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Calm in the Storm

October 11, 2012 1 Comment

Have you ever seen someone totally lose their cool in public?  Have you ever felt a slight twinge of embarrassment for that person because you thought they were making a fool of themselves in public?  Okay, we all have.  In fact, some of us have been that person a time or two (just me?).  In the past, my reaction to episodes like this was to judge and gossip about the crazy person I witnessed that day.  Not anymore.  After experiencing a breakdown of my own (albeit in a different form), I know that  those outbursts don’t just come out of nowhere.  They come from days, weeks, months, and even years, of pent-up anger, guilt, resentment, and shame that has not been released.  Eventually the breaking point is reached, which causes people to “snap”.

I felt a rush of compassion earlier this week when I was on a plane with a mother of four who had reached her breaking point.  She was like a shaken up soda can that had just been opened – exploding all over the place for the entire plane to witness.  She was sitting in the row in front of me, and I could tell something was not quite right shortly after I got settled in my seat and began to observe her interactions with her family.  She was yelling at her children (“do your homework”, “don’t ask me for another thing”, “sit down and shut up”), she was incredibly frustrated when she was asked to pass anything to them anything, and she was snappy with her husband.  What made it worse is that she was LOUD, I mean really loud.

Instead of jumping right to judgement, my heart truly ached for her.  I wanted to walk up to her and give her a big hug.  I thought about the fact that this could have very well been me if I had not been forced to take responsibility for my well-being.  I, too, felt overwhelmed and underappreciated as I could tell that she did.  All she wanted to do was sink into the book she brought to read on the plane, and the family kept interrupting her.  Her reactions to their requests really had nothing to do with the interruption to her reading time, and had everything to do with built up anger and frustration over time. 

Witnessing this was a great reminder to me about the importance of taking time for self.  I used to feel bad about asking my husband to watch the kids while I just took time for myself.  I would ask him to watch them while I went grocery shopping or to run errands, but rarely just for “me time”.  When I did do it, I felt guilty about it the entire time and didn’t really enjoy the experience.  After dedicating this entire year to my well-being, I can say, without a doubt, that my reaction to stressful situations has improved dramatically.  I also noticed significant improvement in my reaction to my children’s outbursts.  So, what has been the key to this improvement?

There are five things that I have been doing consistently this year that I know contribute to whether I experience calm amidst the storms in life or whether I get swept up in them:

1.  Daily meditation/contemplative time

This is an absolute must.  When I go without it, I am more irritable and more easily annoyed by daily challenges.  When most people think of meditation, they think of sitting for an hour on a mat in a seemingly uncomfortable position.  While that is the approach some people take, there are many ways to meditate.  For me, the length of time varies (Generally between 5 minutes – 30 minutes) and so does the form.  The most important thing is that I do it.  It does not have to be super long to be effective.  Just 5 minutes in the morning and at night can make a tremendous difference.  

2.  Prayer

I’ve talked about prayer many times on this blog because it’s such a crucial element in maintaining a calm mind.  I’m not talking about prayer that asks God for “stuff” or to “fix my life”, but I’m talking about prayer that realigns ourself with our innate Divinity.  Prayer to connects us to the Kingdom within.  I’ve found the prayer process outlined in the “Song and Prayer” pamphlet of A Course in Miracles to be a tremendous resource for this type of prayer.  In addition, Spiritual Mind Treatment has also been useful to me.  I’m also in the process of reading a book about the work of the great mystic, St. Teresa of Avila, and her process for connecting with the true Self is powerful as well.  There are many resources for this.  They all point to the same truth – reminding yourself of Who God sees you as makes a tremendous difference in how you respond to life’s situations. 

3.  Daily inspirational reading/writing

Filling myself up with inspirational words on a daily basis has contributed tremendously to my peace of mind.  I even write reminders on sticky notes in my office when quotes really stand out to me while reading my daily devotional.  No matter your faith, this type of daily reminder of the Truth beyond the world we see can be a great contributor to peace of mind.  In addition, writing and reflecting on what you’ve read and how it can apply to your life can assist in making it more “real”. 

4.  Make time for what you love

Yes, we all have to take care of our finances, paperwork, children’s activities, and more.  That is a part of this life, but it does not have to be all of it.  Each of us has something that makes our hearts sing.  Making time for that on a consistent basis is so important.  One of my favorite things is music, so I weave it into my day and it’s such a mood lifter (even now, I have some light jazz playing in the background).  In addition, one of my favorite things has become spiritual development so I am now taking classes and making space in my life to grow in this area.  I have let my family know that this is a priority for me, and they now see the major difference it’s making in our day-to-day interactions.  No matter what your favorite things are, let those around you know that it’s important to you to weave those into your life.  You’ll be a better friend, co-worker, parent, spouse, etc., because of it!

5.  Gratitude

Spending time in the morning and evening reminding yourself of what you are grateful for keeps your cup full.  No matter what is going on in your life, there’s always much more to be grateful for.  When you are operating from a state of gratitude, no situation can overcome your joy!

These all sound so simple, but the key is really sticking to it.  Just like many of us “religiously” watch our favorite TV shows, we must “religiously” make time for ourselves.  Time to reconnect to our true Self.  Nurturing our mind and spirit will help prepare us to be unshakeable by the inevitable storms of life.  We will be firm in our conviction that “God is good, ALL the time!” 

“I am living and moving and having my being in the word of God, keeping the word of God alive in me, abiding in the word and letting the word abide in me.  I know, when I arise in the morning, or even before rising, on first awakening in the morning, it becomes necessary to consciously remember this is God’s day and God goes before me to ‘make the crooked places straight,’ God goes before me to bless, God will be with me every step of the way…I will keep my mind stayed on God; I will acquaint myself now with Him and acknowledge Him in all ways.” ~Joel Goldsmith

Keep shining!


Kandace Jones

About the Author:

I used to live life shackled by fear, doubt, and worry. I put on a happy face while navigating my day-to-day duties, but I was emotionally drained, stressed, and unhappy. When I hit rock bottom, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was determined to live life differently. I knew there had to be another way. Out of that determination, and guidance from Spirit, the "Living in the Light" blog was born. It documents my spiritual journey out of the darkness and into the Light. After nine months of publicly sharing my journey, and consciously releasing my attachment to the ego, I experienced a powerful spiritual awakening. I went from living in fear, doubt, worry, and stress to complete inner peace. My greatest passion has become assisting others on their own journey to inner peace. My spiritual memoir, From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light, is available now on Amazon and Click the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge, Living in the Light Retreats, 1:1 sessions, and the Living in the Light Community - all of which are designed to support your journey to inner peace. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and look forward to supporting you in any way I can!