I had it last summer -- quiet, calm, contentedness. I was present, my mind was peaceful, I radiated enlightenment (k, that's stretching it a bit -- small 'e' enlightenment). Where did it go and how do I get it back?
On the surface, my circumstances have changed -- I am back to work with dysfunction and negative energy invading my psyche at every turn. I have gained weight -- thankfully not a lot, but enough to make me dislike my lack of discipline which I know puts a negative spin on all my perceptions. I also don't exercise as much or as rigorously .... so maybe my enlightenment was just me being permanently high on endorphins?
When I dig deeper I know it's my mind that's keeping me from enjoying the place I now cherish. A quick re-read of 'A New Earth' is helping remind of what I need to get back:
presence: when my mind wanders and I focus on what I should do next, instead of just being in the moment I start to feel like I'd rather be someplace else than where I am. I end up frustrated and disappointed rather than content and relaxed. This weekend I tried to stay present by throwing myself into what I was doing. I love the feeling of losing yourself in a task to the point where time flies. I'm not talking about over-functioning here, just focusing. When I played with the kids, I did it whole-heartedly, I looked them in the eye, I listened, I let them lead, I did not let my mind distract me ... and it was wonderful!
acceptance: when I resist what is, I make myself miserable wishing for what I think I want. Last summer I put the brakes on complaining and it felt really good. I should remind myself that if I'm not happy with my circumstances I can A) change them, B) leave them or C) accept them. Complaining is not productive and creates more negative energy. It's my EGO screaming for attention -- "look at poor me and all the crap life has given me". Just stop.
gratitude: focusing on what's good in my life rather than what's missing is a great way to stay positive. It also does wonders for my relationships when I simply say thank you. I am better off than the majority of the world in terms of health and economic achievement. That alone is reason to celebrate EVERYDAY. Every morning I think of three different things to be grateful for before I get out of bed -- awesome way to start the day.
Making these things a regular way of life will go a long way towards regaining the inner peace I once had. Life is not my enemy. Want what you have, not what you don't have. Peace is within your grasp, just look inside.