Practice Peace

I’m never quite sure what to do with the emotion that rises after these violent attacks on innocent people. I don’t know how to help or how to grieve or how to return to normal life without feeling guilty for still having a normal life.

Another senseless act of violence. Another set of emotions. Another set of fear. Another set of grief for those affected.

Another reminder to love.

To love the people that are easy to love and also those who aren’t.

And most importantly, a reminder to love the person who’s the hardest to love.

You.

There is very little I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening in the world, but what about the violent attacks that are happening close to home—the violent attacks that are happening in your own body, expressed through your own thoughts and your own behaviors? I’d like to think that I’m not violent toward myself, but when I look closely at the dialogue I choose or the way I react to behaviors that don’t suit me, sometimes it can look like a war-zone. I’m not sure that I can go around wishing for world peace, when there isn’t peace right here, within myself.

There isn’t much I can do to prevent violent attacks on innocent people, but there is a lot I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening within myself.

To allow diversity. Different emotions. Different thoughts. Different moods. Different behaviors. And to accept each one as unique and special and exquisitely beautiful as it builds a colorful array of variation and rich culture within myself.

To accept. The light, the dark, the deep, the shallow. To accept these varying aspects of myself, and recognize that even the things that seem imperfect lend themselves to cast perfect shadows in order to allow the light parts to shine even brighter.

To release. Release anger, release fear, release hurt, release resentment. And not just to release it, but to transform it into something that will enrich my life. To learn from these things; to alchemize my emotions into something beautiful: from sorrow to compassion; anger to activism; envy to inspiration; and fear to love.

To love. Not just to love the parts that are easy, but to love the parts that aren’t easy. The parts that scare me, trouble me, annoy, or irritate me. There is something there, beneath them, and the only way to find the gift is to love through the shadow that engulfs it.

To learn. And if, despite my best efforts, an attack still occurs, I’ll learn from it. How did it happen? What led to it? Where was I not paying attention? When did I stop listening? How can I get in front of the assault; in front of the build up; in front of the mindless cruelty toward myself?

Practice peace. Peace isn’t a onetime deal. Self-love isn’t graduation. Acceptance doesn’t show up and then stay without being entertained. It’s ongoing. It’s practice. It’s patience. It’s trying again and again and again.

World peace starts with inner peace.

Will you try?

Maggie-Lochtenberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Maggie Lochtenberg

Intuition: What it is, What it isn’t, and How to tune in

Intuition is defined as ‘the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning’. So, in other words, it’s a hunch, inkling, or an inexplicable feeling to do something that may or may not make sense to you or anyone else. Some people seem to be born with a natural ability to tune in, trust, and act on their own inner wisdom.

Not me.

I had to earn my understanding of intuition through trial and error—a lot of trial and error. What I mean is, that for a long time, I made decisions based on what I thought was best, without tuning into how I felt about things. Or, I’d turn to other people or outside influences to make a decision for me. What resulted was a lot of road blocks and lessons to be learned.

It took me a long time to realize that all I really needed to do was tune into how I felt, trust the feeling, and then have the courage to follow through with whatever was coming up. If you’re anything like me, that’s easier said than done. I spent a long time in limbo about what was what… (Is that my gut telling me to follow my dream, or to eat a sandwich??)…but I promise you, over time, you’ll hone in on the messages of your soul as they come through your heart and your body. I still consider myself a rookie when it comes to trusting my intuition, but here are a few things I’ve learned so far.

What intuition is:

Intuition is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets, and the stronger it gets, the more you’ll trust that it will hold you up.

Intuition doesn’t often speak to you directly through your thoughts. It’s more of a feeling that vibrates your bones, shakes up your heart, signals your body, or sends butterflies to your belly. And because of its elusive form of communication, you’ve got to learn to listen to your bones, your heart, your body and your belly if you’re going to pick up on the messages it’s trying to convey.

Intuition is ALWAYS in line with what’s best for you—even if you don’t know what that is yet—when you’re ready to know, you will. In the meantime, have faith.

Intuition has always been, and always will be part of you—no matter what. Even if you’ve never listened, or even considered it before, it’s there, waiting patiently, for you to tune in.

Intuition speaks to you in the present moment. If you’re having trouble listening, get present, no matter how uncomfortable the present moment might be. Moving through discomfort takes you right into the heart of intuition and that’s where you’ll find clarity and peace.

Intuition makes you feel loved, spacious, grateful, supported and connected with something much bigger than you. It is something you can lean on, fall into, or surrender to completely. A little leap of faith is all that’s required. Offer your trust, and you’ll be caught—every time.

Now, for what it isn’t:

It will never make you feel bad—ever.

It will never make you feel uncomfortable—unless the discomfort is of the variety that comes from developing growth and strength, such as overcoming fear or obstacles that are meant to be conquered for your own divine purposes.

It will never, ever leave you. If you are having trouble tuning in, or finding direction—ask. Then listen, and then repeat as often as necessary until you get the message that you seek. (But be prepared, it might not be what you expected).

It will never put you down. If you feel like you’re receiving guidance, but it’s coming through your thoughts with a negative or degrading tone, then that’s not intuition, that’s inner critic. In order to know the difference, notice how the message makes you feel. If you feel closed, contracted, or heavy, then show your inner critic the door and open up space for Grace.

It will never make you feel stuck. If you feel stuck, take a look at your thoughts—are they forming around the past or the future? Get present, and then feel from that space.

Now, a bit about how to tune in:

As I had mentioned, one of the keys to listening is to bring your awareness to the present moment, and since the mind loves to hang out anywhere but here, bring your awareness to your body.

Learning to listen to your body doesn’t have to be complicated—just start with something simple, like feeling your breath, hearing your pulse, or noticing your belly rise and fall. And because your inner wise self is just dying to talk to you, if you give it even one bit of attention, it will open up and embrace you like a long, lost friend.

Stick with the present moment long enough to feel any agitation begin to dissolve. No matter how frustrated, irritated, lost, angry or emotional you are, there is peace at the center. Stay in the present moment, and I promise you, those barriers to peace will dissolve, and you’ll find yourself free, open, and ready to hear what your heart has to say.

This post originally appeared on my first blog, www.emilyparkinsonperry.com on March 11, 2015.