For many people, the idea of peace feels like a luxury, like it’s something you do after everything else is taken care of. You know, make life peaceful first, and then have some peace.
But peace is actually a process of getting through the chaotic times, because those chaotic times will always come and go. Being peaceful doesn’t stop them, being peaceful gives us the grace to handle them like a kindly person.
So peace doesn’t look like a monk sitting on a mountaintop, or a 19 year old doing yoga on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Peace looks messy.
Peace is waking up at 3:30am because someone keeps stepping on a squeaky toy in the living room. Only it’s not a squeaky toy – that would be good news. It’s actually the nervous wreck of a chihuahua I inherited from my aunt. I didn’t lose my shit over the situation, though I really wanted to, because it’s now the fifth night in a row I’ve been woken up! That’s peace. Even when I ended up just staying awake until it was time to get up. I maintained myself.
Peace is playing with our energetic puppy at 5:30am (even though I don’t feel like it) simply because he’s excited I’m awake, and he hasn’t had anyone to play with him in a million years. I’m tired, and he’s biting, and I’m covered in dog slobber. But I tell him I love him, even though I’m so tired I could cry.
Peace is realizing someone has tracked dog poo all through the house. It was me. My shoe has a nice big gooey piece wrapped around the entire heel, embedded into the nooks and crannies really efficiently. I clean up the poo, and my shoe, and the bits that ended up on my hands. I’m now very frustrated, and closer to crying, and screaming all at once. I’m still exhausted. But I chose patience instead of anger. I know I’m not the only person in the world having a rough morning.
It’s okay. I take a breather, and remember I have a chiropractic appointment in just a couple of hours. And it’s nearly 7am, so my caregiver will be here any minute to get my mom ready for her day. She’s a godsend, and I’m worn out. I don’t know how I’d get through my morning, and get out of the house in time to see my chiropractor if she wasn’t here.
But then it’s 7:20am, and no caregiver; she doesn’t feel well, so I won’t see her until later. I start the process of getting my mom dressed and fed.
And now I have to clean up more dog poop, only this time it’s from the nervous wreck of a chihuahua. And, I have to fight the puppy for it (he thinks it’s a toy). Again, I choose patience instead of anger, because if I start yelling the chihuahua will probably poo again.
I sit down and make myself focus on my breathing. Frustrated? Yes! But not yelling, or crying. Just breathing. I want to yell. I want to cry. Instead I breathe.
A friend calls me. I don’t really have time to talk, but I answer and she tells me what a wild morning she’s had because her neighbor’s car broke down and she had to loan him her jumper cables. This is after she’s had eight hours of sleep and done her morning yoga. She probably had her coffee too, because she was very cheerful.
Peace is when I finally get out of the house for my appointment, and get behind a car going 20 mph in a 35 mph zone (yes, I checked about 48 times). I don’t tailgate, I don’t act all impatient. Instead, I give them space while repeating my driving mantra in my head “please turn left and get the fuck out of my way,” over and over.
I breathe again. I’m still frustrated, but thankfully I don’t feel like bursting into tears anymore.
I get my adjustment, and return home, relieved.
Am I exhausted – well yes. Am I frustrated over my day – oddly no. But my greatest accomplishment is that I was not an asshole. Not once.
That, my friends, is what peace can look like.