Countdown to a New Year: Peace
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As we countdown to a productive new year, may we manage our time in a way that promotes peace in our hearts, our lives, and our world. Following peace can guide us in how we productively use our time As I mentioned last week, during the four weeks of December we’ll be counting down to the new year, with each episode focused on a different aspect of what I see as the mission of this podcast. December is a busy time for many of us, with holiday gatherings, school programs for the kids, end-of-year rush at work, and more. But if you are using part of your time to listen to this podcast, I invite you to use it as an opportunity to pause, look ahead to the holiday and the coming new year, and give some thought to what you want out of the holiday season and the year.  TPW’s purpose is to help give you the tools and encouragement you need to manage four things: your time, your life, your stress, and your stuff. As part of our countdown look at those four areas, last week we considered, indirectly, managing our stress by looking for ways to find joy in our day-to-day lives.  This week I want us to consider together how to manage time by focusing on peace.  Like many episodes, this one--in fact, this whole December countdown--started as my own attempt to come up with ways to address something I’ve been pondering in my own life.  I am not always by nature a peaceful person. I’ve always been a worrier, always been a person who expects a lot of myself--even more than I expect of other people--and I naturally tend toward anxiety when things don’t go the way I expect or want them to. My perfectionist tendencies can lead to procrastination--I delay starting things I’m not sure I can do perfectly, so I end up scrambling at the last minute to complete things.  I’ve been remembering lately something someone told me many years ago about making decisions. I was pondering a choice that would have a big impact on my life, and was feeling anxious and stressed, unsure which was the right option. This person counseled me to follow peace. Meaning as I thought about the options before me, get quiet and listen to my heart: which one gave me a deep-within sense of peace (even if it was scary)? Go that way, she said. Even if I couldn’t see how it would all work out.  That phrase--follow peace--has been on my mind a lot lately, as I’ve found myself struggling to keep up with work demands during this hectic season. And I’ve been thinking about how that guidance can apply to how we manage our time. I thought it was worth digging into as we prepare for this holiday season and for a productive new year. What is peace? One dictionary I consulted defines peace as freedom from disturbance; tranquility. Merriam-Webster defines it as freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; harmony in personal relations.  According to one article I read, September 21 is designated by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace. Obviously this relates to the absence of war and international conflict, but I do wonder if peace among nations might be easier to maintain if we humans were better at being at peace within ourselves.  Like joy, peace is an internal thing, separate and independent from your circumstances. As writer Samantha Vincenty says in an article called How to Find Inner Peace and Happiness in the Chaos, “Peace of mind doesn’t require peace and quiet.” It doesn’t require us to retreat from the world and do nothing. We can be at peace even in the midst of a life of activity and accomplishment.
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