Peace in Quieting The Voices In My Head

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I have read plenty of books that discuss the concept of “the voice in your head.” It speaks to the idea that we narrate our lives….and then subsequently torture ourselves, convinced that the voice is truthful.

“Oh, look at that vase!”

“Oh, I hate that song!”

“Oh, this sweater is just lovely!”

“Why is she wearing that?”

We notice things and say them quietly to ourselves. This is human nature. But, there is another, less kind, judgemental, sometimes self-deprecating voice I hear from time to time. That voice used to BOOM in my head, day in and day out, without fail. It wasn’t a great way to live.

Every now and again, the voice returns. I hear myself saying things like, “You’re not a good enough mom,” or “You could really stand to be a better wife,” or “Get off your butt! Go do that puzzle with the kids for the 3rd time!”

Then I seek peace.

I find peace in the daily recognition that “the voice” is not real. It’s a pile of thoughts. Some of them are true, others are not.

I think Michael Singer put it best in his book, The Untethered Soul. He writes,

“In fact, your thoughts have far less impact on this world than you would like to think. If you’re willing to be objective and watch all your thoughts, you will see that the vast majority of them have no relevance. They have no effect on anything or anybody, except you. They are simply making you feel better or worse about what it going on now, what has gone on in the past, or what might go on in the future. If you spend your time hoping that it doesn’t rain tomorrow, you are wasting your time. Your thoughts don’t change the rain. You will some day come to see that there is no use for that incessant internal chatter, and there is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out. Eventually you will see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems (p 10).”

There is so much WOW in this passage.

This time of year, I need to work a little harder to quiet the chatter in my mind. That voice shouting at me to “DO MORE” and “GET IT RIGHT” needs a major chill pill.

We all want an awesome holiday. But you know what, it’s going to be awesome, no matter what. That is what Christmas is all about. It’s not about creating something perfect. It’s about marveling at all that we already are.

This week, I found peace in quieting my mind.

What brought you peace? Share the peace!

Peace in Reading with LM2

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This afternoon we made time for reading. This sounds like a simpler task than it is. There are so many things that pop up in each day that we usually save reading for the end of the day, when everyone is too tired to move, when snuggling in and hunkering down comes more naturally.

Thanks to our school’s EPIC account, this afternoon had exciting plans for us. LM2 and I sat in the living room for 45 minutes, cruising through books, topics, characters, science, and more.

It was fantastic.

LM2 and I never get this quiet time together, just the two of us. There are always other kids around. There are always competing interests in our house. There are always a zillion and one fun activities to distract us from mid-day reading, too.

But wintertime has its upside.

It’s cold and windy out today, so reading inside with a blanket and a cup of tea makes perfect sense. As well as “Huh-To-To,” what the kids used to call hot cocoa.

The best part about reading with my little man is what comes afterward. I love asking him questions and watching to learn how his mind thinks. I’m so lucky that he lets me in. I’m so lucky that he gives me insight into his world.

Taking time to focus on LM2 brings me such peace. Sharing something as simple as reading together is the most tranquil thing I can imagine. While we all read at night before bedtime, this extra bit was extra special.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Releasing the Past

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This week I found myself snuggled up reading in what my kids call “living room number 2.” I was reading The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho and came across a passage that felt like a real show stopper. He writes,

“…once an animal trainer had told him how he was able to keep his elephants under control. The animals, as infants, were bound by chains to a log. They would try to escape, but could not. They tried throughout their entire infancy, but the log was stronger than they were.

So they became accustomed to captivity. And when they were finally huge and strong, all the trainer had to do was place the chain around one of their legs and anchor it anywhere– even to a twig– and they would not attempt to escape. They were prisoners of their past (p 172).”

This was just insane to read. Of course, Coelho offers this imagery as a metaphor for human beings. But more on that in a moment.

Firstly, I did not know this about elephants. Secondly, adaptation to or acceptance of captivity seemed just crazy. I read a little more about elephants living in captivity and learned that (1) nearly 1/3 of African elephants live their entire lives in captivity and (2) they remain relatively undomesticated, despite their captivity.

I wasn’t planning to learn about elephants. I was reading to learn about humanity and healing and forgiving the past. But this made me think: if something as grant and wild and wonderful as an elephant can accept a non-reality like captivity, just think what human beings might do.

But humans aren’t elephants. We can recognize patterns and realities and make change.

Today, I meditated on releasing the past. On letting go. On forgiving and forgetting things that have upset me, or those I have upset. I can release myself from whatever mental “captivity” I’ve embraced over the years.

Letting go brings me peace.

You know what else might bring me peace? Saving an elephant. I’m looking into it.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in a Quiet Breakfast

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It’s not often that my kitchen is quiet. But, this week, I finished a few errands and found myself in solitude on a weekday at 10 a.m. There are always so many things I can accomplish with an hour to myself.

On this grey little winter day, I elected to bag my responsibilities to make a perfect breakfast. Here’s what I did:

This assortment sounds preposterously idiotic. But, it was a craving I could satisfy with a little time and even less effort. And I ate it alone while I played Christmas Carols on Pandora. It was absurdly peaceful and made me grateful.

It’s so easy to forget how simple peace is. It comes in too many forms, and it’s all there for the taking. Today, I found mine and ate it up.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!