5 Ways to Give PEACE
Poet and musician, John Lennon, said it best when he sang the words to this beloved favorite.
“All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”
Finding peace during the Holiday Season can be almost as big a challenge as finding time to exercise. Everything about the weeks leading up to December 25th, seems hectic, even crazy. We rush, shop, drink too much, eat too much, stress over gifts, and lose ourselves in the chaos. Then end up feeling lost. What we really want is to find peace.
How do we accomplish this? Buddhist philosophy suggests that instead of trying to feel intensely, all that is associated with celebrating, we need to maintain a reasonable balance of emotion. If sadness is part of it, acknowledge it to be so. If happiness is present, allow that to be present. It is the attachment to experiences (and sometimes material things), that causes pain, because we don’t want to feel loss.
Too much wanting can lead to disappointment. When we are greedy, wanting more of everything from drugs, food, shopping, alcohol and even sex, we get used to the idea of reward. Then we want more and more. This explains why indulging in excess, even though outwardly the excess looks like it should make us feel amazing, often leads to depression.
Throughout the Holiday Season, I had been searching for the meaning of Christmas, that special feeling that I needed to feel. It’s true that these weeks of celebration can be painful to those who have suffered loss. I know the emptiness in my heart is sharpened because Bob isn’t here with me. When everyone gathers around the table in pairs, holding hands, acknowledging each other in their private ways, my heart feels the burden of being alone.
What I needed was to feel connected again - to me and to others around me, and to make sense of what had happened to me. What I was seeking, was to come to terms with all that had slipped away in these last years. I wanted to stop struggling with my roller coaster emotions, putting an end to what had been feeling like endless waves of distress.
The answer came in one word - peace. Healing is about acknowledging what has passed, then stepping forward, taking every emotion, raw, pretty or otherwise, with you, but coming to terms with all of them. Out of that comes peace, which literally means freedom from strife.
Here are some simple strategies to help you find peace in your holiday heart:
- Practice gratitude. Say out loud, 10 things you are grateful for and say it loudly.
- Find long term meaning rather than short term thrill.
- Give. Giving floods the heart and brain with feel good chemicals. Doing for others what they cannot do for themselves is the ideal antidote.
- Create a memorable experience rather than an ideal material gift. The experience will be remembered long after the material goods.
- Spend love generously. Spend it.
Love and peace.