Have you ever had your world turned upside down? Have you ever questioned everything you thought to be true? It's a scary place to be, isn't it? When this happens, it feels like everything has changed from one day to the next.
Yesterday you went about your day, made your plans, and felt that you had a pretty firm grasp on where you stand. You felt surrounded by people who were moving in the same direction as you.
But today, you don't recognize anything or anyone around you. The wind has been knocked out of you. The ground has been pulled out from beneath you. The world is unfamiliar. Alien even.
Suddenly you're not so sure where you're going or who's with you. You go about this day in a fog. You can't see a foot in front of you, and you wonder how you will ever muddle through. And through all of that fear and doubt, all of the disorientation and disorder, you wonder how you will ever find peace.
As I've navigated my own dark and uncertain times, I've also struggled to find peace. It took me a while to realize that no matter how afraid or alone I've felt, no matter how left behind or betrayed, peace has always been patiently waiting inside of me.
I believe that peace is inside of you, too—even on a day when you're not so sure that things will be OK. Being able to ground yourself and find the peace within you can make all the difference in the world. Because if peace is within you when your world is in shambles, that means that today will not break you.
It means that no amount of difficulty will stop you. It may slow you down for a while, but you will find a way to keep going. If peace is within you, it means that nothing can make you forget who you are and what you value most. You will find the courage to keep fighting your good fight.
And it means that you can move forward with intention, starting with where you can do the most good for yourself and the world.
No matter how off-balance you feel, no matter how hard it is to find your footing, you can find peace inside of you.
You can find peace even when the world appears to be a dismal place. You can find hope even when all signs point to disaster. You can find courage even when too you're afraid to open your eyes.
But how? How do we ever find peace when everything feels so crazy? Finding peace within means coming home to yourself, and that's something you can do no matter how lost you feel.
Give yourself time to explore your reactions and express yourself. Allow yourself the time to grieve and question and challenge, too.
And then make a decision about what you're going to let go and where you're going to take action.
Do whatever you need to do to sort through the mess you're looking at and get back in touch with the peace that's within you. Talk with a trusted friend, journal, spend time in nature, or practice a meditation.
If meditation is the path you want to take, give this one a try:
To begin your meditation, find a quiet space and remove as many distractions as possible. Close the door and turn off the phone if you can. Close your eyes and place your hands over your heart.
Take a few deep breaths to get yourself settled in your chair and the present moment. Let go of where you've just been and where you're going next.
With each full breath cycle, repeat these phrases:
Today I will not break.
Today I will live by my values.
Today I will keep my kindred spirits close in heart and mind.
Today I will contribute something positive to this world.
Today I will find the courage to come back home to myself when I find
that I've strayed too far.
Today I will find the peace inside of me.
Continue to breathe with your eyes closed and hands over your heart.
Mentally scan your body for areas of tension or pain. If you find any, send a breath there and repeat, "Today I will find the peace inside of me."
Stay like that, breathing as long as you like. And keeping your eyes closed as long as you need, slowly turn your attention back to the world around you. Feel the chair beneath you, the clock ticking on the wall behind you, and the traffic moving outside.
Take one final cleansing breath as you open your eyes.
When you give yourself the time to come back home and find the peace within, you're make a commitment to yourself on how you want to move forward. You're deciding if you're going to conduct yourself with drama or integrity, hatred or love, despair or hope.
Go through this day with the intention to find peace, and center yourself at the end of the day with a quick reflection:
Did today break me?
Did I find peace today?
Did I live by my values today?
Did I remember my kindred spirits today?
Did I contribute something positive to this world today?
Did I find the courage to come back home to myself today?
Whether you try this meditation practice or not, use today to do what you need to do to renew your strength, find the peace within you, and cultivate hope for tomorrow.