How to Get a Piece of Peace in Your Life

Thursday, July 28, 2005

You and Others

Why is it that we can sometimes hold on to so much of other people's words and actions?

It starts when we are infants. This is how we understand who we are...through the primary caregiver. This is how we even begin to comprehend our identity.

In a way, the importance of having a significant other, or friends, or family, is to help define who we are. It keeps us real. It helps us understand ourselves through others.

But then we continue this even after we establish the difference between ourselves and others. We take in what others say about us, take it in as if that is who we are.

We even take in what others do to us, even unjustly. We begin to identify ourselves by what others do and say, without realize that we are doing so. We sometimes wear it as if we are permanently damaged by the past.

The past makes us who we are today. But we can choose how and how much. We can choose if it positively affects us or negatively affects us.

If you find that you wish to change how you feel about yourself and that a lot of it has to do with other people, find some time to do some healing. Journal, draw, talk with someone you trust. Visualize yourself in a bubble, and these things that have happened as separate bubbles. Visualize the other people all in separate bubbles as well.

Take some real time to repair. If it hurts to much to think about it, and your strategy is to never think of it, then you are still wearing it very closely. It may come out in many other ways.

Remember that you are not defined by what others say and do.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Priorities and a Personal Mission Statement

Each of us has a mental list of what is most important in life. Occasionally, we will get off track. We fill our lives with many different paths, projects, and people. We get caught up in too many details and things to remember and keep track of. We can spend a lot of energy in so many areas that we lose sight of what is at our core of our focus.

Sometimes it helps to streamline. We may have many things happening, but if they all can fit into a few large categories, it may feel as though our efforts continue to stay in one place, with some tasks possibly overlapping so that it's as if we have one to two "trees" with small branches all coming from the same trees, rather than ten different trees.

Sometimes we simply need to re-evaluate and cut out some of the things in our lives that are taking too much effort. Even if it's only mental effort, it can still be draining.

Be cautious when debating whether or not to cut down on personal interests or reacreational activities. These tend to be the first to go, as they may seem like a luxury. However, these activities actually help restore all of our motivation and energy that we apply to other commitments and obligations. Personal time deserves a top slot on the list of priorities.

Occasionally we feel as though we don't even know what we we're striving for or what is important to us. Throughout life these things can slightly change as well. Take a few minutes to do a personal mission statement. It helps to solidify your role and your purpose in this life and allows everything else to fall into place behind that statement.

A way to jumpstart your personal mission statement is on this Franklin-Covey website. It has a few questions to give you some root words that you then turn into sentences.

A personal mission statement can be one sentence or one paragraph. Make it meaningful to you.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Monday Quotes on Peace

There never was a good war, or a bad peace. -- Benjamin Franklin

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. -- John F. Kennedy

Peace is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away. -- Robert Fulghum

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Once again, it's time for a reminder to breathe. Breathing is good for stress reduction, improved concentration, level moods, and and overall better focus and perspective on life.

Allow your belly to slowly expand as you inhale and count to three.

Then slowly push your navel back toward your spine as you exhale and count to three.

Keep your shoulders down. Let your shoulder blades slide down your back.

Almost let your belly drop down and out as it fills with air again.

Do this for one minute. Notice how slowly sixty seconds passes when you're breathing deeply.

Be aware of quick and shallow breathing or whenever you begin to hold your breath throughout the day. Remind yourself to b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


While hindsight is 20/20, it is also a dangerous perception to have. It can cultivate a habit of negative thinking that will work against us as we talk to ourselves.

Hindsight has an advantage that we don't have before a situation has occurred: hindsight already has the results in hand. It tells us that we should have known better, that we could have done things differently, that we are inferior somehow.

Most of us are not prophets and therefore cannot predict with accuracy and attain the desired results every time. Even if we may have suspected that a certain situation might happen, the odds of that scenario happening was the same as perhaps a dozen others.

Catch yourself the next time you begin this type of negative thinking. Remind yourself that you made the best decisions at the time, with the information that you had.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Always Running Late

Do you find yourself late for many of your scheduled activities or appointments, even with the best intentions of being on time?

Do you beat yourself up over this pattern and stress as you are en route?

You have several options to alleviate this chronic tardiness and the mental anguish that accompanies it.

1) Make it your daily priority to be on time. Before your day begins, employ your strategy to consciously improve your punctuality. Visualize it. Have a mantra.

2) Cut out some of your planned activities or tasks. Do not feel pressured to fit it all into one day, as you can already see from the past that it doesn't all fit.

