-invoking people (i.e., proactively install buffers!!)).
Smooth your path to peace with healthy doses of goodwill.
Performing an act of goodwill is one of the quickest ways you can inspire peace. Showing kindness and love to someone makes you feel good, it makes the receiver feel good, and it infuses a massive amount of good energy into the universe. It is a win-win-win. A 3-dimensional victory. A trifecta for REAL peace.
Goodwill is all about practicing charity, and – as you might have heard – charity begins at home. Your first home is yourself. Your second home is with your family and friends. Your third home is within your community. These three homes create that personal piece of the world that I talked about taking ownership of and creating peace within. These are the spaces in which you can begin to whip up steady doses of peace, joy, and unity.
To get started, take some time to consider the following:
- How do you show good will to yourself? (I start with you, because you can’t give to others what you do not know how to give to yourself)
- How do you demonstrate good will to your friends and family?
- How do you offer good will to your community?
If your self-assessment has you coming up short on one front or another, think of at least one new way you can start to promote peace in that particular home (and add these ideas and goals to your notes from the previous reflective exercises).
Keep your approach simple and manageable. Grand gestures are nice, but smaller ones are just as meaningful. Set aside a weekly time to enjoy one of your favorite peaceful activities, make it your mission to compliment each person in your household at least once a week, decide to share only positive material and feel-good sentiments with your social media networks, vow to pick up trash whenever you see it on the ground, or make it a point to be kinder and patient to people in the stores and on the road. I think you get the idea.
Claim your peace. Own your peace. Be peace.
Living for REAL is all about using your creative and loving power to manifest moments and days that are filled with peace and ease. It is about recognizing that REAL peace is a lifestyle and a choice.
It is about being aware and awake enough to see that peace does exist. It is about understanding that inspiring and cultivating REAL peace is an inside job, and it is about accepting responsibility to do that job.
Decide today to make peace on Earth and goodwill to men your daily mantra.
Claim ownership of your REAL peace and do whatever you reasonably can to share it.
RIP is an expression that was never meant for the dead, it is meant for the living.
And that’s the REAL tea.
Rest in peace, friends, and may peace bewitch you all~