I never really looked for peace or joy. Love and balance were things I always aspired to. At mid-life now, when I look back on my earlier years, I started out life seeking to be happy.
If something wasn’t going to make me happy, I would avoid it. But happy desires are fickle. I realized that striving for happiness put me on an emotional roller coaster.
For a while things in life are great, and then things happen, and it isn’t so great again. It was a cycle I didn’t know how to get off. So as a healthy way, I sought a balanced lifestyle, to not have too much extreme of anything.
And not too much of any one activity that would be great for a while and then lead me down a path of disappointment.
From there, I realized that it wasn’t happiness or balance that provided the needed answers. It was contentment I was seeking. Just being satisfied with the moment.
To always be thankful and share my experiences with others who weren’t so lucky in my fortunate areas. That’s the real joy, even if I experienced a temporary setback.
And when I say temporary, in one situation, it was 10 years. I moved back to the area I grew up in, and for 10 years nothing happened. No real outward showing of success, just years passing by.
Day to day living of being grateful, and thinking healthy is enough, and better than what a large part of the world has. That kept me content.
In that time of waiting, I knew there was more ahead in my future and a prize at the end of the tunnel. And, in that waiting time that seemed like eternity at the time, I worked on how to be a better “me” by noticing my every action and how it didn’t all align with everything I wanted to be.
I wanted to be authentic in everything. And with the desires I declared on myself, they slowly took shape, situation by situation, in the everyday-ness of life.
I practiced better self-control, and re-learned some bad habits I realized I had. The positive change came about from my desire to change them. And that was all time well spent. Because then I could eventually become a better “we” in my now relationship. And show up in love. To love, with love as a verb.
The Better “Me”
This new, better “me” was learned in ordinary small situations that life deals you, where you have to act and make best decisions, based on “gray” areas and circumstances. Gray areas I had never experienced before, or didn’t have any laid out roadmap.
Like one of the best things you can do in a difficult situation is not to react and just let it go. It’s those “gray” areas, that refine who you are, by your repeatedly making the right decision by knowledge, meditation, and prayer. Life keeps serving you these situations and opportunities to grow until you learn the lesson. Situations may look different, but the root is the same.
And sometimes you don’t know that you learned the lesson, until you look back and you realize you’re a different, new person in that area. Like, you’re no longer exhibiting self-centered or impatient traits.
When I was in my 20s, I didn’t know how to get this goodness and wisdom, but I believe I willed it into existence. When you have issues, that could be in health, work, and relationship, or unexpected twists and turns you could never imagine when you’re young, then you have a chance to allow for the best “you” to emerge.
It’s how you see and deal with these situations that determine your life’s outlook. And then, you can help others in these similar situations as a higher calling.
Experiencing Daily Peace
The truth is you can’t really be feeling content, joyful, and loving, if you don’t have peace. So that’s why Peace comes before Joy and Love.
Restoring peace is a daily effort. When I watch the news, I get information but little peace. I actually sometimes feel unrest, worry, and fear. When I have quiet time and get to listen to messages that pick me up, then I can find peace again. And that’s where the love shows up and the negative thoughts and emotions disappear.
Spending days resting is not wasted time. It’s time well spent. Just like the season and decade I spent working on “me” and not drowned in busyness. So, don’t ever give up the opportunity to just do nothing but be with yourself and wonder about everything, like why you’re here and who you are.
Be that inquisitive kindergartner (from the classic book “All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”). Shut off the “noise” of the outside world and don’t fill it up with social activities or any activities. And see if you get any revelations after trying quietness every day for half an hour or at least every week for a few hours. You don’t have to live like a monk, but focus on the “inner you”.
The “inner you” that drives the “outer you” and how you behave and think. You may receive some type of revelation about yourself. And more often than not, it will be something that you could not have discovered if you had gone about your day the same way you usually do, or done your busy routine.
Don’t go looking for what it is you want to discover, as it will come find you if you are open and willing for something new. It really doesn’t matter how you discover an “a-ha” truth that’s specific to you, but instead that you allowed space for it to sink into you mind and permeate who you are.
You could be in your quietness and an important phone call rings and you answer it. You’re now accepting this call with a different frame of mind than if it were full of noise. And once in a blue moon, it could even be a call with a new breakthrough.