This morning, I’m sipping from a cup of warm water, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice, looking out to Seattle, and realizing I’m completely at peace. With so much going on in life – from work, friends, family, my problems, their problems, politics, it’s easy to let life get in the way of living. Last year was this really introspective journey in pursuing happiness and in it I learned about myself, what happiness looked like to me, and realized the recipe to my own sanity. As a society, we don’t emphasize the importance of peace nearly enough. We speak a lot about success and love while peace is only at times remembered when we’re on a beach somewhere and need an Instagram caption. When the Bible talks about peace, Jesus makes it seem as though peace is one of greatest gifts he could give us – because it is and it’s not something we should take lightly. I’m interested in my inner peace and I’m interested in yours – imagine how much you could conquer when your heart and mind are completely in the game with you.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
Step 1: Cut out Toxic Relationships (friendships too)
This should be step one in the guidebook of life. You know, as soon as we’re old enough to start forming relationships with other humans, there should be a crash course in how to determine if a relationship is toxic and what to do about it. If you find yourself in a relationship or friendship that is not adding to you, please do yourself, your heart, and your future a favor and let that go. I remember seeing a quote that was something along the lines of “remember that person you thought you couldn’t live without? Look at you now – living and stuff.” I say this to remind you that your life really does go on, with or without certain people. I do not take for granted the fact that I’m not in toxic relationships, because I’ve been there. I had to be selfish with my emotions, to realize that the most important commitment I had was to myself, and that people in my life who subtracted more than they added to me weren’t worth it. Our interactions with people are a vital part of our existence, but do not look to friendships and relationships to complete you – you are already whole. When friendships and relationships bring you down more than they lift you up, realize that one of the most important gifts you can have – your peace, is at stake.
Step 2: Nourish your soul, mind, body, and spirit
You get out what you put in. Give your soul, mind, body, and spirit all the goodness you possibly can. Eat well, read the ingredients on the back of the box, do 20 minutes of cardio instead of watching Snapchat stories. Feed your soul and spirit with good music and positive inspiration. Nourish your mind by reading more and challenging your own knowledge. When all parts of you are working together, you’re unstoppable.
Step 3: Get your finances in order
There are few things more stressful than money, especially when you check your Mint.com account at the end of the month and realize you spent a ridiculous amount on Starbucks and Uber. Recently I gave myself a number that I want to hit by the end of the Spring season. It was a bit of a reach, but not impossible and it’s given me something to work against. So, when I’m running late in the morning, I won’t take the $4 toll to work. It’s stressful when you don’t know where your money is going, that’s why I’m a fan of proactive and involved budgeting. A friend of mine recorded every single transaction in a pocket notebook. It kept him from overspending because he was very conscious of every purchase (he’d have to pull the notebook out every time). Although I don’t have the diligence for this, maybe it could work for you. My tips: direct deposit a portion of your income into your savings account so that you don’t think about it, subtract your months expenses at the beginning of the month, give yourself a goal to help curb unnecessary spending, and rock with the rest.
Step 4: Do more of what makes you happy
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you knew this one was coming. If I could have a motto for life it would probably have something to do with “doing more”, passions, and the word happy/happiness thrown in there somewhere. Recently (as in the past few weeks) I’ve realized that when I’m doing a lot, I’m more productive at everything I do. Now, when I’m doing a lot more of what I love, I’m not only hyper-productive, I’m on top of the world. Doing more of what makes me happy makes me feel as though I’m fulfilling whatever purpose I’m on earth for.
Traveling is one of those things for me. I live for spontaneous trips and think sunsets are more beautiful in foreign places. The past few years of travel blogs and sites have helped enervate the myth that traveling is a luxury solely reserved for the wealthy. Doing more traveling, yet keeping true to my step 3, have allowed me peaceful escapes from work and obligations.
Step 5: Unplug
Simply said, unplug. I don’t think we as people were meant to be plugged in at all times. Whether that’s constantly being around people or constantly being captive to our notifications. Schedule a whole weekend just for yourself, buy enough groceries to sustain you (or order Thai takeout if you’re me) and just disconnect with the world to reconnect with yourself. On the plus side, this is amazing when you really need to get the creative juices flowing.
As cliche as the idea of peace may seem, there’s nothing I want more for those around me than true happiness and peace. So, here’s to a peaceful week, month, and year.