3) Estimate your travel time accurately. Build in extra time for unexpected delays before and during the travel.

4) If outside demands (work, family, school) do not allow enough time in the day, begin to address this with others. If it's not possible to be on time, it's not possible to keep it all in your schedule.

5) Work toward being somewhere early. Take projects or reading material with you to fill the extra time. See what it feels like to be in this position and use it as motivation for future successes.

6) Accept your tardiness when it happens. You are running late, and stressing will not get you there faster. Breathe deeply, alert others of your estimated arrival time, think of what you will do to accomodate for the time, and arrive to your destination calmly.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Say it Out Loud

You never know what will happen when you actually say things out loud.

If you have problems, questions, or needs, you may want to begin talking about them. People will produce the answers, or the connections to other people. It is much more likely that we will attain our goals if we begin to talk about them.

Even if you talk out loud by yourself, it can be helpful. Daunting thoughts or fears tend to dissipate rather than build in your mind. Many people believe that saying your desires out loud will send them out to the universe or an ethereal being to be carried out.

Never underestimate the power of the spoken word. Your voice can be strong, soothing, and essential for many outcomes.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Monday Quotes on Peace

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. -- Mother Teresa

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people. -- Jawaharlal Nehru

It does take each of us to begin to be a peaceful world. And it takes each of us to begin to learn about each other.

Take a moment to learn a little more about someone around you today.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Start Anything

We have the tendency to refrain from starting new projects or endeavors for the following reasons: 1) other tasks are not completed, 2) we really don't have time to see it through, and 3) why start it if we're not going to finish it?

When a new idea pops into our minds, you may turn to it with disapproval, without giving it a chance. Yet, perhaps, it could be a possibility.

Allow your mind to daydream a little. Go with the new idea. Start on it. Why not? Start it with no expectations of finishing it, with no judgment of its success or failure, and without being critical about the logistics.

If you have a new thought, follow it. It will take you on an adventure whose destination is unknown. You may never even reach the end, because along the way, something else might pleasantly distract you. You meet someone new, you learn something new, you try something new.

Find satisfying results in the meanderings of the initial whim that took you there. Do not be disappointed with what you thought you should have accomplished. It requires no explanation to others, either. After all, it was your choice to embark, and your choice to drift and detour.

Relish the serendipity of life with no regrets in your recreations.

If you still find that incomplete projects are too daunting, do some follow up reading with Do One Thing.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


You may have a relationship in which you don't always know where the other person ends and where you begin. While this may make for an intense connection, it can also open the door to an imbalance and may not be healthy for you, your development, or your boundaries.

If something feels like too much chaos, too much intensity, or too much confusion, chances are there are very blurry lines in your relationship and it is quite difficult to define issues or conflicts if the two of you are enmeshed.

If you want to change this, but find yourself sucked back in time after time, visualize that you are in a web, slowly untangling yourself, one strand at a time. Begin thought-stopping, in which you either question the validity of the interaction or you tell yourself that this is not what you want. Establish other relationships or talk to others about their relationships that do not have this similar dynamic in order to know what it feels like when there isn't an imbalance. Do you see respect? Do see safety and trust? Do you see two separate people who are very closely involved yet still have their own identities?

Sometimes you will make more accommodations for people you've known longer, people you have to work with, or family members. Remember that you are keeping a certain proximity at a certain cost to you. You do have the choice to put some distance between yourself and others. It can be a small amount, or perhaps simply distance in your mind. You also have the choice to speak differently, behave differently, and react differently. Just because a person is used to you playing a certain role does not mean you must commit to that role for your life.

What is most important is that you do what is best for your own mental health. How you do it is your choice.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Lack of sleep has the exact symptoms of depression. Many times it is easy to confuse the two. You will feel as though you are depressed when you actually require some real rest. If you feel overwhelmed, unmotivated, easily irritated....try to take a nap or get a full night's sleep and see how you feel afterward.

If you suffer from sleeping problems, you will continually also suffer from other conditions as a result. If you have consistent low energy levels or mood changes, perhaps you are not getting deep sleep and do not realize it. Seek professional help to investigate this.

If you do find that you have been sleeping much more than usual, or do not feel better after many successive long periods of sleep, you may perhaps have a psychological or physical condition that requires professional diagnosis.

Keep a regular schedule for sleep. Give your body the rest that it requires.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


"An object at rest will remain at rest, and an object in uniform motion will remain in uniform motion, unless acted upon by an outside force."-- Sir Isaac Newton

When we are quite busy, we tend to keep that pace going. We wouldn't know what to do with ourselves if we had a period of time that wasn't scheduled for anything.

