When I was asked to write a blog about Peace, I just had to laugh at the irony. Peace is not a word easily associated with me. I have a chaotic noisy mind with a thousand thoughts running through it at any one time. I’ve spent my adult life raising four children, running a household, doing three degrees, working several jobs and running two businesses simultaneously. There was never much time for peace, and somewhere along the way I got out of the habit, like so many of us. Reflecting on the wellbeing journey that brought me to Leeds Sanctuary and my role as Wellbeing Practitioner, I realised that the search for peace has actually been a very significant aspect of my journey.
It is so easy to get caught up in the bustle of daily life. We fill our time with work, social activities, family, sport, more work. Even our “relaxation” is often television, mobile phone, computer, podcasts, keeping our minds active and full of noise. I live in a busy city where there’s always things going on and always noise. People, traffic, building work, planes and on a beautiful day like today, the constant hum of lawnmowers and garden power tools. This noise takes its toll on us without us even realising it. The low level of stress generated from constantly being “switched on” is barely registered, but it’s always there, drowning out the sound of our thoughts and wearing us down.
So what does finding peace mean to me? Quietness. Stillness. Sitting with my own thoughts. Some people meditate. Some practice mindfulness. The result is the same. The ability to hear our own thoughts. To reflect and to understand ourselves better. These moments give us the ability to live in the present. It’s so easy to live in the past; remembering times that seemed better through the rose tinted lens of nostalgia or in the future, waiting for the next holiday, for the kids to get a bit older, for the retirement, for the happiness to come. For myself, this search for peace has made me realise that happiness is mine to choose, that it is available in my own world today if I acknowledge the beauty of where I am right now.
And those moments when I make the effort to sit and not “do”, those moments when I manage to tune out the chatter and the clutter is also when I have the opportunity to hear a still, small voice…
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.John 14:27 NIV