“I need peace in my life.” This is the silent prayer that has looped through my head for years. Ever since I was in my teens, I’ve sought out perfect spots to find the silence needed to think.
The first I can remember was just a few short blocks from home, in a city park, on a little hill, in a community called North Haven. Whenever I felt like I needed peace, I’d go there, hop on a swing and let my feet pump me higher and higher until, on legs outstretched, they blocked Calgary’s city view on the horizon. Or, I’d sit on the swing with one toe pointed straight down into the red shale and rock from side to side, a metronome rhythm soothing away my stress. I always thought of this park as my little secret where I breathed in fresh air and breathed out worries.
As a young mother, my special place was at the Ghost Lake cabin. There is a perfect spot on the blue couch at the east end of the living area. From there, I could, and still do, look west to the Rocky Mountains and south to the lake with the rolling hills beyond. The best times were when my family would have the cabin to ourselves, just the four of us. The Consultant would “give Mom a break” by taking the kids to the park or out in the boat. I would relish the quiet to read and write. Or sometimes I’d simply appreciate the views while thinking about how our family was doing.
When we bought our land at Duck Lake, Montana in 2000, I found a new special place. With no cell phone service, no Internet, and no TV, there are so many places around our property where my introspective self can find peace. Often, I’m alone on the deck or I can step over the bank down to the lake. From the shore, the presence of the mighty Chief Mountain makes my worries and cares seem miniscule. Peace at Duck Lake includes fishermen’s voices carrying over water to the shore, bird songs, and the buzz of a bee. Sometimes it’s just that hum of true quiet. Do you know it?
And then there is my all time favourite, the vast and mysterious ocean. It doesn’t matter where the ocean and I meet; it never lets me down. Peace. It expands out as far as the eye can see. The waves crash in and fold back out, turning sand and rocks into castanets and snare drums. It’s the whole package – the briny smell, the changing tide, perpetual motion made more magical by a splendid rising or setting sun. The ocean fills me up and sends me back to meet the world, happy.
So, how is my peace prayer answered? Each of these places has given me the needed space to ask myself, “How are you doing? What have you done well? What could you do better?” It’s in these places where I do my best work at sorting out confusion or any problems that come into my life.
They all have one thing in common, a beautiful view.
A beautiful view, for me, has a calming effect. The beat of my heart changes to a slower pace and I’m recharged. My focus is redirected to appreciation and gratitude.
When I take time out in one of these special places, I find my peace and all is good with my world.
“Peace is not merely the absence of war.
It is also a state of mind.
Lasting peace can only come to peaceful people.”
– Jawaharial Nehru (1st Prime Minister of India)
How about you? Where do you find your peace?