5 Keys to Get You Some Peace

If you’ve read my other articles, you noticed that I am all about inner-peace, self-reflection, and self-care. That seems a bit self- focused, right?

Let me assure you that it is not. I recognize that not everyone understands what I mean when I say, “get you some peace.” The story of how I got to this chapter in my life is also unclear, so let me explain. The year is 2020, and the world is facing a pandemic. I, like many others, have been working from home, managing two school-aged children, caring for a husband who was COVID19 positive, all while managing house chores. For a period, I was unable to find rest. My attention was all over the place, and I found myself stressed out exhausted.

Sound familiar? Please tell me I am not the only one who has been holding it together while the rest of the world seems to be falling apart.
One night, after everyone was down for sleep, I took a few selfish moments to reflect. I turned the television off, changed my bedroom lighting to a dark purple hue, and allowed the silence to surround me. It had been months since I had a moment like this to myself, and that was the problem. The local and national news outlets were full of doom and gloom. My Facebook and Instagram timelines were full of “R.I.P. messages. Coronavirus, (COVID19), had changed everything we had known to be conventional.
I used to run to the masseuse or the nail salon when I needed some self-care. One hour, every two weeks, did the trick. Now businesses were closed by government mandate, and there was no way for me to have my me time unless I prioritized it. That was the hard part! How was I supposed to get me time with a house full of people, more specifically a house full of men?
Easy! I had to show them that I needed it.

Since there is no appropriate way to ask for me time without sounding selfish to your significant other or your children, you simply must show them. You have heard the adage; you teach people how to treat you. It is that easy.
Now, before you start ignoring the people in your home, you will have to do some preliminaries.
First, determine what ‘me-time’ looks like to you. Defining me-time means knowing how much time you will need and where you plan to use the time you are taking. After you’ve decided how much time you need and where you plan to spend it, mark the date on your calendar. This makes it real.

Second, plan what to do with your time and prepare anything that you might need before you take this time. For me, it’s a candle and lighter, music, water, my journal, and my favorite writing pen. The goal is not to spend any of the time you’ve allotted for me time preparing.

Third, be strategic with how you use your time. If you’re planning to take a walk in a park, but the weather forecast won’t allow you to be great, you need a plan b. You also need to plan and prepare for a plan b and be ready to implement it if necessary.

Fourth, and most importantly, take the time and use it wisely! Coin this time as sacred. Make this time equally as crucial as going to work, going to the gym, or going to a doctor’s visit.

Fifth and finally, repeat 1-4, at least twice a week. There are 1440 minutes in a day. You give your job 40 hours a week. You can certainly afford to take thirty minutes for yourself twice a week, right?

So DO IT!

The house won’t fall apart, and the kids will not die of need. Your significant other will soon understand and learn to appreciate your newer, more peaceful self.

Now, get you some peace.

More later.

Peace, Be Still!

Peace, Be still! A bible reference (Mark 4:39), and a little cliche, right? But how appropriate it is given the current situation we are facing today.

I find myself looking out of the window, after watching a day full of death statistics, searching for the resemblance of normalcy. People passing by, children outside playing in parks, the buzz of busy life in a suburban city of the Greater Houston area all seems to be lost to the pandemic of 2020. Oh, how it has changed our lives. Yet, while I sit here in the comfort of my little piece of privilege, I find myself overwhelmed with anxiety, unable to sleep, trying to manage my weight, my work, my kid’s homework, my house-work, the work of a wife, the various personalities in my home and self-care.

I’m reminded of these 3 little words that my granny would say to herself during her daily devotional. Peace, be still. As I reflect today, I have a different understanding of the phrase. Peace being a noun, albeit intangible, is definitely quite obtainable. For me, it is equivalent to naming your chaos and telling it to sit down somewhere. Imagine that!

In this moment, my chaos is the anxiety of the pandemic we face, COVID-19 (Coronavirus). It is the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring. It is the impact of social distancing, of stay at home orders. It is the fear of living in lack, of not having enough. It is the audacity of people to do things that are contrary to their own self-interest. To these things, I give this command; BE STILL!

