I’ve had an old song stuck in my head. You probably know it ~
Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God as our father, brothers now are we. Let me walk with my brother. In perfect harmony…
It was written in 1955 and has touched people ever since. A rendition of the song moved Pope Francis to tears during a service at Ground Zero in 2015. I’ve hummed it since I was a kid, through civil rights marches, assassinations, wars, nuclear disasters, riots, injustice, terrorism, and more wars.
The world just can’t seem to get this peace thing right. I’m sure, like me, you wish there was something you could do to bring peace on Earth, but let’s face it, our world peace-making powers are frustratingly limited.
What if we narrowed our lens and just focused on a few things we can do to bring more peace into our own lives and the lives of those around us. I bet the ripple effect would be felt throughout our families, communities, country, and world.
Thirteen Ways To Manifest Peace ~
1. Think Peaceful Thoughts ~ Many of us are guilty of letting our minds dwell in fear, anger, and worry. To halt a negative thought train, focus on your breath and slowly recite a comforting affirmation, scripture, or prayer. Shakespeare wrote, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
2. Speak Peaceful Words ~ The American vocabulary has made its home in the gutter. Rude, crude, sassy, and trashy talk litters nearly every conversation we hear. Vow to banish ugly words from your vocabulary. If it isn’t thoughtful, helpful, or kind, it isn’t worth saying (or typing).
3. Judge Not ~ Pay attention when you find yourself feeling judgmental or critical of another person. Examine the secret prejudices you might be holding on to. Even if we don’t understand or agree with someone, we can still connect with the things we do have in common.
4. Slow Down ~ One way we can bring more peace into our lives is to slow down. It seems busy, stressed, and rushed have become our battlecry, giving us an excuse to push and shove through our day. Let’s try moving with more grace and ease whether driving, walking, talking, working, or eating.
5. Reduce Activity ~ Sometimes we complain about our full schedules as if we don’t have any control over it. We need to learn to let go of perfectly worthwhile activities in order to create more downtime and peace of mind.
6. Just Be ~ Find a silent place to meditate, pray, or just be still for several minutes every day. Place your hand on your heart, take some deep breaths, and set the intention of living more peacefully. My dad always liked the saying (attributed to Winnie-the-Pooh author A.A. Milne), “Sometimes I just sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.”
7. Ease Your Mind ~ Music, movies, television, books, and social media can be wonderfully entertaining and informative, but they can also fill our heads with nonsense and noise, push our buttons, and leave us feeling restless and over-stimulated. Fill your mind with what eases your mind.
8. Limit News ~ I can be a real news junkie, but I’ve discovered I can stay just as informed, and far less agitated, by reading a summary of headline news just once a day. The New York Times Morning Briefing is delivered to my email six days a week. Sign up for free at nytimes.com.
9. Stop Arguing ~ I used to think I should always speak up for what I believe, but I have learned that arguing is pointless. You’re either singing to the choir or beating your head against a wall. If you feel strongly about an issue, peacefully do something about it. I love the phrase, “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.”
10. Make Home a Haven ~ I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Our home should be the most peaceful place on Earth. Make your home a calm refuge from the outside world. Here’s a link to my post on Simplifying Our Homes ~ https://lessonsinloveliness.com/2016/11/16.
11. Help Somebody ~ Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things ~ only small things with great love.” Imagine if each of us did something, every day, to help someone else.
12. Find Forgiveness ~ We must learn to forgive others, as well as ourselves, for past mistakes and imperfections. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it removes it from our heart and prevents it from making us bitter and destroying our peace.
13. Seek Nature ~ Studies show that alienation from the natural world can cause our senses to be diminished, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and mental illnesses. Being in nature reduces blood pressure, lowers heart rate, and produces natural chemicals that lower stress.
Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow. To take each moment. And live each moment in peace eternally. Let there be peace on Earth. And let it begin with me.
Think On These Things ~ Alicia