Inner Peace in Outer War

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This life that we live is uncertain. Anything can happen in a moment and we none are prepared for it. A death in the family, an unexpected bill, I don’t know, maybe a global pandemic? We are none prepared for something we can’t predict.  

Nothing rings more true than the discord between Ukraine and Russia that led to full out war. The chaos and what it has brought to the countries are traumatic for all involved. War is never good and never solves anything but brings bloodshed and turmoil to humanity *End of political spiel*. 

With everything going on with the war and the lingering effects of COVID 19, it’s so easy to let ourselves get stressed out. With that, comes so many secondary emotions like anger, sadness and anxiety. It disturbs our inner peace because all we see are negativity happening. When we let those outer circumstances affect how we feel, we become overwhelmed. I sometimes feel these emotions as well and it gets me to a dark place quickly if I don’t check it. 

So, how do we handle our inner thoughts and emotions when the outer world seems to be out of control? I know that I don’t have the answers to your circumstances as each person is different, but I do know what has helped me. So I am hoping these things will help you and maybe you can adapt these same thoughts and practices in your own life. 

1. Inevitability is Inevitable

Unexpected things will happen and we have two choices when they do. Give up, or keep going. The unexpected is inevitable and the sooner we come to realize this the better. This is probably one of the hardest things for me to do. The realization comes with a consistent and sometimes a daily mindset practice to adopt. 

2. Accept what we cannot change

Some would argue that this is the same as step one. Though it may seem similar they actually work in tandem with each other. Realizing that something is inevitable is not the same as accepting. You can realize that the world is in a bad place right now and that can cause you to react in sync with the world. That leads you down the dark road I explained earlier. Accepting that we can’t change the world is hard but to release control of the whole world is a big relief. We are not God, we don’t have the “World in our hands” as the old Sunday school song would say. We can only control how we react to these situation. 

3. What can we change?

If anyone reading this has ever been to an AA or Al-Anon meeting, you probably know the terms I am using. The serenity prayer. However, these practices are things we as humanity should adopt as our own. “Accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can”. 

So what can we change? What can we do when the whole world is on fire and we have no way to put it out or control it? 

We can change how we react to these unexpected and uncontrollable situations. We can reshape our thinking by simply acknowledging that we can’t change the situation. It makes life so much simpler. 

4. You need to breathe.

Back in my church going days there was a song that really stuck out to me. It’s a song by Jonny Diaz called Breathe. The first verse talks about a person going about their day. So many things keep happening at once and this person doesn’t know what to do about it. The person gets so stressed out to the point where they feel like giving up. In the chorus (minus the biblical undertones) just simply says: “Breathe, just breathe”. 

That is a powerful statement because even though we need it to survive, so many people forget to really breathe.  More so rather, we forget to pay attention to our breathing. We forget by just taking deep breaths, it helps provide oxygen to our brain and lungs. In an article by Urban Balance it reads:  

“Simply put- extra oxygen does wonders for the body and mind. It cleanses, opens and soothes different parts of our being and is overall something extremely healthy we can all do” 

It reads on to give a list of all the benefits deep breathing has. So, when you are feeling out of control. Remember: Stop what you’re doing and BREATHE. Take a deep breath in and out. Remember what you can control. The breathing, your mind, your spirit, your life. 

5. Do something that distracts you.

Do you like to draw? Write (like I do)? Do you like to read or maybe even binge a Netflix show? In times of high emotion, it’s best to do something for you. Get a massage, take a walk or maybe go to the gym. So many things are available to us when we feel stressed out to the point where we feeling those secondary emotions like anger, fear, anxious…etc. creep up. It’s never good to “sit in your sh**” as some would say. It causes you to dwell on those negative thoughts and emotions. It may cause you to develop a bad habit or even can cause health issues down the line. So it’s always good to take your mind off of the craziness by doing something that you love. 

6. Tell Someone.

It’s never good to sit in your misery, as not so eloquently stated above, especially alone. It’s in those moments when it’s best to reach out. We sometimes feel like we are alone in our feelings. When, in fact, we are not. More than likely the person you get in contact with is or has felt the way you do now. It’s those times when you call and become truthful about your emotions. 

In Conclusion:

Bad sh** is going to happen, instead of dwelling on “bad sh**” work on becoming a “bad a$$”. Sure, it won’t come over night and things can easily get you down. That is also inevitable. Never push the emotions away, instead: acknowledge it and try to let yourself feel it. Just don’t let it linger and let it float away like a leaf on the river. We all go through hard times. It’s best not to sit in those times forever. We lose years of our lives living in constant worry. We need to take a step back and observe what we are doing. Remember life is inevitable.  Having acceptance to forgiving what we can’t change and changing what we can, we just breathe, promote self-love and tell someone about your issues.

Once you do these, I guarantee that your overall life will feel a lot better. It won’t solve our problems, but it will help you react to those problems. 

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