While we sit in uncertainty, anxiety, and fear, I encourage you to name your chaos and command it to be still! Do it as often as you can and make peace your primary principle.

More later…

#COVID19#PrincipleofPeace#PeaceBeStill#PracticePeace#GetYouSome#NameYourChaos

Peace is a Priority

A moment of silence to reflect on that and what peace being a priority means. It means giving it more attention than other things, right? To that end, my peace is my responsibility just as your peace is your responsibility; and it should be one of high priority. You see, when I think of peace in terms of being high priority and a responsibility, I’m forced to make decisions to protect it. I’m forced to walk away without a point to prove. I’m forced to being okay with not having to have the last word. I’m forced to let some people, places and go. None of these things are easy yet I believe that holding on to these things would prevent or even prohibit my priority.

Now, before the side-eyes start rolling, know that I am in no way suggesting that I don’t speak my peace, state my claim or stand in my truth. What I am merely saying is that before I do that, I’m learning to consider how my truth manifests in the immediate moments following my action. I’m learning that my words or actions might impact my next few minutes, my work day, my Saturday chill, my Sunday fun-day. If me having the last word in a single moment has the possibility of ruining my next few moments of peace, it simply isn’t worth it to me.

For me, better than having a point to prove, better than making a popular decision, better than having the last word; is having my peace. I’d rather have peace. Wouldn’t you?

More later!

Peace is the Prescription!

Today during my self-reflection time, I could not quiet the voices in my head. Don’t you just hate when that happens? My mind was racing and my peace was losing the race. I had been thinking of the things I needed to do and the list kept getting longer and longer. The thought of doing the things listed on the tablet in my head and the process by which to do them literally winded me. I couldn’t think of where I needed to start or what I needed to do first. All of this was going on inside my head and neither my husband, nor my boys knew that any of this was happening. Please, tell me you can relate?

Needless to say, the day was unproductive; but, it was not a total waste! I realized today that what I needed was quiet time. I needed time to process. I needed time to think about the tasks before me and to determine my path forward. I needed to “clear my mind”, so to speak. So, I sat still long enough to do exactly that. I sat there until the chatter in my head was quiet. Twenty three minutes in, it came me. My peace had returned and it consumed my inside voice much like pain pills consume body aches and pain.

Inhale, exhale, repeat.

Inhale, exhale, repeat.

Sometimes, I get so bothered that I forget to take a moment to just breathe…with intent. To simply take air into my lungs and enjoy the feeling of my chest expanding; is my magic pill of peace today. My body’s capability to take in exactly what I need and to release what I do not need causes me to acknowledge the power inside of me. Just as I can control my breath, I can also control what I allow to disrupt my peace. (Read that again.) There is so much power in knowing that.

So, I decided to self-medicate and peace was my prescription. I recommend taking moments like these twice a day or as often as needed. Now, get you some peace!

More later…

War and Peace

Have you ever taken time to determine what gives you peace? I have and I do so frequently!

Being a gainfully employed, moderately educated, happily married, mother of 2 very intelligent little people makes me pleased. Being a financial member of the absolute best sorority in the universe keeps me busy. Being a student of social action and politically engaged keeps my fire lit for humanity. Being a daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt, god-parent and best-friend keeps me entertained and in constant prayer but none of these things give me peace!

I understand that my peace was never a gift from external elements but rather an instrument from within! Just as practitioners have study their craft, I have to study the peace inside of me. I need to know when it’s off key or out of tune. I have to determine when and how the instrument of peace is played.

What gives me peace is the absence of war or fighting! Every single day that we live our bodies are at war. Some of us are fighting physical illness. Others are fighting with friends or family. Some are fighting for constitutional rights and respect while others are fighting to quiet their inside voices, or mental illness. We fight for attention. We fight for recognition. We fight for acceptance. We fight over what is fair and equitable. We fight over morals. We fight over religion. We fight over what to eat or how to eat. Heck, we even fight over drums and flats. We have become so accustomed to fighting that we no longer acknowledge it as such. It’s become a large part of who we are. We’ve been so conditioned to focus on the fight that we’ve left very little opportunity for peace!

