Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
I have a distinct memory of the first time that I was introduced to the quote above. I had just returned home from an extended stay at The Esalen Institute. At the time, I was sharing business space with a fellow PT and had an intimate yoga studio set-up. My business partner had printed the quote and shared with me that she’d been leaving it out for students to take if/as they felt called. I was stopped in my tracks with an “ah-ha moment.” I remember feeling as if I’d left the peace of a serene retreat center (think: total disconnect from the outside world) and was now facing the challenge of anchoring that same sense of peace in my “real life” at home.
Fast forward several years …
I haven’t written a blog post since just before the onset of Covid. Wow! Lots, and lots, and lots of life has unfolded. As many of you know, Covid shifted my professional reality a great deal. My shared studio space is a thing of the past. While there is some sadness for me about that, I know that I have been Divinely guided from one career opportunity to the next. My profession reality is not the only thing that has shifted. There have been quite a few changes in my personal life, too. Therein lies the present-day relevance of the above quote.
When teaching meditation, I often acknowledge the temptation to think:“How could I possibly make this work in my hectic life? To embody the mindfulness of a monk living in a cave; Or, a yogi studying at a remote retreat center.” And in fact, that is the challenge!
So, I’ll bet you’re curious about why I’m reflecting upon all of this now. Certainly, the holidays are one of the busier times of the calendar year for most. Myself included. However, that’s not the only reason why.
This Fall, I moved from the serenity of my 1,100 sq foot condo with my cat into a four-bedroom home with my partner and his two daughters. It has truly been adjustment for us all. For the first several weeks of the transition, our living room had two couches in it – back-to-back. On various occasions, I retreated to what I began to lovingly refer to as “the couch cave.” I would lie on the interior of the two couches with my cat. I found myself surrendering to breath, with the intention of it supporting me through loss of my own space and, at times, the overwhelm of the extra activity all around me in my new home. It wasn’t in the immediacy of the moments spent in the couch cave that I had another “ah-ha moment,” however it wasn’t very long before I began to realize … OMG! I am seeking a cave. To re-create the monk in a cave reality of which I’d been existing for the past decade, or so. All throughout those years prayerfully meditating upon my longing for partnership, and a family. Ironic, huh?
This has been interesting awareness to integrate. Though my environment has shifted, what has not is my upmost commitment to remain intentional in the unfolding of each of my days. Doing so requires me to stand in integrity, grounded, and embracing compassion in my interactions with the people, places, and things that I encounter. To me, that’s the purest application of peace. So, my daily practice has, is, and, I am certain, will continue to shift to support this vision.
Today, I challenge you to consider the quote above and to ponder the shifts – both large, and small – that you can make in the days ahead to embrace peace this holiday season!