“… Seek peace, and pursue it.” – Psalm 34:14b
Yesterday, I was lying in a yoga studio listening to a woman softly tell me how to breathe. It was the end of our practice, and we were supposed to be resting. I, however, was thinking too much. I wasn’t worrying; it was just the on-going, never-ending train station of thoughts.
Our yoga instructor reminded the class, “As thoughts come into your mind, just acknowledge them and let them go. Concentrate on your breathing.”
I’m an over-thinker. Always have been. I plan, analyze, deconstruct and pick apart just about everything. Sometimes it’s good, because I’m a problem-solver by nature. However, in the words of author Donald Miller, “I think joy into a coffin.” I’ll take something easy and make it complicated. Truly relaxing and letting go of my hurried mind is a daily struggle.
Of course, it got me thinking, why do I do this? Why do I participate in activities where people have to teach me how to breathe and relax? Why does anyone do this? Because, secretly, underneath all the mental striving, we all want the same thing: peace.
We need that calm feeling, the release after the tension, or a moment of silence that deafens all of our cares and concerns. From the busy stay-at-home mom to the banker on Wall Street, everybody covets peace.
However, the thing is that peace doesn’t just fall in your lap. In this noisy world of 24-hour news, Twitter feeds and five different email accounts, you can’t wait for peace to come to you. There’s too much in the way. You’ve got to go out and find it.
The older I get, the more I need to make peace a priority. I am of no use to anyone if I’m stressed out. So, a few years ago, I began my pursuit of peace. I took up reading books again and making sure I got plenty of sleep. I started running and cooking, because I found that the focus needed to do them helped clear and quiet my mind.
It didn’t take long before I realized I was slowly building an inner core of peace – this unshakable center of stillness. It took effort and still does, but I am nowhere near the franic, worry wart that I used to be. And it gets easier every day.
So what is peaceful for you? How do you unwind, reconnect and re-charge? Find a way to work those things into your daily life. And don’t forget to breathe.