The Power of Peace and Joy
The past few years have been a time of unprecedented turmoil, uncertainty, and fear. Never in our lifetimes have we been confronted by so many challenges at work, at home and in our communities. And yet, we are now embarking on the season that is traditionally spoken about as a time to embody peace and joy. Are these two states of being even possible amid such chaos? Let’s take a closer look at them.
A Closer Look at Peace
In the many years that I have been practicing mindful leadership, I have seen in myself and others that the single biggest barrier to embodying peace is to believe that it is conditioned on something happening or changing. ‘When I get that promotion, I will find peace’, ‘When I find my soulmate, I will find peace’, or ‘When everything goes back to normal, I will find peace’. True peace, however, is a state of being that originates within us. It is a willingness to turn toward and to be with things just as they are.
Peacefulness is a by-product of letting go of wanting to control or change the people or things around us. This is not about giving up or apathy. It is about letting go of the struggle to make the world conform to how we want it to be. When we let go in this way, we find the spaciousness to reflect on what is here, and then to make a conscious choice about the skillful next step. We are expanding our repertoire of how we meet the moments of our lives by seeing what is already here with greater clarity and compassion.
A Closer Look at Joy
In this season, the word ‘joy’ is splattered everywhere we look…greeting cards, store displays and town centers. But what does it really mean? Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is a triggered emotion. It most often is fleeting and arises in response to something external.
Joy, however, arises from an internal peacefulness with who you are, and how you choose to meet the world. Cultivating joy requires us to engage in quiet reflection, noticing our basic humanity and goodness, and it invites us to make wise and compassionate choices about our life, and the lives we influence. Joy is not fleeting; it is a state of being we can strengthen each day. How will you strengthen joy today? Can you engage in an act of self-compassion that recognizes your basic humanity and goodness?
As we near the closing of this difficult year, I wish for you, and those you love, a peaceful and joyous New Year.