Peace Pockets: Claiming Your Calm During Your Busy Day
Peace Pockets are 5-15 minute intentional intervals throughout the day for spiritual, mental, and physical respite and renewal. During your peace pocket time, you may pray, listen to soft music, watch a burning candle, pay attention to your breathing, allow your mind to wander free, or give it the freedom not to wander anywhere or think of anything at all. The goal is to be "off” for a moment. The more experience you build, the better you will become at observing your peace pockets. Here are four things to remember as you claim your calm each day by creating your unique and soulfully refreshing peace pockets:
- Permission. If you don’t value your calm, no one else will. You have to become convinced of the meaning and value for peace in your own life. You have to become persuaded that you are a better person with peace than without peace. Convince yourself that stillness leads to peace, peace leads to clarity, and clarity leads to creativity. Should you begin to feel guilty and selfish about making more time for nothing, dare to believe that the deeper selfishness is not giving yourself such time. As long as you remain "crazy busy” you insure that the world, including those nearest and dearest to you, will never behold you at your finest. That would be selfish.
- Planning. Schedule daily and weekly times of stillness, and be open to the unscheduled graces of free time to simply be. Planning them with the same intent that you plan your work signals to your consciousness and, just as importantly, your unconscious mind, that claiming your inner calm is as important to you as anything else in your life. As you place these pockets in your calendar, be sure you give them the same level of priority that you give to your most important meetings.
- Practice. Don’t just plan your mini-respite, live it. Real change involves more than knowing you need to change, wanting to, and planning to. As valuable as that is, authentic change transcends awareness and desire. Real change is actually choosing to be different, to live differently. And, sustaining true change involves trusting your transformation beyond all fear and suffering. It will help for you to partner with a friend to serve as peace support person for the other. Agree with each other to share how you have been intentionally exploring and practicing inner peace. You may want to schedule a "bi-weekly peace summit” at a restaurant or park to compare notes and celebrate peaceful hearts.
- Personhood. Know that having regular periods of stillness helps you to remember that you are infinitely more than what you do. You are God’s "fabulous you” apart from any accomplishment or achievement. God cannot love you any more than God loves you right now, not because of anything you have done or will do. Sometimes coming home to you means savoring moments of having nothing to do.
[Excerpted from Fulfilled: Living and Leading with Unusual Wisdom, Peace, and Joy]