Our lives tend to be full of ‘storm’: the busyness of work, of everyday life, of the conflicting demands on our time and energy. It can be difficult to stop the constant buffeting and find a moment of peace.
When we do succeed in it, we usually do it by stepping away: going for a walk; going to bed; having a quiet bath. And those are great strategies, and important as ways of just giving ourselves a little break, a little space.
They also give us a chance to regain some perspective on what’s going on. By stepping away for a moment, we can see what’s really important, and what is merely a storm in a teacup!
And I am wondering about doing the opposite to stepping away and still finding some peace. After all, the story goes: in the eye of the storm, it is still, quiet. I think this is a tough one, so I am musing out loud.
I have had an opportunity to experiment with what the eye of the storm really means in our daily busyness, when it is not really possible to step away for more than a moment. What I have found is that it is a going in rather than a stepping away.
By this I mean that we need to find that peace inside ourselves. Now this is easy when we’re relaxed, peaceful already, in a place that’s comfortable, both physically and mentally, and no one is asking anything of us, including our own minds.
In the storm though?
So, we can begin by unpicking what actually happens
- I think it begins with our breath. Instead of that fast, shallow breath we tend to have when life is busy, we take a deep breath and let it out slowly – almost a sigh.
- Then we de-focus our eyes, allow our sight to be less clear, less sharp and focussed, so that everything is less defined and linear. And we may look at something in our environment that is pleasurable to see.
- As we do this, our faces begin to relax: our jaw softens, our mouth becomes less tense, our brows clear. We may even have a soft smile.
- With this, our minds begin to slow down, become quieter, and allow the possibility of peace.
With all of those, we can consciously choose to do them, even in the midst of chaos. We can use what our body does unconsciously when it happens naturally, and make them a set of conscious switches.
We could also help ourselves to make it easier by imbuing something we have with us regularly with that sense of peace. I almost always wear the same thing around my neck, so that’s easy. I just put my hand on it to remind myself. Or it could be your watch, or even one of your fingers! An alternative would be to just gently place one of your hands on your heart space.
And we can help to calm our minds by having a phrase we say to ourselves, such as: ‘From busy to quiet’, or ‘From chaos to calm’ – or whatever works for you. It is important to acknowledge the previous feeling or state and then gently suggest to your mind that it can move to that state of peace, just for a moment.
I am still at the experimental stage with this idea of finding peace in the eye of the storm, so these are only suggestions. You may find some even better ways – in which case, please let me know!