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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Steps Toward Peace of Mind

Peace of mind is not just something that comes to us when everything is going well. It is something that comes from a combination of many sources, and that can sustain us even when things are not going well. Even through tragedy.

1. Reserves
Not necessarily the large reserves that we sometimes refer to in coaching (though those would be wonderful, too), but awareness that you are not going to run out of the minor things that can easily cause disruption in our lives, e.g. gas/petrol, postage stamps, toilet paper, essential food items.

2. Forgiveness
Know that you need not be full of anger, or nagging hostility, toward anyone, including yourself. Remember that we all do the best we can with what we believe we have. There are few people who harm others on purpose.

3. Acceptance... of self and of others
In the same vein, know that the only person about whom you have the right to make decisions is yourself. Others will be what they will be, depending on their own combination of circumstances, genetic inheritance and choices. For yourself, know that your choices are and always will be your own. Don't berate yourself for your past, it is past. If you don't care for it, make the decisions necessary to create a different future.

4. Clear conscience
Act always as though someone else who you respect will know what you do. If you would not want others to know that you did something, then don't do it, for you (and quite likely someone or Someone else) WILL know.

5. Support
Know where you can turn for support, for a shoulder to cry on, and for other forms of help when you need it. Know your friends, keep your fences mended, and keep a list of agencies and institutions to which you can turn if you must. Never let pride stop you from requesting help when you need it.

6. Surroundings that you can enjoy
Your surroundings may not look like a magazine cover, but they can be kept sufficiently tidy, organized, and attractive that you feel pleasure as you look around you. We often think of surroundings as what we are aware of visually, but the other senses may be involved too. We may need music, or silence. We may choose to enjoy the scent of burning candles, or of baking, or of well polished furniture.

7. No undone have-tos, deadlines, overdue debts
These will undermine peace of mind every time. Decide on a schedule to get rid of them. If you have to call on someone to keep you on schedule with this, enlist a friend, a family member, or even a coach. Just knowing that you are making progress will enhance your peace of mind. Catching up on these things will do so even more.

8. Know that you are connected to Something
If you are religiously or spiritually inclined, then you already know this. Even if you believe there is nothing beyond us except nature and the earth, then at least you know there is that. Know that you ARE connected. Trust that connection, and know that you DO belong.

9. Know that you are at choice, not a victim
Recognize that you DO have choices. If you feel you do not, look again, and see that what you have previously dismissed as lack of choice is actually a choice that certain alternatives are unacceptable, or that you had not seen them in the first place. Reconsider your options. Brainstorm with someone you trust.

10. Knowledge that you can affect your world, that you need not be a pawn Sometimes it is difficult to imagine that any one person can change the world. We certainly need to change ourselves before we can change anything else, and even then we do not have the right to change other people. Yet the changes that we make in our own behavior, our willingness to reach out and help, volunteer, to try to make the world a better place, CAN be far-reaching. If every person reading this list were to reach out... Imagine!
Each man has a choice in life; he may approach it as a creator or critic, a lover or a hater, a giver or a taker, a liar or an earnest man. It is a matter of choice.

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