Get Your Peace Together

Get Your Peace Together

You have heard a similar expression, right? What would happen if you got your peace together this year? How would your life change? How would life change for others around you? What if enough people got their peace together and that peace rippled through our country?

I am starting a 3-month series devoted to helping you and others experience more peace. We will cover topics like peace with your mind, body, and spirit. We will include topics around peace with your significant other, family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and even random encounters. We will talk about peace with money and peace with things. Let’s get our peace together!

Anxiety is an enemy to peace. You cannot experience peace when your mind is captured by anxious thoughts. When I write this blog, our anxiety as a nation is at an all-time high of around 50%! One out of two people are experiencing abnormally high anxiety. As I examine my inner peace, I realize my anxiety is heightened. The anxiety shows up by losing sleep, thinking about exposure to COVID-19 (doctor gave me a 50/50 chance of survival), navigating the business terrain, helping aging parents, taking care of family, and the desire to impact others with peace before my death. When I stop to consider everything on my plate, there is a considerable amount of stress. I have handled stress pretty easily for most of my life. At 64, my energy level is not the same as my 40-year-old self. We all have stress and anxiety. The question? How are we dealing with it?

Anxiety can be annoying or debilitating. For me, anxiety means loss of sleep at times, lack of energy, inability to focus, and sometimes feeling a bit paralyzed. For you, it can be similar or far worse. Some people have severe anxiety making everyday life difficult. You may need medication to help settle your mind until the stress and anxiety lessens. Some need medication on a more permanent level due to biochemical imbalances in the brain.

Here are a few tips for those of us facing some anxiety:

1. Mind Dump the things you THINK about which create anxiety. I use this technique often when my mind is over active going to bed or when I wake up in the middle of the night.  You may be anxious about what you are not getting done. I need to get everything on my mind out of my head and on paper. This helps me. The next step is creating a plan of action to get things done. A realistic plan! If your plan is unrealistic, then you end up creating more stress and anxiety. Your plan must include a calendar to schedule the day and time you will get it done.

2. Think through the worst possible scenario. Now, what would be the results and how could you move forward? We often think we could not survive. We can survive, and eventually, often thrive. As a mediator, I often encounter people at some really difficult moments in life. They wonder what lies ahead. Initially, life was difficult. Then, the sky parts and the sun emerges. Life goes on. They realize many of their anxious thoughts were unfounded.

3. Meditation or Prayer daily. There are many studies to support the physical and mental health linked to meditation and prayer. I know of no other practice more helpful than exercising your mind to create stillness and peace. You need to learn to build and flex your brain muscle to bring peace and quiet. The more you practice, the faster and deeper you can go to a place of peace of mind. I will delve more into this practice in one of the future blogs.

Anxiety is the enemy of peace. Hope some of these thoughts will be helpful for you to create some peace. Let’s get our peace together changing our lives and those around us!

Shalom

Doctor Peace

Three Actions to Create Peace and Prosperity in 2021

Three Actions to Create Peace and Prosperity in 2021

My brother-in-law, Kurt, would always wait until the last minute to send us a gift. It was not like he was searching for the perfect gift. He would always send money, as late as possible. One year, it even arrived on Christmas Day. He was generous and fun. We miss Kurt. He still reminds me of the ultimate last-minute gift giver.

How about you? Need some last-minute gift ideas that will not break the bank as well as bring peace and smiles?

#1 – The Gift of Encouragement. This gift does not cost a thing yet brings a powerful effect. Write a hand-written letter, not just a note, with the healing and uplifting words of encouragement. Depression and anxiety levels have risen to records high in our nation. People are maxed out. When stress is high, patience is low. Our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors get our worst instead of our best. Those closest to us often receive the brunt of our frustration and anger. In the letter, specifically, call out character traits and actions unique to them that you and others value. My wife and I spend a decent amount of time separated these days between new grandbabies and caring for aging parents. We have a tradition of writing to each other every day while separated. During one week of separation, I wrote Sharlyne a note every day calling out a specific character trait or actions which not only I but others appreciate about her. She printed those out and place them in our fireproof safe. Without really thinking much about it, I gave her a gift of a lifetime. Words are powerful. Steward them wisely. Give a gift to others that does not cost a thing that will last a lifetime.