When we are not very busy, our own sedentary ways seem to lull us into even less activity. It becomes more and more difficult to initiate any task or project.

When we get out of a habit or a routine, especially those that are good for us (exercise, eating healthy, getting enough sleep), we find that it takes great effort to get back into it again.

While our tendency is to stay in the mode we've allowed, we do have the power to radically change it. It will not always be a struggle to fight off the tendencies that we wish to change. It's the first moment of change that is the hardest, and then it eventually becomes easier.

Get support, encouragement, help, or advice from others if you need it. Use all the strength you have to change your direction or path. Consider small change progress rather than expecting overnight success. Remember that sometimes the only thing keeping you from changing is your mind.

Do not give up or give in to a lifestyle that you do not wish to lead.

What would you like to change today?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Close your eyes and visualize a place that brings you the most peace. It can be a place in nature, a fantasy place, or it can be a place in your past. Go there. Try to see as many details as possible. Even attempt to hear or smell or taste. Stay as long as you can. Breathe deeply.

You may prefer to revisit a favorite memory and can get more directions from A Moment of Joy.

If you do this once a day, you could notice health and psychological benefits. The brain is greatly affected by visualization because it does not distinguish between sensations in the real world, or recalled sensations within one's mind. It simply records and sends messages to the body as it is told to do. For more interesting research see #5 on this list.

You can also visualize things that you wish for your future. When you create these visualizations, your brain sends these images to your subconscious which then begins to work with you to make those things possible. When doing this type of visualization, be careful not to send negative or skeptical messages that would negate the power of thought.

Visualization is also an effective method for healing old pains in the past. Visualize what you would like to do differently, what you would like to say, how you would like to be there for yourself at that time. Visualize a future life with that pain detached from you.

Here is a chart that lists the different types of brainwaves and their attributes.

If you've tried a visualization and have found it to be difficult, continue to try it. As with many things, it improves with practice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Arts

Visual Art. Dance. Music. Theatre.

They tap into a part of us that we cannot always define. They fill a need, awaken the spirit, or soothe the soul. It's one of the universal factors of humans. In one way or another we all tap into the arts.

We have these before we have language. Before humans began to use words to communicate, they used symbols and gestures. As infants, before we can speak, we can connect with imagery and rhythms. As children, we freely drew or sang or danced. Many times, as adults, we have the element of embarrassment to hold us back.

Do not let your judgment of the quality of your expression keep you from expressing. If you do not have the urge to actually participate, then connect with what others express. The arts can resonate with many levels of the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.

See The Need for Expression for more about this.

How do the arts affect you? What would you like to explore further?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Monday Quotes on Peace

These quotes all come from HeartMath Solution, an innovative non-profit company that focuses on better performance of the mind and body in order to have better work and personal performance.

"You can never get to peace and inner security without first acknowledging all of the good things in your life. If you're forever wanting and longing for more without first appreciating things the way they are, you'll stay in discord."

"At that elusive moment when we transcend our ordinary performance and feel in harmony with something else—whether it's a glorious sunset, inspiring music or another human being—our studies have shown that what we are really coming in sync with is ourselves. Not only do we feel more relaxed and at peace, but this entrained state increases our ability to perform well and offers numerous health benefits."

"The heart shows us the inherent core values in our lives and brings us closer to the sense of true security and belonging we all need. Heart intelligence is often accompanied by a solid, secure and balanced feeling. We can tell when we are in contact with the heart by how it feels. The intelligence of the heart acts as an impetus for what some scientists call "qualia" — our experience of the feelings and qualities of love, compassion, non-judgment, tolerance, patience and true forgiveness. These qualities are often accompanied by a peaceful, clear state of awareness."

"Thoughts and feelings play a major role in everything we do. It is through these inner processes that we experience our happiness and peace of mind—or the worst day we've ever had."

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Try this exercise.

Think of one person in your life whom you don't always understand. Perhaps it's even someone with whom you tend to have a lot of conflict.

Spend a few minutes thinking about every aspect of that person's life. Think about that person's upbringing, circumstances, emotions, level of satisfaction with life, changes and stresses, critical events, and political and religious views. Give a monologue as that person. What would you say?

You may be surprised that even though you've known someone all of your life, you will discover so much more by using this technique.

You can even do this with strangers, imagining what may have happened in their lives and how they see the world and themselves. This works particularly well when a stranger's actions cause us aggravation or anger.

