In Merriam-Webster’s dictionary there are several definitions for “peace.”
One is: “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”
The peace I feel lately in my heart and in my mind is new and foreign. I’m trying to accept it rather than study it.
But I can’t help but study it a little. It’s how I’m wired.
I’m allowing myself to feel peace for the first time in a long time, or ever. To touch it. To befriend it. To savor it. To cultivate it. To accept it. To question less how long it’s going to stick around or when it’s going to be taken away.
I almost feel a little guilty about it all. My inner critic tells me that I don’t deserve it and that I surely shouldn’t be writing or talking about it. There are too many reasons to not feel at peace, Brooke. Who are you to feel at peace?
(If that tells you anything.)
I’ve not been conditioned–or, rather, I’ve not conditioned myself–to feel free to feel free. I’m re-writing this story every day though.
Ironically, my peace has sprouted from the knowledge that one day we will all lose everyone and everything that we love.
Expect it. Don’t fear it. It’s natural. It’s how this world is designed.
Find your ground in the groundlessness, says Pema Chodron.
External circumstances don’t bring peace–nor do they take it away.
It’s a really challenging walk to walk.
Life can be so brutally painful. I know people right now who are fighting for their lives. People spending the holidays in the hospital. People wanting to end their lives by their own hand. People whose hearts are aching from recent and raw losses of loved ones. People contending with alcoholism and addiction every day that they wake up.
There’s so much pain and heaviness out there. Sometimes it’s crushing.
But there’s also so much love, faith, beauty and light.
My own experiences with pain, hardship and loss have been my greatest teachers.
I think I can feel the greatest sense of peace right now because I know it won’t last.
Life will deal me more loss and pain and hardship in the days ahead. And I will get through it just as I have every other time that’s preceded it.
With the love and support of others. Through the grace of God. With the wisdom of impermanence.
It’s been my pain that has softened me most.
It’s been my intimacy with my pain that’s helped me know a deep sense of peace.
For however long it lasts, I don’t know, I can’t know, and I won’t know.
For me, accepting that fact is setting me free.