It was not until I realized that I was literally fighting in every area of my life that I began to rethink my priorities. I began to pay attention to me; to accept me; to acknowledge me. I also had to relinquish the desire to acquire these things from others. It was only then that I was able to determine that what gave me peace was me.

I encourage you today to identify those things with which you are fighting. I encourage you to ask yourself where you are in the fight. And, finally, I encourage you to determine if the things you’re fighting are distracting you from your peace.

Now, go get some peace!

More later!

Peace Out to Regrets

Tonight, my husband and I were chatting and somehow the discussion led us to talking about regrets. I was saying that people missed so much in their lives because of how we hold on to the things that we wished were different. I went on to say regrets are the images in the rear-view mirrors of our mind. They seem closer than they really are. They force us to look back; although, the road ahead is far more promising. I thought about how I unconsciously used regrets to hold me back in areas of my life and called it caution. I thought about how regrets have made me question my current actions. I thought about how regrets caused me to turn to fear and distrustfulness. Does any of this sound familiar?

What if I told you that regrets are an illusion? What if they were intended to distract you? What if I told you that your regrets were standing in the way of your peace? Would you believe me? When I think about it further, I realized that every single decision I’ve made was purposed to get me to where I am. I realize that the mistakes that I made were purposeful. They were supposed to grow me! And, regrettably, I’ve nurtured my mistakes so much so that I’ve determined an alternate ending for them, thereby making them the images I see in my proverbial rear-view mirror.

I‘ve had to come to terms with my reality and face a hard truth. There are no alternate endings. In the purest, simplest words I know (and for a lack of a better summation), it is what is it! I’m learning to relinquish my regrets and to redirect my attention toward nurturing the lessons that I‘ve learned from my mistakes! Some were harder than I would have liked and some not so much. 

Here’s what I know. I can’t have peace and have regrets. One has to go. Which one are you choosing? Care to guess which one  I chose? Grow with me! 

#PeaceOutToRegrets

Now, get you some peace!

More later!

The Voice of Peace

I have been happily married for nearly twenty-one years. My husband and I started dating in 1995, shortly after I graduated from high school. We got married in 1999 and started our family a short time after. One would have thought that being in the house for nearly two months would have driven us mad. Interestingly, that’s not the case for us. I’ve enjoyed this time reconnecting, reflecting, reassuring, and reaffirming our marital bliss. So you might imagine that when I hear the divorce rate is expected to increase due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, it saddens me. As a child, and several years after, my granny would say to me, ‘Child, if teeth and tongue fall out, men and women will too.’ She would tell me that whenever I called her to complain about something my husband had done to upset me. She would never allow me to finish my complaint, but; she always made me feel better. I did not understand her “teeth and tongue” analogy until my mid-thirties. During that time, life had thrown me lemons in the form of a hormonal imbalance. Granny’s point was when (and not if), you accidentally bite your tongue, you can’t just evict your teeth. And, after you’ve bitten your tongue, your teeth must allow your tongue an opportunity to heal. The same is true in any relationship. I wish I would have learned this lesson earlier in life. So, here’s the thing. The point of my granny’s teeth and tongue analogy was that conflict is a natural part of life. And unfortunately, some conflicts are unavoidable. Conflict, regardless of how it comes, should not disrupt my peace. It may cause me to take some time for intense self-reflection and to evaluate the situation. But, peace is ever-present with me, encouraging me to keep calm. Think about it. The voice in your head that tells you to calm down, sit down, or not to respond, that’s PEACE! Acknowledge that voice and take his/her advice. We need to affirm within ourselves that peace is not the opposite of conflict. The opposite of conflict is to compromise. And although a compromise is laced with things I strongly dislike,(ex: pleasantries, perspectives, perception), it does require external stimuli and peace does not. Indeed, my husband and I do not always agree. We may even raise our voices at times with passionate expression. But, we’ve learned to live like teeth and tongue. As you settle into your day, I hope you consider better acquainting yourself with the always present voice directing your right decisions. Try to make that voice the loudest one you hear! Now, get you some peace! More later…

