Professional Student of Life
Adventures in personal growth
January: The Place of Peace
There is no path to peace. Peace is the path. ~ Gandhi
One of my mentors, the inimitable Martha Beck, likes to say that God answers all of our prayers, giving us everything we’ve ever longed for. The trouble is, He always sends them to our real address, which is peace. If we can get to peace, and learn to stay there, we’ll find all the goods waiting for us. It’s a beautiful image and an invitation to a surprisingly simple practice.
We don’t really need affirmations and visualizations and exercises to raise our vibrations (although there is much to be said for all of them). We just need to be at peace with what is happening, in our lives outwardly and in our reactions inwardly. We need to find the Place of Peace, and then make it a habit to return there again and again, staying longer and longer each time.
I have a mental image of the Place of Peace as a yurt (not sure why, but the image is sticking). It’s a place where fear and anger can hang out with love and joy, where there’s room for everyone. True peace can’t be “imposed” over other emotions; it happens when you accept the emotions that you’re already having, even if they aren’t particularly comfortable. I’ve had a lot of practice lately. My move has brought up all kinds of uncomfortable emotions. When I resist them I don’t feel peace, but when I allow them to be there, when I am at peace with feeling lonely and scared, when I fling open the door to the yurt and invite them all in, as the poet Rumi wrote, I find that I can breathe comfortably again. I don’t love feeling this way, but I can accept it, and a feeling of peace descends on me right in the midst of my turmoil.
So I’m working on living in the Place of Peace, my real address. I missed posting a blog last month for the first time, but that’s okay. This is a huge transition for me, from my cabin in the woods to an urban apartment five floors up. I miss my boy cat, who stayed with my parents so that he can continue to enjoy the outdoors. I miss seeing trees outside my window, but I can still connect with the mountains. I’ve been through an intense purge of my possessions and learned that my family will step in heroically to support me when I need it. I am battered and sore emotionally, but I know that I will heal. I am at peace.
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