March 14, 2010

Peaceful Places - Find Your Own Place of Peace

Living a simple life does not mean living a slow, sluggardly one.  For instance, no one lives a life more simple that the Amish - and they're busy from 5 am to bedtime.  (By the way, lots of good info on the Amish has been collected by Amish,Net though the Amish themselves, of course, aren't on the web.)

Living a peaceful life takes some work.

There's the daily check on what's going on -- strife can sneak in when you least expect it.  Letting go of anger, forgiving those who've done wrong to you (which doesn't mean you're a doormat allowing repetitive abuse, by the way), overcoming frustration, are all things that are continual tasks when you're trying to move forward in life. 

Having a personal spot, a place of peaceful surroundings, can be a great big help. 

Long ago, back when I was living the Materialistic Lifestyle, if you'd asked me about a peaceful place I would have responded that for me, it was the beach and that I went there a couple of times a year.  A good friend felt the same way, but the answer was the Rocky Mountains. 

In stressful times, having these vacation spots as the only place that you can find a peaceful spot isn't enough  because they are too hard to reach, too far away.  You need to know Your Place of Peace in advance of a Stressful Time (because, Dear Reader, they are periodically guaranteed), that you can access almost immediately.  You need a nearby place of peace that you can incorporate into your routine.  

What's a Personal Place of Peace?

As a Christian, I obviously include prayer as one of the big things that happens in a place of peace.  However, it's more than a prayer spot. 

A personal place of peace is an oasis from everything else in your life where you can get some distance, mentally as well as spiritually, and hopefully, some perspective. 

It's a place where there is no additional input -- other than beauty -- which allows you to gain control over your emotions, get a stress break, and put a halt to running from problems or reacting instead of being proactive about things.  You're there alone, by the way -- a golf game or a drink at a bar are NOT places of peace. 

Also, it needs to be close to home or work, where you can reach it within 10 to 15 minutes by car or foot.  Sometimes, your place of peace can help you just by knowing you have this Secret Oasis nearby -- imagining it during a meeting, a traffic jam, or a family fight can really, really help. 

What You Take With You

Maybe you take a Bible, maybe you bring a Journal.  Maybe you listen to music (but it needs to be appropriate, not distracting).  Books that bring you encouragement and supportive thoughts can be helpful (from Joel Osteen to Erma Bombeck to Shakespearean Sonnets, this is a personal thing).  Sure, you can have something to drink or eat (if you're there awhile, this may be a prerequisite, or all you'll be thinking about is how great a cheeseburger sounds). 

Where do You go?

Ah, the big question.  You, Dear Reader, have to go FIND your personal place of peace.  Consider yourself on a mission.  It can be a public park, a garden, a museum, the rooftop of a skyscraper ... it could be the zoo.  I have a friend who has a zoo membership, and regularly leaves his office to walk the zoo just to think and pray and get "re-grounded."

How he can eat there (he brings a snack) is beyond me because the wild animal poop smell cannot be escaped no matter how great the San Antonio Zoo is about keeping things tidy. Which just goes to show, one person's place of peace is another person's place of distracting smelly elephant poop. 

Worthy of note: this is a man who is a position of tremendous power, a Big Kahuna guy, and he makes a lot of jokes about how he escapes one zoo by going to another.  It works for him.

Drives are good, they may start out with that fantasy of just driving and driving until you hit a Coast, East or West, but for peaceful places they aren't the best because you do have to be safe while driving a vehicle that weighs around 3500 lbs.  A place of peace can involve crying, or yelling, the release of emotion -- and you need to be free to allow those things to escape you without being worried about Big Rigs on the road.  Better: a pretty drive that leads you to a pretty place.  Maybe a great view -- you can stay in the car, just don't keep driving forever. 

Places of Peace are Private.  One last thing, Dear Reader -- when you've found your place of peace, don't blabber about it to everyone.  Keep it your secret oasis, it's part of its power: knowing that you're in a safe spot for a mental and spiritual breather where you won't be interrupted is important.  Plus, it's fun to have your own SECRET PLACE in the world. 

Image:  Female African Bush elephant (named “Duchess”) at Paignton Zoo, Paignton, Devon. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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