Finding Peace, The Fifty-First Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
This week I’m sharing some past sunsets. Seeing sunrises and sunsets makes me smile. Sunsets remind me that nothing is permanent. And sunrises are an apt metaphor that we always have a chance at a new beginning. Both sentiments give me some peace. And we could all use peace.
Too often when thinking of global peace we think it’s up to world leaders. Or we can feel the futility of hoping for peace. It’s easy to feel powerless when there are wars in too many regions of the world. When anger and hate fill our media outlets peace can seem allusive. As a child, as with many of us, we learned the lyrics “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” I sung that song by rote. I didn’t really think of what I was saying. I found the tune bland. I was not inspired. And, yet, now when I hear talk of peace, and other songs referencing peace, I’m uplifted.
Perhaps we can start with a smile. It’s a small act, but it’s something we can offer. There is a happy meditation that suggests we smile when we breath. It changes our perspective and allows us to feel a bit lighter in the process. And when we share a smile it brightens up someone else’s day. In the past I might smile from time to time, feeling good when people smiled back. Admittedly I was resentful, as if I wasted a smile, when a blank stare or an unsmiling face looked back at me. But I can’t really know if it was a wasted smile. They may have had a delayed reaction. In that case, I wouldn’t have been privy to a positive impact. These days, I do my best to simply smile. I don’t always get a smile in return, but when I do, I am doubly happy.
I suggest we all start smiling. It may be an act of disruption since there has been a trend towards frustration, ire, and apathy. But we can pierce through the murkier emotions and land on a piece of peace.
This is not to say we should deny our feelings and err on the side of looking on the bright side. That does nothing but perpetuate the murkiness. Instead, we can acknowledge how hard it’s been and still share a smile with ourselves and others. News cycles always use fear and anger as their hook. Let’s lead with a smile, letting kindness be the hook. Let’s nourish our joy rather than feeding our fears. It’s a small step that can lead to collective inner peace.
- Take three deep breaths smiling while breathing. See if it changes how you feel.
- Challenge yourself to smile at others and see how it feels. What comes up for you when they smile back? And what happens when they don’t respond positively? Take note of your feelings. Then challenge yourself again to share a smile.
- What makes you smile? Remember to watch, read, listen to, or enjoy whatever makes you smile.