Cultivating Peace of Mind
This morning was so delectable. I didn't have any clients scheduled so I made myself a delicious breakfast, sipped my coffee, and stared at the bushes outside my back porch as they swayed in the wind. Maybe that sounds boring to some, but it was exhilarating for me. The ability to have stillness and peace of mind was not a thing in my life 5 years ago. See, my life was about going, doing, and achieving and I didn't think there was anything else. I thought that this was what life was. I drove myself to accomplish more and more, with the underlying hope that it would make me happy.
I also had an incessant monologue going on in my head that went over everyone and everything that was going on in my life. I remember the day that I realized that there was a voice in my head. I was on an 8 mile run and I had flipped over my cassette tape (I know I'm dating myself) for what was going to be the third time on this run and I stopped in my tracks. I couldn't figure out why my legs just stopped running so I started scanning my body to see if there was something wrong, if I had an injury, and what I discovered was that my mind was quiet, for the first time that I was aware of.
See, when I would go on a run I would think through all the areas of my life. The length of the run dictated how detailed I needed to go into each area to dissect things like: what was I going to say the next time something happened with this person, creating scenarios in response to what I said or did, or what other people said or did, analyzing why other people did what they did, how I could have done something differently, the to do list of things I needed to accomplish, worrying, planning, and on and on. Up until that moment I am not even sure I was aware there was a voice in my head. I used running as my way to cope with all this thinking.
After that experience I just went about as though I hadn't discovered this voice. It wasn't until ten or twelve years later that it happened again. I was on a week long seminar. It was toward the end of a long, hot day of doing physical activities that were designed to address and overcome fears. I was tired both physically and mentally. I laid down in the grass and looked at the clear blue sky and it was quiet and it felt exhilarating. I remember thinking what is this incredible feeling and what my mind said back was, "Peace." This is what peace of mind is, the ability to shut off the narrative and be present.
It took me another almost eight years to learn how to cultivate peace of mind. I was a chronic over-thinker, over-planner, over-worrier, over-stresser (that might not be a word?), and was often overwhelmed by life in general. Over-thinking in this way was exhausting. I wasn't a wimp, I was just so driven to accomplish, no matter the cost, that I would work my way into a tizzy trying to make it all happen, and happen now!
The first step in learning to cultivate peace of mind is to recognize that you have a voice in your head and hear what it is saying. What is your voice telling you? Finding this out is personal and purpose filled. This is a part of the journey I go on with clients. I help them discover that voice, discover what it is telling them, and intentionally change the narrative to good feeling thoughts so that they can cultivate peace of mind.
Are you needing to rewrite your script? I'm here, when you're ready.
Erin "reveling in stillness" Mac