Happy 2020! May it be full of joy, peace, health and all things in the positive possibilities for you. If you have been following this “Finding Your Inner Peace Sanctuary” workshop space, thank you for being here with me. If you are new, welcome!
As we consider New Year’s resolutions and set our intentions for the months ahead, let’s take a moment to recap what we have explored since we first started this workshop in July.
As the founder and CEO of the Parvati Foundation, I emphasize the core value of inner peace for everyone on our all-volunteer team as we work to realize MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. Since inception five years ago, I have been deeply moved by the profound transformation I have seen in my colleagues, and that I too have personally experienced, as we each learn to live with greater compassion every day.
Last summer, I felt inspired to do more to support a peaceful world for anyone interested—at home, at work, within themselves or with others. So, I made the decision to pivot my blog to an ongoing workshop on inner peace.
As I set out on this new venture, I inwardly asked, how could I best share the gift of inner peace that has been a growing, essential foundation for all aspects of my life? This opened up the questions that I have been bringing to our process here together, such as: What does inner peace really mean? And how does inner peace support peace in the world?
I know many of us feel pain, even on a daily basis, as we face the ups and downs of our lives and as we look at the state of the world today. I decided that the best place to start was to offer some of what I have learned that helps me stay, to the best of my ability, present and with an open heart.
The notion of a sanctuary may lead us to think that to be at peace, we are closed off from the world, or from that which we find unsettling. But I have found the opposite to be true. The softer and more receptive I am, the stronger, more engaged and more alive I feel.
Like every aspect of GEM (Global Education for MAPS), of which this workshop is a part, “Finding Your Inner Peace Sanctuary” is about everyone coming into contact with the most powerful source of personal and global change: the melting of our own heart to revel in our interconnection. Through this, courageous action arises out of compassion for all.
Nature is our great mentor for inner peace. Science has proven that the universe as a whole is continually seeking equilibrium. The matter of our bodies is the same stuff of which Nature is made, and the energy that sustains us also sustains it. When we look at the way Nature exists as a loving balance-keeper within the whole, we come to appreciate the power and beauty we can find in a tree, a flower, or the ocean, and their inherent sense of beingness. Inspired by this, we discover we don’t have to fight for peace, build it, or go out in search of it. All we have to do is uncover it, because it is our true nature.
We are a part of Nature. Out of compassion for us and our place within the whole, Nature has been giving us wake-up calls. My most recent call, that led me to the North Pole and to start the Parvati Foundation – and eventually bring you this blog, was the dream of a whale. I imagine that you too have been feeling a wake-up call in some way in your life, which is why we’re meeting here. As we go deeper, we need to consider in which ways we are listening to wake-up calls when they come.
What keeps us from the wake-up call to inner peace? We can get caught up in misperceptions about peace—for example, that it is passive or blind. And we can spend a lot of energy looking for peace in the wrong places. We all have the tendency for what I call wanting, believing that what we need is outside of ourselves. The problem is, wanting doesn’t work, because it disconnects us from who we truly are. Worse, it fuels an undertow that can pull us down and leave us further from peace than ever. I have felt it, and I see it in others. Even when we say we want peace, we have the potential for painful emotions like anger, despair or resentment. So, what do we do?
We turn again to our great mentor. There, we discover that Nature’s state of balance is a reflection of three key qualities: openness, readiness and willingness. When we embrace these in any given moment, we move effortlessly from the head to the heart and experience love and interconnection. Through the past weeks, we have been starting to touch on the clarity that comes with the light of the heart.
I love the quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry from The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.” There’s a clue in this quote—a reminder that our perceptions, that which we think is solid, may not be so. This is empowering, because it helps us remember that we always have choice in how we respond in any given moment. There are two essential lenses through which we can see our life. One, the positive possibilities, is aligned with Nature, because it rests in the reality that we are loved and interconnected within the whole. The other, impossibilities, is out of harmony with Nature, because it believes we are separate and unloved. It is up to us to decide how we will perceive.
In these first weeks of 2020, we will continue our exploration of inner peace by discovering Nature’s three touchstones to help us know whether we are in the positive possibilities or the impossibilities in any given moment.
But before we do, I would like to open the floor to hear from you:
• How has this workshop gone for you so far?
• Do you have any questions about what you have been reading?
• Is there something you would like me to cover in greater depth?
• The suggested practices are key to lasting change. How have they been going for you?
• What benefits have you found in practicing inner peace?
• What challenges do you face in finding inner peace?
Please let me know in the comments here. Let’s grow together.
From my heart to yours,