As long as one is alive and engaged with life… things will come to challenge your inner peace. You can be the nicest guy/gal on the planet, but eventually, something will test your sense of peace.
It could be health worries, it could be relationship stress, it could be academic worries, or any number of things. Usually, one item of stress won’t rob you of peace. When the proverbial tank is full and life decides to flood you with additional worries, things start to chew away at your inner peace.
This blog post is coming on the heels of a bit of stress in my life. I’ve been planning and anticipating the arrival of my youngest child. She decided to come early. A lot of adjustments had to be moved up on the calendar. Now, my princess is home and life is moving along.
What I was not prepared for, emotionally speaking, was the intensity of the emotional needs of my other children. The dynamic changed a lot more than I anticipated. You see, this is my fourth child. They’re all close in ages. The newborn presented a real challenge for the older ones. What did this sudden drop in attention from mommy and daddy mean?
During one of my self-love check-in moments… I discovered that my inner sense of peace was shaken. Not horribly, but enough. I was now a bit more raw emotionally. Crying from several children at once was tipping my nerves a bit too close for my comfort.
I don’t like to be the guy who reacts emotionally to upset children and yells at them for being children. I found myself having to fight harder and harder to hold my composure. I didn’t like that.
On top of that… my wife has been needing a bit more understanding from me than I’m used to. She’s a tough cookie who handles herself very independently. To be in a position to see her needing support that she won’t ask for… added a level of stress I had not anticipated.
I won’t bore you with all the other ideas running about my head as a head of household… as a breadwinner… and as an aspiring writer who has to put his work on hold. The planner in me does not like so much ambiguity hitting me all at once. The chill guy in me felt there was no room to mellow out and go with the flow. My family needed my attention and the rest of life had to be put on hold.
When Peace… needs to be like a river
I knew that if I didn’t check myself, I would soon reach a level of reactivity that would be out of alignment with my family values. I seriously don’t want to be that guy who responds to his children emotionally without thinking. I had to find a way to restore the balance of peace I need.
I’ve been doing the only thing I know that helps me remain cool when life is out of balance. I pull back and create zones of peace for myself. This self-care principle is vital. I used to neglect it, thinking I just had to keep pushing harder until normal was found.
There is no going back to the old normal. That is gone. Sleep deprivation is the current normal until a new normal arrives. I need to find that extra peace so I can help my other children feel loved and cared for. Snapping at them to quiet them down is only adding to their stress… which means more crying… more neediness…
I now take an hour in the morning to create peace for myself. I also do the same late at night. I take time to quiet the internal waves and smooth things out into a quiet river. The flow is much better that way. I’m more centered. Some call it meditation… I don’t have a name for what I do. I just know that those times make all the difference in the world. (I’m writing this blog post during one of those times)
The results have been above my best expectation. The children are calming down and feel they’re getting the attention they need. My wife seems less stressed and isn’t trying to be supermom as aggressively as before. I’ve accepted the change in pacing a lot better now than before. I’m now going with the flow a lot more calmly than before.
I’m sharing this otherwise very personal bit of myself for one reason only. Peace can be found. It may take some effort and a lot of adjusting, but it can be found. My family depends on my ability to be peaceful and rational. I hurt them by not being my best self. Being calm is part of the expectations they have of me.
By the way, this post may have the tone of a father… because that’s the biggest deal in my life… but it applies to all other aspects of life. I’ve used this approach in many other areas of my life.
Taking a bit of time to address your inner peace makes all the difference in your success on the outside. I work better on the job when I’m at peace with myself. I am a better husband and artist when I’m at peace. I’m a better person in general when I’m at peace.
It didn’t start with an hour in the morning and an hour at night. It started with five minutes to inhale deeply and exhale slowly each day. Just five minutes. Over time, I built up on that and created more time to find my inner tranquility. For the record, I don’t take that hour time every day… but I do take that five minutes every single day.
You are worth it. You deserve it. The people you’re trying to help… the deserve it as well.
As you get ready to tackle this week, please be kind to yourself and work on your inner peace. Find it. Cherish it. Nourish it. That’s the only way to live life on purpose with purpose.
Until next time, have a great peaceful purposeful week!