Peace Begins at Home

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Peace Begins at Home
The only peace that can be safely sustained begins at home within the boundaries of your inner self.

Dr. Romance writes: This is often called the Season of Peace, as in "Peace on Earth; Good Will to Men." Yet there is so much unrest in the world today: we are still in at least two wars, terrorism seems to be endemic worldwide, and domestic violence and hatred still dominate the news. Today's world needs more people living peace.

While it's easy to talk about, living peace isn't so easy to do. It requires learning to wage peace in our own lives. "We teach best what we most need to learn," writes Richard Bach in Illusions. That's because we are subconsciously focused on what gives us trouble; and motivated to learn about it. For example, if lack of peace (anxiety, rage, addiction or relationship hassles) is a problem, your life will constantly face you with the need to learn to be more calm. Anyone who does not meet your expectations can trigger agitation of one sort or another, and internal agitation evokes a negative reaction.

In my counseling office, I'm constantly reminded of how hard it seems to be for most people to sustain peacefulness (what the twelve-step (AA) programs call Aserenity.) We are all easily bumped off- center. I also see how powerful it is to maintain a peaceful (or serene) emotional climate in the middle of an upsetting circumstance. The calmest person is also the most clear-thinking, and therefore can control what's happening. People in high-pressure situations, such as medical and military personnel, police, firefighters, and rescue workers are trained in maintaining a calm demeanor. It makes them more effective.

Internal peace is the key to keeping all relationships on track. In my life, I've found that keeping my inner balance not only prevents me from making things worse in bad situations, it also influences others to be calmer.

Every day I am reminded of the importance of inner peace, a peaceful relationship with myself, and keeping peace in my private universe. Without this inner serenity, I am not very powerful to create peace in my surrounding environment. I find that whenever I'm agitated, especially when the turmoil seems to be caused by an event or another person, the effective solution begins with establishing peace within myself. Here is the idea I use to help myself and my clients do that:

I have my own sphere of influence, my own private "universe" which I can picture as a invisible, protective membrane surrounding me; rather like the invisible glass box mimes often create around themselves. All other people and events are outside this boundary, but visible and accessible through it. I can "send messages" in the form of words and deeds, subtle body movements and facial expressions, through the boundary, and other people can send theirs in to me. I have little control over what people choose to send toward me, and total control over what I choose to send out. However, I do have control over how I receive what other people choose to send me.

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