Achieving inner peace, exactly what does that mean? Are you at war with yourself? Are you searching for inner peace or have you achieved complete inner peace within yourself already?
These are the questions I want to dig deeper into and try to explore in this post.
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What is Inner Peace?
First, let’s look at some basic explanations of what is meant by “inner peace”.
Many people simply don’t fully understand the meaning of inner peace. Having inner peace does not mean that you are in a state of passivity or that your life is dull and boring. It’s actually just eliminating stressors as much as possible. Doesn’t that sound blissful?
Another explanation of Inner Peace
Here is a quote from another website that explains inner peace. Perhaps this explains it much better.
Inner peace means among other things that there is no overthinking and too much analyzing of every situation. It means no running from one thought to another, constantly ruminating about some past incident, no constant dwelling on hurts and what people said or did. It means no waste of time, energy and attention on unimportant and meaningless thoughts.https://www.successconsciousness.com/what-is-inner-peace.html
Doesn’t that sound better than being stressed? Wouldn’t you prefer this calmness rather than your brain constantly filled with unnecessary “chatter”? I know that I would for sure!
Muffling the Brain Chatter!
How do you muffle the brain chatter? Do you know what I mean by the brain chatter? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who has constant chatter in my head?
Here I go again letting out all my little secrets! Those of you reading my blogs are going to soon decide that I’m honestly one kooky lady! Maybe I am, but I really don’t think I’m the only one with all these thoughts and crazy feelings.
Let’s be honest here. I’ll be honest with y’all and y’all be honest with yourselves. ok? ok, here we go.
I have a continuous dialogue going through my head every minute of every day. The chatter can be about almost anything and jumps from one thing to the next. It’s often scenarios playing out in my brain of “what-ifs” and how I’d react if those “what-ifs” were to happen. That is part of my anxiety. The chatter really ramps up at night when I’m trying to fall asleep.
This brain chatter is very taxing and mentally exhausting! However, it doesn’t seem to have an “on/off switch” and it doesn’t listen when I tell it to shut up!!
My brain is tired but will not stop! Which is why I’m striving so diligently to achieve inner peace!
One of my methods to calm the chatter
Have you ever heard of intentional dreaming? Some may also refer to it as purposeful dreaming. David Kirkpatrick did an interview about intentional dreaming in which he explained a much more detailed use for intentional dreaming. He talked about using intentional dreaming in a way to manifest things in our life.
However, from an early age, I learned to use intentional dreaming as a way to try and quiet my brain chatter and focus on something calming so that I could fall asleep.
From that same interview, David Kirkpatrick stated the following:
Synchronicity is perhaps Carl Jung’s most profound and complex theory. It claims that the inner world of the psyche will affect your exterior world. If there is peace within, you will ultimately find peace around you. If you have internal trauma within you, it will manifest in the exterior world as chaoshttps://medium.com/better-humans/how-to-master-intentional-dreaming-for-a-satisfying-life-af96b99179b7
Carl Jung said that the internal anguish within will affect the external reality. This is the phenomenon of synchronicity.
When did I lose my inner peace
Did I lose my peace within? Or had I ever achieved inner peace at all? I remember feeling so happy, carefree and peaceful during my young adulthood.
What happened? Why do I now feel as if I’m constantly at war with myself? I feel such an inner turmoil, always worried and anxious. I desire that peaceful easy feeling again.
Why do I worry?
Can I pinpoint a time or event when I started to feel anxious and worried? I couldn’t for a long time, but I suppose that’s because I never thought about it specifically.
In fact, for a long time, I didn’t realize that I was suffering from anxiety or just how much I was worrying over small things in life.
My Daddy was a “worrier” all of his life. He lived through the Great Depression during his childhood so he always worried over not having enough to provide for his family. “Penny-pincher” does not even begin to describe him!
He also lost his dad suddenly to a heart attack at a fairly young age. His Dad was only 53 when he passed away with no warnings of a previous heart condition. This intensified my Daddy’s anxiety and worry about leaving his wife and kids not being provided for adequately. This also caused Daddy to constantly worry about losing people that he loved.
When I realized I had become a worrier
2007 my only niece spent the entire year in the hospital fighting Leukemia. I suffered a mild heart attack. My brother and his wife were at their daughter’s hospital bedside. My Daddy was dealing with more health issues than his normal.