Each of us has a very unique perspective. In order to better live with each other, we need to use this skill of seeing someone else's perspective. It allows us to have more compassion, understanding, patience, and can give us more inner peace about others around us.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Many times we assign intentions to other people's actions without even realizing it.

If a person doesn't change a behavior, we sometimes believe the person refuses to change, or doesn't care. We may forget how difficult it is to actually change.

We project our own fears, hidden motives, or expectations onto other people and see their actions through those filters. We also have our own sets of cultural norms, personal rules, we say things to ourselves such as, "I would never do that."

When you recall a situation in your mind, notice if you report the facts, as a newspaper article, or if you attach the thoughts, feelings, and intentions that you believe the other person has. You can only truly report your own feelings unless the other person communicated what was happening inside the mind.

We are each extremely unique individuals.

Friday, July 08, 2005


When we are around many people in our daily lives, we sometimes compare ourselves to others. We do this on so many levels and in so many different areas.

We want to ask ourselves: does this benefit us?

Occasionally it is good to do a comparison, in order to feel more normal, to establish what the acceptable range is, or maybe to have a little motivation, inspiration, and competition.

Sometimes it isn't healthy, and we can feel worse simply by looking at others.

Another important question to ask: are we making fair comparisons?

The key to this is that we tend to compare our inner selves that contain all of our flaws, secrets, and negative thoughts, with the outer selves that other people present.

You'll notice this when you see someone who looks calm and confident in a social setting, and you feel as though you could never be that way, but you hear from the person later, "I was a nervous wreck the whole time." The media present only the best (or the worst) of celebrities, which also sends unrealistic messages.

When you find yourself comparing, ask yourself if it's healthy and fair before making any decisions.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Deepak Chopra

Dr. Deepak Chopra is famous for his writings that bring together alternative medicine, quantum physics, and spirituality.

Deepak Chopra now has a blog . It is authentic and linked to his main website, The Chopra Center.

He also delivers the message, "Peace is the Way" and has a link for anyone who believes in peace and would like to
register to be a PeaceMaker.

Visit one of these sites today to be inspired.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Dalai Lama Speaks

"Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free." -- The XIVth Dalai Lama

This illustrates the thought process of focusing on all the things that require our attention, constantly working hard, striving, making it through our days with many of our own difficulties, pains, and suffering, and then we refocus and look at the entire world, and wonder, where do we even begin?

The question doesn't really require an answer. We simply do what we can, with our thoughts, words, and actions.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Film to Expand the Mind

What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a film that explores quantum physics and spirituality and how the two are involved in our reality. It is a documentary of interviews with scientists and mystics woven into a storyline with Marlee Matlin as the protagonist.This independent film became an instant success and served as a catalyst for many conversations, projects, and meetings of the minds.

One of the most memorable scenes for many people is the interview with Dr. Joe Dispenza known as "I Create My Day." Here is what he says:

"I wake up in the morning and I consciously create my day the way I want it to happen. Now sometimes, because my mind is examining all the things that I need to get done, it takes me a little bit to settle down and get to the point of where I'm actually intentionally creating my day. But here's the thing: When I create my day and out of nowhere little things happen that are so unexplainable, I know that they are the process or the result of my creation. And the more I do that, the more I build a neural net in my brain that I accept that that's possible. (This) gives me the power and the incentive to do it the next day.

"So if we're consciously designing our destiny, and if we're consciously from a spiritual standpoint throwing in with the idea that our thoughts can affect our reality or affect our life -- because reality equals life -- then I have this little pact that I have when I create my day. I say, 'I'm taking this time to create my day and I'm infecting the quantum field. Now if (it) is in fact the observer is watching me the whole time that I'm doing this and there is a spiritual aspect to myself, then show me a sign today that you paid attention to any one of these things that I created, and bring them in a way that I won't expect, so I'm surprised at my ability to be able to experience these things. And make it so that I have no doubt that it's coming from you,' and so I live my life, in a sense, all day long thinking about being a genius or thinking about being the glory and the power of God or thinking about being unconditional love.

"I'll use living as a genius, for example. And as I do that during parts of the day, I'll have thoughts that are so amazing, that cause a chill in my physical body, that have come from nowhere. But then I remember that that thought has an associated energy that's produced an effect in my physical body. Now that's a subjective experience, but the truth is that I don't think that unless I was creating my day to have unlimited thought, that that thought would come."

