One of the most frequent desires I hear expressed is to feel more peaceful, to be more at peace within themselves. The key question they have is ‘how do I get there?’
Before we can ever ‘get to our destination’ we need to know where we are in the moment and what this destination of peace within looks like – or how will we ever know where we are going? When I ask people what being at peace with themselves looks like, they often give me a very small picture. It’s not that this picture isn’t good or valid, it’s often just not clear or big enough to be a motivation for them to make the sustained necessary changes and healing to experience this peace within.
For me, peace within feels like a calm lake on a full moon, sitting around a campfire, telling great stories and just being in oneness with my environment and the people around me, in oneness with the flow and rhythm of life. What inner peace looks like for me is the yearnings of my heart being realized in whatever divine order and graceful balance supports the greater good. This is very tough for me as I struggle with patience and trust at times to know that the tides will turn. They have to … it’s the divine order and balance of things.
A pathway to inner peace requires the task of learning to love oneself. Indeed, love is the bridge to peace. This love cannot be superficial or conditional in the ways we have often learned. For me, this kind of self love is really about nurturing a compassionate love towards all of who I am. I have ego, shadow, heart. I am spirit, soul, light and body (because I’m totally incarnated as human).
The Dalai Lama (2000) said: For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others, first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion, and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare…. Caring for others requires caring for oneself.
This past spring, my colleague Karen and I facilitated a Peace Circle series focusing on the Grace that awakens true self love. We found our journey taking us deep within to the place where the wound of self compassion originated. I say it this way because when we are unable to express self compassion as children, we learn the habits of suffering and turn our self compassion into anger or shame. We feel violated somewhere deep in our soul by the neglects we experienced as a child or we feel the unworthiness as a result of the love that couldn’t be shared or was withheld. And in the culture we may have been shaped by, even the Divine Presence and Power that we were indoctrinated with was exclusive and horrendously narrow, at least for me anyway.
In the gift of this Circle, of stories shared and with ceremony to bless us, I found a new spaciousness within. A spaciousness where love and compassion could finally be anchored in the power of the Divine Feminine balanced with the power of the Divine Masculine. It is the creative magic and mystery of sharing story and the true self blessed within the guidelines and confidences of Circle that something new and amazing can be birthed and transformed. Out of this experience, an increasing spacious solidness of myself nurtured by a true state of self compassion has come to life. For that, I am grateful to the ancient wisdom and practice of Peace Circle and also to the beautiful participants who joined us for the Opening to Grace that personally touched each of us.
As you step into September and focus on the last quarter of this year, what goals of self development and life purpose do you need to give energy, time and focus to more intentionally? What commitment to loving yourself, to all of who you are, are you ready to invest in this fall with real action and supported outcomes?
To take the next step in your path to inner peace, begin to love yourself. Join any one of my fall offerings or working with me individually and invest in your journey to inner peace. I delight in this dream of peace in our world … a dream that starts with each of us!