Working as a nurse, and being on-call 24-7 was taking a toll on me, physically and mentally. Then add in the extra emotional taxation of concern for my niece and her parents, as well as caring for my Daddy, I was exhausted.
Being that my son was taking online college courses that semester, he would sit with my Daddy during the day while I worked, then I’d stay with Daddy at night.
During one of those nights, while Daddy couldn’t sleep and we were having a long heart-to-heart talk, he said: “I wish I could just not worry about things like you”. I can’t remember exactly how I responded to him that night, but I do know that was the moment I realized that I had become a worrier more so than I had known or even noticed.
What stole my joy and peace?
Reality. In short, reality stole my joy and took away my inner peace! Had I been “out of touch” with reality? No. Was I naive until middle adulthood? Not at all.
Death was not unknown to me. I knew about death and completely understood it. In fact, I was very familiar with the death of loved ones. Having lost a favorite aunt when I was 9 years old and my Granny when I was 14. I had childhood friends that lost their parents while we were in elementary and high school. I knew all about death.
However, for some reason, I was comfortable with thinking of my parents as immortal. Not because I was naive, just simply because I never gave much thought to a future without my parents.
The day reality struck
February 23rd, 1995 my world as I knew it turned upside down. Being a nurse that was working on the oncology floor at a local hospital, it was difficult news when my Momma was diagnosed with colon cancer.
But I remained positive as she went through surgery and started treatments. The entire family stayed positive as did she. We just didn’t know that it would only take about 10 short months for that cancer to spread to the bone, then brain and we’d lose her shortly after we celebrated our last Christmas with her.
Momma only dated one boy growing up, she only loved one man all her life. My parents were truly soul-mates. My Momma was my best friend, we spent time together daily, especially after I had twins and she helped me so much with my kids.
The wife, soul mate, mother, and grandmother was gone. Turns out that my hero and best friend was a mere mortal after all. Now I had no choice but to acknowledge that fact and think about it. My parents’ immortality just became a reality that I was being forced to think about daily!
Because while Momma’s immortality just became reality, then I had to accept and think about the possibility of one day losing my Daddy too. That thought just seemed unbearable to me.
Learning to cope without Momma
Adapting to my new reality was very difficult. I’ll admit I was spoiled rotten even into young adulthood. I was a Daddy’s Girl, but Momma was my best friend and confidant.
Daddy was my rock; the strongest man I knew with my brother running a close second in my opinion. I’d only seen my Daddy shed a tear one other time in my life.
He was always strong and held it together for his family but now I saw him brought to his knees with grief and pain. I witnessed him crying uncontrollably and at a loss of how to move forward. My parents were two halves of a whole. Now he no longer felt complete.
My inner peace was slipping away
With Momma gone, Daddy was now living alone for the first time in his life after almost 45 years of marriage. I found myself concentrating on trying to help him cope.
Concentrating on Daddy, and on my kids was actually helping me. For once in my life, I wasn’t being selfish. I wasn’t thinking only of how I was hurting or how I would cope without momma. I was worried about Daddy being alone. I was concerned about my children learning to live without their Granny.
Grieving? Yes, I was grieving and hurting deeply. But I wasn’t thinking as much about my own pain as I was about my children’s pain and my Daddy’s. We went to my Daddy’s a few times each week. I cleaned his house, did his grocery shopping, made sure he was eating and helped him to make sure he was sending payments for his bills. All the things Momma had always taken care of around the house.
The new normal was never normal
We all found a new kind of normal, but it was only functional at best, it was never really normal. Going to Grandaddy’s never felt right anymore. The kids would go running through the back screen door and get all the way into the kitchen before stopping abruptly with the realization that Granny would never be there waiting for them again.
Within about two years after losing Momma, finally, Daddy moved out of the farmhouse where my parents had lived and raised my brother and me since the early 1950s. He moved into a small house my parents had bought in 1978 and had rented out to people. It was strange not going home to visit him in the old familiar farmhouse. Yet it became easier because Momma had never lived in the little rent house.
Going through the motions
For the next 10 years or so we simply went through the motions of daily life. My kids adapted and did well, but we watched as Daddy went through life as a shell of a man. He truly missed my Momma every day for the rest of his life. He was never suicidal but he simply did not want to live another day without her by his side. It honestly broke my heart.