Affirm Your Peace

For the last three days, I’ve been a bit under the weather. I have also been very irritated for what seems to be no reason at all. Yesterday, I could barely stay awake. During a small portion of the day, I took some time to process my feelings. I didn’t take or make many calls. I didn’t read many emails. I sat in my bed, while my husband and son watched Star Wars movies. I went through a litany of questions, in my mind, that only I could answer. I tried to answer each question before I moved on. Some of them had no logical answer. I must have done this exercise for an hour or so. What I realized during my non-verbal question/answer series was that I had allowed something inside of me to disrupt my peace. I had not been out of my home, out of my bedroom nor out of my bed. I had very little interaction with my husband or my children. Whatever I was feeling was mine alone to work through. While I was working through my funky mood, a few things resonated in my spirit. First, I had to determine if what I was feeling was justified. Second, I had to sort through words to properly name what I was feeling. Finally, I had to replace those words that identified what I was feeling with new ones. I did this with positive affirmations, a series of intentional I AM statements. I reminded myself of the following: I am in good health. I am surrounded by love. I am privileged to have all that I needed. I am strong. I am confident I am smart.

I am beautiful.

I am in peace.

After making several of these affirming statements, I started feeling better. I even fell asleep telling myself wonderful things about myself. I encourage you to do this tonight. It works! I’m happy to report that I woke this morning feeling much better. I even started my day affirming my peace and well-being. Whenever I start my day like this, I have a more productive and positive mood. It also makes a huge difference when I interact with others. Have you told yourself how awesome you are lately? If not, do it! Remember some days are better than others so affirm your peace daily.

Now, get you some peace!

More later…

Time for Peace

I dedicate this post to my favorite girl, my grandmother, Magnolia Merritt. She made her return to Spirit on December 11, 2019, but she rests within my heart always.

I made it through Mother’s Day 2020, the first one without my grandmother. It was emotional and yet tranquil for me. I wanted nothing more than to sit with myself to think. At one point in the day, I found myself hiding from my tears in the shower. I allowed the water to cover my face. Without even a whisper, my soul moaned.

Have you ever needed to cry without questions from others as to why you were crying?

I didn’t want to explain it. I wanted to release it. I needed the quiet. I needed the shower water.

I am hugely aware of my granny’s spirit surrounding me, but I miss her physical presence. It’s been seven holidays, including her birthday, without her.

Finding peace when dealing with grief or mourning a loss is hard. Regardless of what kind of pain you are faced with, however, even during grieving, peace is attainable. Here’s the key. While you’re going through it, reflect on the lesson. There is always something to be learned.

After my shower, I did my usual ritual. I lit my favorite scented candle (mahogany coconut). I’m an avid believer in aromatherapy. (If you haven’t tried it, you should.) I turned on my favorite soundscape (Ever Free Never Bound by Babaji Bob Kindler/ Jai Ma Music). It’s a calming joyful tune. I sat wrapped in my favorite blanket with a scenic view from my game room window. I closed my eyes and thought about what I was supposed to learn at that moment. What I came up with initially was dying is a part of life. It is an end to suffering and all the things we tell ourselves to get by. When I pushed passed those things, I came to the lesson.

The lesson was to pursue those things I wanted while I still had time and life to do so. Often in life, we procrastinate and take time for granted. We wait until tomorrow to start our work out, change our eating habits, start looking for a new career, or start a business. Time is the absolute best gift that one could have and/or give. Yet we squander it waiting for the right moment. Grandma’s passing taught me that now is the time!

It’s time to start pursuing dreams.

It’s time to live the life you want.

It’s time to be happy.

It’s time to stop worrying about tomorrow.

It’s time to start doing things spontaneously.

It’s time to forgive yourself for your mistakes.

It’s time to change your narrative.

It’s time to let go of grudges.

It’s time to face your fears.

It’s time to get you some peace!

I have so many things that I want to do. I am sure you do as well. STOP waiting. If you are suffering a loss, consider the lesson in that loss. Ask yourself, what am I supposed to learn in this. Before you know it, you’ll be so distracted by ambition that the person, place, or thing that you’re grieving will be your inspiration. Accomplishing personal goals puts your mind at ease.

Now, get you some peace!

More Later.

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