I started writing this article on New Year’s Day 2016 at the beach, wearing my bathers. I was smack bang in the height of Western Australian summer. Months later, I am now finishing it in the wintery mountains of Austria. These two settings could not be more opposite – sandy beach versus snowy mountains – but both, for me, have something in common. They have both made me stop.
This was the sunset I looked at, on New Years Day 2016. I was staring at this incredible sunset when I closed my eyes and silently told myself – I’m at peace. Ok, if I’m honest, the first thing I thought was ‘Why did I move to England again?’ – ha! – but peace was my second thought.
This view is one I grew up with. It is of Mandurah, Western Australia, where I spent the majority of my childhood holidays. As a Perth girl, my idea of fun was simple – waves, card games, family, and hot, hot sun. Tanning was my chosen leisure time. It’s funny that although I was so preoccupied with the preoccupations of adolescence, here in this place, I was at peace.
Peace can be hard to explain, because it’s so personal and subjective. It’s an inner quality that can technically be had in any external environment, however, the beauties of our surroundings can also provoke a feeling of peace within us. It is a feeling, an emotion, a state of being, a mantra, a value. For many of us, it’s a dream for our family, our country.
As someone that more often than not chooses a busy bee life over a calm one, peace can be a tough thing to achieve. To be in a space where you’re not always thinking about the next thing you’re going to do or achieve. Just to be okay with being. But unfortunately, the distractions of life can keep us from getting to this space.
As John Lennon said so wisely…
And I would add – peace is what escapes you when are too ‘busy’ to let yourself have it.
My, and most probably your, peace journey is a continuing one. I will hopefully continue to learn more and more lessons along the way, but here’s some I’ve learned so far:
Lesson 1: Rest
Peace is often found in rest. For us busy women, true rest can be a difficult place to be. Unsettling, even. How can we spare a week of holidays to rest and ‘do nothing’? I always get excited about holidays coming up for all of these non-day job things I can finally do – write a new blog (yep…), book upcoming holidays (oh yes – the irony), catch up on getting back to people and get that paperwork done. I very rarely actually factor in proper ‘rest time’ on holidays. So as a result, my body shuts down to achieve rest time, and I end up getting disappointed with myself for not achieving my self-assigned holiday tasks. This is a bad, unhelpful habit I’m trying to change – because if you can’t even rest on holidays, how are you ever going find even a moment of peace?
Lesson 2: Savouring the moment
Peace can come in moments, so enjoy them. Yes, we can plan our restful times, but sometimes we can be captured by peaceful moments. On a Saturday morning walk, when we close our eyes and listen to our favourite song, when we are prompted to think about just how lucky we may be. Drink in these moments. Don’t think about where you will get your next coffee, which email you’ll send next, when your yoga class starts. Just be. Enjoy the sunset.
Lesson 3: Self-Acceptance
Peace is found in self-acceptance. ‘Inner-peace’, as they say. This is a biggie, ladies. We will struggle to experience rest and peace if we have pockets of self-hate on the inside. These holes will bleed out most pieces of peace that try to seep in. It’s a life-long journey for most of us, but loving yourself and accepting yourself as you are is key to you having peace. A peaceful and accepting heart is a happy one.
Stopping and resting – key ingredients for peace – should be important to us, not only for ourselves but also for those around us. I encourage you to take time out of your routine this week to rest, be where you are and reflect on the positives in your life.
Über love ladies,