Now I’ve brought you back up to 2007 when I totally lost my inner peace. I had back-tracked in the story a little bit. 2007 was the year my only niece spent the year in the hospital fighting against Leukemia. Ironically I’m writing this post on November 12, 2019. The 12-year anniversary of the day we lost Lauren. One day before her scheduled bone marrow transplant, her body could no longer handle the intense chemotherapy and her heart gave out. 21 years old and my beautiful, vibrant, fun-loving niece was gone from this earth. My family was once again wracked with a grief beyond measure.
The two strongest men that I have ever known to walk this earth broke in front of my eyes. Father and son consumed with grief. Their eyes met, they locked into the most fierce embrace and began sobbing uncontrollably. They never broke the embrace, but they stumbled and literally went to their knees on the floor. I honestly felt my heart start to break and my inner strength shatter.
Six months later my Daddy died suddenly and instantly from a massive heart attack. My inner peace was gone just as quickly.
Wanting my inner peace again
Will I ever achieve inner peace again? I don’t know, but I sure hope that I can. I’ve been actively trying to achieve it for several years now.
Since losing Daddy I have felt like a ship lost at sea. A boat with no anchor. Honestly, after losing both parents I feel like an orphan, even though I’m an adult. I feel like a scattered puzzle that can’t get all my pieces back together.
How can I achieve inner peace when I feel so scattered? I first must find some kind of order to my emotions and feelings. I must learn to control my anxiety.
So if I know the answer to how to achieve inner peace then why can’t I do it? Have I seen and endured too much to have joy and peace? Am I now too jaded?
Bad things can happen
Like I said earlier, I wasn’t naive about death. I knew it could happen, would happen and that it was part of life. I just didn’t think about it often. I’ve lost both parents, so it’s not like I have to go through that again.
Now I worry about my children having to endure that hurt when it’s my time to die or they lose their Daddy.
Even worse, now I’ve watched as my brother lost his only child and it’s always on my mind. I have several very close friends that have lost a child. I now always think that I just don’t know how they handle such pain. I pray daily that God does not allow me to have to endure the loss of one of my children or grandchildren.
I am now officially a worrier! I worry about my family constantly. I have an on-going dialogue of “what-if” scenarios going through my head. This is how my anxiety works. And also how it makes my anxiety worse!
How to Achieve Inner Peace
Surely there has to be a “plan of action” in order to proceed and get things done. During my nursing career, we had what was called “Care Plans” for our patients. The care plans addressed the problem/disease, the intended or desired outcome and the actions we’d take to get the desired outcome.
Therefore, I need a plan of action in my self-care plan so that I can get my happy back!! Things are different, they will never be the exact same again.
However, I have wonderful children, amazing grandchildren and a very sweet loving brother that I still want to enjoy and make memories with. I’m tired of missing good moments while worrying over what bad or awful thing might happen to one of them.
Ways to bring inner peace
Most research will agree on several basic ways to achieve inner peace:
- Escape (get away from work/routine)
- Nature- take walks or sit/read outdoors
- Unclutter your home/desk/workspace
- Learn to accept and let go
- Don’t procrastinate
Relaxing is very difficult for me. I’m not sure why, but it just is. I’m trying to learn to meditate. Yes, I said trying to learn how! I cannot meditate. I can’t make the constant brain chatter shut up long enough for me to truly meditate. But I’m working on it and not giving up!
Another part of my plan is prayer! The Bible tells us not to worry about anything, but to pray about everything!
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
Finally, learn to be more self-aware. Try to be aware of when you are worrying needlessly. By needlessly I mean worrying over things that you cannot possibly change!
If you realize and admit to yourself that you can’t possibly change the situation then you must also admit to yourself that it is senseless to worry over it. Simply accept what you cannot change for what it is and let it go!
Wow! It sounds so easy when I typed that, now I must learn to practice it!
Enjoy each and every moment for exactly what it is! Time is something you can never get back, so don’t let it pass you by while you are worrying over what might happen next.
Leave me a comment!
Tell me how you are achieving inner peace! I love hearing from my readers! I’d like to know if you have found your inner peace or your suggestions for trying to achieve it! Does anxiety rob you of your joy and peace?
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Until next time,