#2 – The Gift of Time. This is the gift that keeps on giving. For my 60th birthday, Sharlyne and my kids created a book of pictures with letters from each child and significant others. I treasure the book for all the reasons mentioned above. As I read each letter from my children, one thing stood out. Time. I was busy but made space for weekly Daddy Dates with my kids. I made space in the mornings to cook breakfast and blessed them before going off to school. The gift of time can be special moments that came from planning and intention. And, the gift of time can be simply showing up and being present moment by moment, day by day. How about wrapping a present of time this Christmas? A weekly “date” with your spouse. Don’t need to spend much money. You can take turns planning your weekly time together. The focus is time, not elaborate and expensive dates. How about your kids or friends? Create space regularly in your calendar. If something got in my calendar, then it happened. Without clearing the space, chances of it happening were rare.

#3 – The Gift of Serving. You may be a server constantly thinking of how to help others. If serving others is not top of mind for you, this can be an amazing gift to others around you. How about doing all the dishes for the Christmas meal? Or how about recycling boxes and Christmas paper after gifts are opened? Want a stretch? Plan to come back the day after Christmas to help clean. You can help take down Christmas decorations after New Year’s. Even better, think of something your partner, friend, co-worker, or neighbor would appreciate all year. Shoveling snow, bringing in the garbage cans, getting or making coffee, mopping the floors, making food, and so many other ways to serve that simply tell others you care. Life is not about you. Life is about sharing and caring. Give the gift of serving for Christmas and all year. Sharlyne is naturally a server. When I serve her, it speaks volumes. Little things like cleaning her car, loading the dishwasher, making her a latte constantly communicate she is important and loved.

There you have it. Three simple gifts that will not break the bank and bring peace and smiles to those you love. Merry Christmas from Doctor Peace.

Three Last Minute Gift Ideas That Bring Peace and Smiles

Three Last Minute Gift Ideas That Bring Peace and Smiles

My brother-in-law, Kurt, would always wait until the last minute to send us a gift. It was not like he was searching for the perfect gift. He would always send money, as late as possible. One year, it even arrived on Christmas Day. He was generous and fun. We miss Kurt. He still reminds me of the ultimate last-minute gift giver.

How about you? Need some last-minute gift ideas that will not break the bank as well as bring peace and smiles?

#1 – The Gift of Encouragement. This gift does not cost a thing yet brings a powerful effect. Write a hand-written letter, not just a note, with the healing and uplifting words of encouragement. Depression and anxiety levels have risen to records high in our nation. People are maxed out. When stress is high, patience is low. Our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors get our worst instead of our best. Those closest to us often receive the brunt of our frustration and anger. In the letter, specifically, call out character traits and actions unique to them that you and others value. My wife and I spend a decent amount of time separated these days between new grandbabies and caring for aging parents. We have a tradition of writing to each other every day while separated. During one week of separation, I wrote Sharlyne a note every day calling out a specific character trait or actions which not only I but others appreciate about her. She printed those out and place them in our fireproof safe. Without really thinking much about it, I gave her a gift of a lifetime. Words are powerful. Steward them wisely. Give a gift to others that does not cost a thing that will last a lifetime.

#2 – The Gift of Time. This is the gift that keeps on giving. For my 60th birthday, Sharlyne and my kids created a book of pictures with letters from each child and significant others. I treasure the book for all the reasons mentioned above. As I read each letter from my children, one thing stood out. Time. I was busy but made space for weekly Daddy Dates with my kids. I made space in the mornings to cook breakfast and blessed them before going off to school. The gift of time can be special moments that came from planning and intention. And, the gift of time can be simply showing up and being present moment by moment, day by day. How about wrapping a present of time this Christmas? A weekly “date” with your spouse. Don’t need to spend much money. You can take turns planning your weekly time together. The focus is time, not elaborate and expensive dates. How about your kids or friends? Create space regularly in your calendar. If something got in my calendar, then it happened. Without clearing the space, chances of it happening were rare.

