I’ve had a tough time choosing my annual guiding word for 2018.
In my journal, I keep my list of feeling words. They’re words that answer the question, “How do I want to feel when I get up in the morning?” My list is – joyous, beloved, creative, vibrant and wholehearted. Most years I choose from that list or go with something related to one of those words.
This year is different. My attention keeps turning to peace. Peace. I want some.
It’s difficult to maintain a peaceful disposition at the best of times, even if you’ve been born with one, like me. In today’s environment, it seems harder than ever to maintain balance. Everything seems off centre.
Internally, I’m far from peaceful. I wake up at night thinking about the world we live in. About the surprise phone call that our company credit cards have been compromised and how vulnerable that makes me feel. About the nonsensical property tax bill that gouges into our net earnings as we consider retirement in the not too distant future. The 25% occupancy rate in our downtown core office towers that indicate our economy is suffering and yet we are told to be optimistic.
I think about the plastic and other garbage that is washing up on our beaches. I think about the waitlists in our medical system and the effects of social media on our youth. I find myself on the verge of tears over the new largest mass murder in U.S. history and worry about how activity south of our border affects my Canadian life. That’s all before I look beyond the borders of North America.
In my teens, I gravitated toward peace. A few years too young for the hippy movement, I did the best I could. I wore a peace symbol, probably made of brass, which hung from a leather string over the turtleneck I wore with wide-leg jeans. Bell-bottoms were out of style by the time I joined in. I listened to John Lennon, The Byrds, and Cat Stevens, music that brought peace to my soul and voiced a wish for it in the wider world.
Between then and now, I’ve dragged a toe from the Peace Train from time to time, but in 2017 I fell off the train altogether.
I’m finding it hard to Imagine John Lennon’s dream of “all the people living life in peace” as Canada receives refugees from the United States. Who could ever have imagined that day? And as news reports that Kim Jong Un has the nuke button at the tip of his fingers on his desk over in North Korea.
What’s a fifty-something wannabe hippy from the 70’s to do?
- Carve out time in solitude.
- Connect to nature.
- Find perspective through a journal writing practice.
- Connect with spirituality.
- Focus on goodness.
- Turn away from the noise of social media.
- Find the balance between switching off the news and staying informed.
- Focus on relationships with family and friends.
As we leave a stressful, strange and unpredictable year behind, I’m seeking to restore my sense of peace this year. I hope the Peace Train will slow down a little for me. I need a chance to catch it before it leaves the station, full steam. I hope to see you on board.
Peace my sisters and brothers.