In the past you might have been taught that holding on at all costs is the most courageous thing to do. However, I think it is the letting go. Letting go of anger and your version of the truth requires far more courage and discipline. When you let go of what has been weighing you down, you feel lighter and happier. When you release your tensions every day, they don’t build up and harden your spirit and your arteries. You establish an internal set point of peace. No matter what comes your way, you return to your set point.
To experience serenity you do not need to live by the sea or in a country cottage, far away from stores, technology and your ambitions. On the contrary when you are serene, you are more productive, creative and flexible. You achieve because you know how to return to your internal reference point. Like ocean waves, you venture out into the world with all its unpredictable, ambiguous and destabilizing situations and then return to your internal, peaceful shore.
This is what the phrase follow your heart means. Your heart, a strong muscle beats powerfully, symbolizing action. But your heart also rests between beats, symbolizing relaxation. Similarly, internal peace is not a constant state. Internal peace means meeting stress head on and then letting it go. Just like you can alter your metabolism’s set point, you can alter your serenity set point. Here are some suggestions.
- Inhale and then exhale. Inhaling is the work portion of your breath. Exhaling is the relaxation part of your breath. When you consciously focus on your breath, think about inhaling life and then releasing stress.
- Try a walking meditation. When you are upset or sad, take a walk. Think about your legs taking you to your next happiness.
- Allocate daily worry time to face what is bothering you. Write down your worries in the form of a list. Objectify them. Think of how you can deal with each one to make peace with yourself.
- Try to write simple sentences about the negative situation or conflict. No adjectives or adverbs allowed! This means expressing the clinical facts – not the stories you build around them. Read your sentences out loud and try to see them from a more neutral perspective. It would be nice if everyone you know acted according to your rules and beliefs, but they don’t.
- Make sure that you meet your daily requirements for personal time and nurturing. Otherwise you will slow down your emotional metabolism.
- Every Sunday night take an inventory of the past week: What worked for you and what didn’t. Then plan out the coming week’s emotional menu for achieving your peaceful set point.
For more information on metabolizing your past, read my book, Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, Chapters 10, 16, and 17. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show