This entire movie gives us food for thought to last a lifetime.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Clearing Your Space


Some of us state that we are comfortable with the clutter or prefer to live this way. For those of us who feel somewhat overwhelmed, slightly depressed, unmotivated, or tired in some areas of our lives, perhaps clearing our own spaces would be helpful. Many times we cannot control what happens at work, or with our families, and therefore it could be reassuring that we do have control over our space.

Every time we see clutter around us, even peripherally, it registers in our minds that there is some disorganization around us, and that perhaps, we are accepting it because it's difficult to change it. Again, we are also giving up more of our control.

Clearing our space gives us the power to change something in our environment and feel organized and proud rather than disorganized and apologetic. Clearing our space also relieves us of the extra mental energy that it takes to accept the clutter and remember where everything is by navigating through our memory map, rather than through a logical filing system. We feel lighter, cleaner, and more confident in our ability to tackle other challenges. We can begin to make our space a sanctuary.

You can do this quite minimally. Put away one thing today. Throw away one thing today. Move some things out of the way to decide upon at another time.

How does "clutter vs. clear" affect your life?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Apologies, part two

On Apology by Aaron Lazare and The Power of Apology by Beverly Engel are two books that address the act of apologizing. Lazare offers the history of, and analysis of apologies to individuals or to groups, while Engel also analyzes the importance of apologies, and applies them to interpersonal interactions.

Both authors focus on the fact that successful apologies do have three vital components and while each author has a slightly different variation of these three components, they essential are:

- acknowledging the action for which the apology is being made
- expressing feelings of remorse
- offering something in order to repair the situation

While this is an elaborate apology for a minor action, it is certainly a well-constructed apology when the behavior causes conflict between two people.

Sincerity is the key element in the delivery of any apology.

Either book is essential to learn more about the art and psychology of apologizing.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Apologies, part one

Apologies have quite different meanings to each of us. While we have some general rules on when and how to apologize, the giving and receiving part is laden with our own personal expectations or beliefs.

Occasionally we put a lot of weight into apologies. It is the one thing that we wait for from someone else, to make everything right again. Sometimes we don't give it any importance at all, believing that the apology is full of empty words and that the proof is in the change of behavior.

Here are some guidelines for apologies:

1. Give an apology when you are genuinely sorry that something in your control affected someone in a way that you did not intend. This apology does not signify that you inarguably did something wrong, it is a way to acknowledge that there was a discrepancy in expectations and actions.

2. Give an apology with no expectation that it will be well-received, that trust will be restored, or that it will solve the conflict. Simply remember what you have control over--giving the apology.

3. While you may want an apology, and you may request it, your efforts to demand it or to keep conflict going without an apology may not be beneficial to you. If your happiness depends upon someone else's actions, you have given up the control to choose your own emotions.

4. In accepting an apology, you are not condoning or excusing behavior. It does also not equate to forgiving. You are simply acknowledging that someone is apologizing. You can accept an apology for what it is addressing, and continue to act upon future events or interactions. Allow the apology to represent exactly what it is. Any promise of change is separate from the apology.

5. A person can choose to act certain ways repeatedly and also follow those actions with repeated apologies. Each of these apologies carries the same weight, regardless of a lack of change in behavior. However, you can also choose to change the relationship with or the expectations of the other person. Allow the apology to stand on its own, yet choose to think or act in a way that will work best for you.

You can only control what you say, what you think, and how you act. The rest lies with the other person.

Each of us has a unique set of personal rules, developed through our history, family, culture, and society. We may all interpret each other in quite different ways. The key is to be able to successfully communicate, cooperate, and live together on this planet.

What meaning does an apology have for you and the people around you?

Friday, July 01, 2005


Buddhist practitioners and Falun Gong practitioners believe that the root of our suffering is in our attachments--attachments to possessions, people, status, and emotions, to name a few. In order to obtain peace and higher level of being, these practitioners learn to let go of their attachments.

Attachments are measured by how strongly we are connected to and identify with our thoughts and emotions. The more we can detach ourselves, the more peace we can experience.

Thoughts and emotions are quite valid and need to be recognized. However, when we embody them and are consumed by them, then we have developed an attachment.


- Jealousy is an attachment to what you fear
- Anger is an attachment to what you expect
- Resentment is an attachment to what you believe you deserve

We can embrace our thoughts and feelings without becoming them. Try to imagine them in separate bubbles. Hold them in space, away from you. This can help the process of lessening the attachment.

What are you attached to, and what could you possibly let go of, even if just a little?