increase your peace

For a while now, I’ve wanted to consolidate a list of my “Peace Prescriptions”.  I’ve previously written on this subject, and peace is an obvious focal point of Perfect Peace Yoga.

In this hectic holiday season, we may send and receive Christmas cards stating “Peace on Earth,” yet Christmas season can actually stir up unrest in us all. We can focus too much on all the to-dos, and not on the meaning behind the lists (Happy Birthday, Jesus!).  I hope these Peace Prescriptions will help you uncover some calm while you reflect on the reason for the season.

1. PRAYERAnne Lamott speaks of her simple prayers, offered up with frequency:  Help. Thanks. Wow. Praying does not have to be an elaborate event. I find that when my three year old has pushed my impatience button or a work event is causing me angst, if I just close my eyes and send up a HELP PLEASE message, I can create a pause in the heightened emotion. This allows the Spirit the space to move and work in me.

Spirit + Space = Solace
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Philippians 4:6-7 says Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests  to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Of course, not every prayer need be one of help or urgency. Which leads us to…

 

2. GRATITUDE – To prevent extra stress in the first place, it is wise to remember your blessings. Think on the things for which you are thankful. Consider where you are already abundant. For so many of us, need is not a verb used in its truest form. We are with shelter, clean water, food, companionship, entertainment and so. much. more.

When situations get you frazzled, imagine having to sleep about outside above a metro grate to get the heat from the rising steam. I see this with frequency in the winter here in DC:  homeless men and women taking what they can, where they can.

Several times I have seen the same mother and her two children asking for money near Dupont Circle. One time, her oldest – about four years old – was breast feeding while she sat on the sidewalk. I thought “What if that is his only food today?”

“What if she has to provide milk for both her children because they can’t get anything else?” I gave her money that day. My heart was broken for her.

My daughter does not know hunger. For that and so much more, I am so very grateful. When I begin to feel petulant because a situation is less than ideal, I try to push back any sense of entitlement with gratitude.

There but for the grace of God go I.

thankful

 

3. SERVICE Another way to increase your peace is to get your mind off yourself. Where can you contribute to help another? Do you have a talent you can share? A listening ear? Maybe take advantage of the holiday sales to purchase a toy or winter wear for a local non-profit helping families in need?

I struggle most frequently with the mundane, repetitive tasks around our house giving me a foul attitude.

Really? The dishes need doing again?

Didn’t I just fold the laundry?

If I try viewing these tasks as acts of service to my family, they become (slightly) less wearisome. If I put on some good tunes or a podcast, they can become even enjoyable…which makes me think music should be added to this peace prescription list! Perhaps a part two later…top ten tips for increasing peace.

 

4. MEDITATION – Another simple, accessible tool for creating calm without cost is meditation. Sitting. Watching the breath flow in and out. 

Noticing your thoughts has they happen and pass. Coming back once again to the breath. I turn on a timer for ten minutes, sit down on a cushion and let the magic happen.

I find the timer is a must because without it I’ll concern myself with the time and not the release of time constraints.

I’ve had experiences of great breakthrough just sitting still. I can ask a question and wait to listen and learn the answer.

Sometimes, the breakthrough is just that I needed a break.

Psalm 143:5b  – I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.

Ten minutes without doing anything is a great gift to give yourself. Speaking of gifts…

 

5. RECEIVE (your promises) – Sometimes I find the act of receiving to be the most difficult. We are promised so much from our Lord:  salvation, peace, strength, wisdom …the list goes on. But we have to receive the gift of those promises before their benefit is granted us.

I love how the yoga pose savasana at the end of each class acts as a physical symbol of surrender. You are lying down with arms out and palms up, eyes closed. You have put in the work and effort of the practice. Then you come into this physical posture of submission, acceptance and reception. You surrender to what is provided.

receive

Fortunately, our God promises to never leave us or forsake us. He promises to care for us. He promises us so much if we will just receive it.

If you struggle with receiving your promises, try coming into savasana. Deepen your breath.

Relax your jaw and between your brows. Listen.

Might letting go of some of your ‘stuff’ make you feel lighter? More peaceful?

Numbers 6:25-26 –  May the LORD make his face to shine  upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and  give you peace.Peace be with you signature FINAL