#3 – The Gift of Serving. You may be a server constantly thinking of how to help others. If serving others is not top of mind for you, this can be an amazing gift to others around you. How about doing all the dishes for the Christmas meal? Or how about recycling boxes and Christmas paper after gifts are opened? Want a stretch? Plan to come back the day after Christmas to help clean. You can help take down Christmas decorations after New Year’s. Even better, think of something your partner, friend, co-worker, or neighbor would appreciate all year. Shoveling snow, bringing in the garbage cans, getting or making coffee, mopping the floors, making food, and so many other ways to serve that simply tell others you care. Life is not about you. Life is about sharing and caring. Give the gift of serving for Christmas and all year. Sharlyne is naturally a server. When I serve her, it speaks volumes. Little things like cleaning her car, loading the dishwasher, making her a latte constantly communicate she is important and loved.

There you have it. Three simple gifts that will not break the bank and bring peace and smiles to those you love. Merry Christmas from Doctor Peace.

Thanksgiving creates a peaceful heart

Thanksgiving creates a peaceful heart

For many families, this is one of the most difficult Thanksgivings for some time. Loved ones are missing around the table. Health workers are stretched thin as hospitals are filling up. In many states, restrictions are preventing families from gathering. For some, that is a good thing because family is a hard thing. Anxiety is becoming a pandemic as well as COVID-19. People are fearful and depressed. We are Zoomed out. We long for some sense of normalcy of a pre-COVID world. When will it end? Peace is evasive. Hard to be thankful for much in 2020.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can create peace in your heart and the hearts of others around you this Thanksgiving.

1. Cultivate gratitude in yourself. It all begins with YOU! If you want peace, you need to get your peace together! A great starting point? Gratitude. Simply start your day, every day, with this simple exercise of filling in the blank. “ I am gratitude today for ________________.” I have journaled for over 40 years. I have 40 years of cultivating a heart of gratitude. What is the result of a heart of gratitude?

  • Gratitude helps your relationships, all of them!
  • Gratitude improves your physical health.
  • Gratitude improves your mental health.
  • Gratitude increases empathy and decreases anger.
  • Gratitude helps you sleep better.
  • Gratitude improves your self-esteem.

(based on Forbes article in 2014 by Amy Morin)

2. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude for family.

  • Handwrite Thank You notes to family members, all of them, even the grouchy ones!
  • Think of something very specific and unique to the family member and WHY you are grateful.
  • For fun, include a simple gift: a gift card, tea bag, candy bar, etc. The gift should be something the person would enjoy and conveys your thoughtfulness.
  • Tell them of your gratitude. What is better than a handwritten note with a small gift? Speaking words of gratitude directly to the person, face to face (or FaceTime to FaceTime in our COVID world).

In September, my wife lost her dad. She was so grateful she had planned to see her parents and the plane ticket was already purchased and time set aside. She was able to see her dad almost every day for the last week of his life in the hospital. She was grateful the health care workers allowed the family to gather around his bedside. For other loved ones during COVID, they died alone. Be grateful for every day with people you love. Let them know it. May your grateful heart of peace spill over to family creating peace for them as well.

3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude for your community.

  • During COVID, neighbors became friends. Younger neighbors shopped for older neighbors.
  • Neighbors held virtual Happy Hours across the street from one another.
  • Co-workers covered for each other when one was sick.
  • People stayed home to keep others safe.
  • In isolation, people longed for people. We wanted to feel human touch, we wanted to hear a human voice, we wanted to see a human face (not just virtually). We needed community. We are grateful for our tribes.
  • We realized we matter to one another. As much as the media would tell us otherwise, there is far more that unites us than divides us.

I am grateful for community: my team, my neighbors, my House Church, my city, and for those who serve us all. These people most of all need to hear “Thank You”. Thank you for serving. Thank you for sacrificing. Thank you for caring for those whom you have never met. And for those whom we know, let them know our gratitude. Tell them. Often. Help them to never forget. May your grateful heart of peace pass peace to your community. And, when peace becomes viral, maybe, just maybe, we will begin living in a more peaceful world.