Finding Peace In The Storm

I have been struggling with my life quite a bit lately; constantly asking myself “Why am I not doing what I want to do?”, “Why am I not in the place I want to be with my spirit and my heart?” , “When does it all fall into place?”

Then the other day I realized that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be in my life. Our lives unfold a certain way for a reason that all but the most enlightened of us cannot fathom. At least not while it is happening to us. Often we look back and think “I would not have chosen that for myself but I see now it was a great gift (or lesson or opportunity)”.

In many ways, I am a very fortunate woman. I am married to my best friend. I have two wonderful dogs who are my company and comfort. I live in a beautiful home in the country. We don’t have to worry about paying our bills and we have enough left over to travel a bit. And when I am in my home with my husband and dogs, I am content, at peace.

Still, there are other parts of my life that are battles for me. I work in Manhattan where the crowds and noise and pace can be overwhelming on a daily basis. My five hour round trip commute steals precious time from my days; there is only so much you can do on a train and the driving to and from the station (a 45 minute trip one way) requires my complete attention. WhenI get home at night, I’m too tired to do much more than take care of the dogs, eat and go to bed.

And there has been so much death and illness and sadness in the past few years.

But that doesn’t make me special. Everyone confronts these things sooner or later. That is a given. Yet I want it all to go away. I want the bad news to stop. I want the unpleasant aspects of my day to disappear. I want to spend my time enjoying the beauty in this world and passing the day with kind and joyful people.

So here, perhaps, is where I’ve let in a bit of the light.

No matter what I want to happen, life will unfold the way it unfolds. When I was a dancer and the class was struggling to bend our bodies into impossible positions, the instructor would tell us, “Stop fidgeting and moving about. Stay still and breathe into the position.”

Anyone can fell like a Zen master when all is going well. But that is not the reality. The reality is that there are death and suffering and evil acts in the world. That is the challenge, to find peace and contentment in the middle of the storm.

It’s not easy. Part of me, the ego part, doesn’t want to give up my anger and resentment over the “bad” stuff, the “why me?” stuff. Sometimes there’s a perverse satisfaction in that. But it’s short term. The real peace and contentment comes with letting all that go and just breathing into now.

I’m working on it. I’ll let you know how it goes.


In the meantime, 30 seconds of peace from my garden.

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