I have searched for peace for decades. Peace is the foundation for all the best things I accomplish. During the pandemic I became aware that I was not at peace, and that I could influence whether I was or not. The isolation, the mundane repetition, the lack of human contact other than those in my own
household was making me cranky. I was fueling it too. In my practice to find peace I realized that I could control where my mind was taking me. If I got cut off in traffic, I could get irate, or be at peace. If my to-go order was not right, I could get upset or find a way to be at peace with it. It is amazing the power we have that we just don’t access. Gratitude has been touted as a transformative method to change our lives. It is true.
Just the other day, we had all of our kids over for a meal. Our millennials now think that they need to bring their dogs with them everywhere they go. (Or maybe that is a COVID thing). Anyway, my daughter’s dog bit me; a dog I had tried to steer her away from adopting. I did not react well. I was really upset, really mad and it hurt. It didn’t just hurt physically, it hurt because she didn’t listen to me in the first place, she didn’t apologize for the dog biting me and I felt really disregarded. That energy was not good for anyone. I was hijacked for about 2 days. And I clung to the hurt. In the process, my mind started to tell me all the things that were wrong: my kids didn’t love me, my kids didn’t respect me; my kids didn’t regard me, and now that I was mad, they weren’t going to come around anymore and I was going to die old and alone. You get the point. It is very easy to go down that road.
It’s just as easy to go down the other road. After about 2 days of wallowing, I decided to shift my thinking. I started with gratitude. Remember, I was still mad, and felt justified in my anger and hurt, but it really wasn’t serving me in any positive way. So, I stopped and intentionally started to think about the
things I could be grateful for: my daughter is very responsible, my daughter has maintained a GPA during the pandemic and online courses that has kept her on the Dean’s list. My daughter is a hard worker, and she is caring. My daughter lives by the values that I taught her. My daughter and I have a
solid relationship that we can deal with these kinds of upsets and talk through them eventually and be OK on the other side. And when I wanted to think the “yes, but” thoughts to negate any of that positive stuff, I would say, “thanks for sharing, but I am grateful for…”. It helped shift my mindset. That
intentional gratitude brought me fresh peace.
What is that issue you need to find something to be grateful about? Who is that person that you need to find something to show gratitude for? Start with the easy ones. Start with the small positive things and exercise that muscle, then move to the thing or person that you feel you could never be grateful for. Find one thing. Then look for another. Pretty soon, if you let yourself, you’ll find peace.