In my experience, many of us are afraid to hold still. If we do, nothing gets done and more chaos results. Trust me, I know. Sitting still doesn’t actually get the house clean. However, does scrambling around from one task to another get anything more meaningful accomplished? I submit that it does not. If we seek only to change our actions, we never find peace. We only find more things to do.
That’s why I started spending a little time every morning being still. Even though I would rather get started on my to-do list, or at least planning out my day, I find it essential to take a little time to reconnect with the truths that are at the core of the happiest, most tranquil parts of my life. Below are several ways to reconnect that I have seen work well, for me and for others.
1. Decorate with inspirational art
My apartment is tiny, but I have found wall space to pin prints of my favorite paintings and surfaces to place the porcelain figures of Jesus I have had since childhood. Perhaps your home can include a depiction of your deity of choice, or even just restful scenes from nature. Either way, the idea is to give you something to look at as you relax and seek peace.
2. Listen to gentle and uplifting music
Similar in concept to inspirational art, uplifting music gives us something to focus on other than the nagging voice in our minds that says we have better things to do.
3. Sit still for at least 10 minutes
I am always tempted to multitask my peaceful time. What’s so bad about doing the dishes with quiet music on, after all? For me, the problem is that rather than the dishes fading into the background, the music does, and I’m left with a determined frown rather than a serene smile. If this sounds like you, it’s especially important to just sit still for a little while and do nothing else. You’ll be grateful you did.
4. Go for a walk
Not only does this count as exercise, it also gives you something tranquil to look at, listen to and think about for a brief time each day. True, walking is definitively not sitting still. However, in my experience it can be an excellent transition from a stress-filled and burdened heart to a peace-filled and serene heart. This is largely because movement through nature is a great compromise between getting things done and taking a time out.
5. Write in a journal
Writing helps us to remember the sense of wellbeing we acquire in peaceful moments. This is in part because we can look back on it later. But the simple act of writing creates a copy of the moment in our brains. That creates repetition, and something repeated is more likely to stick with you throughout the day.
Even if the idea of filling a page of a notebook seems daunting, you can still use this principle. Write down a few soothing and inspiring words that came to mind during your 10 minutes of quiet time. Put that note some place where you will be able to see it throughout the day. It will help you to hang onto your peace when things are getting stressful.
Ask for help
Prayer is an essential part of my peace-seeking routine, for example. You can also invite a friend to go on a walk with you, or to spend a little time writing in the same room before completing a task together. This provides a little more accountability; not to mention the support of someone who wants peace as much as you do.
Ironically, these simple ways of being still also lead to more effective changes. For example, I am much better able to let go of my perfectionism and replace it with much more realistic expectations when I spend a few minutes cultivating reverence.
Having peace in our own hearts is essential to having peace in our homes. Genuine peace of mind is a precious commodity for your family. The more dedicated you are to having it, the more of a strength you will be to them. Not only does that strength come through your example, but also from the simple stalwart faith you have in the fact that everything will turn out OK.