Monday, November 16, 2015

Finding Peace

A question was posed for a group in which I'm involved

How do you find peace?

Everyone has a different answer because living a peaceful life starts internally.

My peace started when really negative people were out of my life. When a person wakes up angry, yelling, and slamming things, it's hard to find inner peace. Things became so much easier when I woke to a smile.

I had a lot of negative behaviors to lose too. I was jaded, defensive, and felt the constant need to protect myself. I did that with raised emotional fists. I was willing to do battle at the drop of a dime. I'd been through a lot, my response seemed logical. But I was suffering from the emotional fallout. It doesn't feel good to always have your guard up, to always be ready to defend yourself and to sink to the lows of the people wanting to emotionally harm you. Chris taught me that. He's not one to engage. It seemed to me, not engaging meant being walked on, taken advantage of, or worse. But the reality is, not engaging means not allowing someone else to emotionally impact you. It means leaving the person with their anger and walking away. When you have so many good things on which to focus, why waste time on the negative?

There are daily things that bring me peace beyond removing myself from that which doesn't. Obviously, this baby that was never supposed to be here is an absolute gift. I could detail everything for you from her dimples, her impossibly soft skin, her hair, which smells like baby and lavender and is getting progressively more ringlets in the back as it grows, to her hazel eyes outlined by envy inducing lashes. But none of those things compare to having her fall asleep on me or watching her learn and laugh. She's a gift to us all.

There are her brothers, who are both equally as wonderful in different ways. The oldest, as easy a child as they come and the middle who's going to be the one who teaches me the most. He's challenging and through the challenge, I am constantly learning how to parent the absolute best way I can. I owe him my best and am going to work as hard as I can to give it to him.

There's Chris. I am undeniably lucky to have him. He fell in love with me at my worst. I was sick, had nothing to give and the constant red faced swollen look of someone who cried ugly tears all day. He loved me anyway. When I look back at our friendship, Chris has always come to my rescue. I'm not a girl that wants to be rescued. In fact, when the worst happens, I usually keep it to myself and handle it on my own. But in high school and during the very worst time of my life, Chris was quietly by my side making sure I was okay. His strength isn't in being loud or angry. His strength is in his calm and smart and his ability to put his arms around me and remove me from the ugliness of the world threatening to crush me. I have learned to handle my emotions so much better just by following his lead. Anger never works. So the wolf can be at the door making threats. Our house is strong, built smart, and we are inside watching our baby laugh. We aren't giving energy to the nastiness.

There's also a great deal of peace from being with someone who you not only love, but are compatible with. It's easy to be drawn to someone in the beginning. It's easy to give up dreams for love. You can even justify it by thinking the dream is irrational. Or that you also have a dream of a family and married life. Maybe you make it okay in your mind by saying nobody has it all. But eventually, all you have are a bunch of payments for things that bring you no joy and make you appear to be living the adult life you're supposed to. That initial passion wears off and you wake up with no dreams next to someone you don't even like really. If Chris walked away from me today, we'd still end up in the same place eventually. I have no doubt that if I lost him now, I'd find him again. Me, outside in a garden and him outside working on something. "Chris?"

Our peace on a daily basis is derived from the same things. And the things that are different, we adjust for each other. I enjoy tasks that require a lot of steps. I don't meditate. But those tasks are like meditation. 5 days of calm diligence to capture wild yeast and make a sourdough bread starter, skimming cream off raw milk and making my own butter, and now learning to make my own cheese. Chris gains his peace from being outside, but he's more of a project person. So he's great at getting the garden started, thinking up and building a new chicken coop, creating the most beautiful outdoor space for reading. I'm great at maintaining the garden, watching over and harvesting, collecting eggs...Chris moves on to something new. I make sure he gets his outside time to create. He makes sure I get my time to follow through. Plus, he loves sourdough bread and homemade jam. The tasks that bring me peace creating, he gets to enjoy. He is melody and I am lyric. We could have nothing or we could have everything. But together it works really well.

My peace is in my relationships and the laborious tasks of homesteading. I could spend hours in the garden and be at my most relaxed. I can also spend hours over a boiling pot of berries for jam and find inspiration. My mind calms and stories start to come to life. Anger, envy, sadness and resentment disappear and are replaced by peace, content, and being perfect in this exact moment. Wanting is replaced by being.