The First Week of Peace

Last week in this post I wrote about my plans to make Spreading Peace my Lenten observance this year. Here's what I can say one week into the endeavor:

--Focusing on peace has helped me to feel more peaceful (I haven't taken any polls on how others under our roof have experienced the past week). Taking a moment to breathe deeply and to remind myself, I am bringing peace to this moment, has helped a great deal. Whether managing an obstructionist 4 year old, or slamming on my brakes behind the person who is texting while driving and just cut me off on the expressway, I have found that I can be more patient and forgiving if I just focus. As usual, it seems when we try to do something good for the world, we end up doing something good for ourselves.

--Getting enough sleep has made a huge difference. File this under Things Molly Has Had to Learn Over and Over and Over Again. For the first several weeks of this calendar year, I was getting up very early (4:30) in order to carve out some writing time. The result was a tired, crabby mommy with a few mediocre poems. As I turned my attention to peace for Lent, I knew I had to recommit to getting enough rest. I have the luxury of getting at least eight hours most nights, and it feels wonderful. And, of course, I am less crabby and more patient because I am well-rested.

--A little advance work in the household planning department goes a long way (re: where to file this, see above). My own personal downfall is meal planning and grocery shopping. I hate doing it, so I tend to put it off until we're out of...... well.... everything. The result: stressful afternoons trying to pull together Something Decent for dinner; no milk for breakfast; no fruit in the fruit bowl; you know the drill. With a little more planning ahead, our afternoons have been less stressful and our larder more stocked. Peace-o-meter on the rise. (Important note to caregivers of children age 3 years and under: This bit does not apply to you. If you have children 3 and under in your house, plan all you want while the gods laugh. And laugh. And laugh.).

--Being honest about my needs has made me feel more peaceful. Carving out time to write during the daylight hours. Asking Husband for a night off in the kitchen. Asking the kids for a little peace and quiet (which, I know, is like asking a waterfall to stop flowing...... but sometimes even thirty seconds of peace and quiet while one tries to explain one's need for peace and quiet is enough).

--I have yelled less. Yahoo.

--I have started thinking about other things - things outside the realm of under-my-own-roof - that could make the world a more peaceful place. In particular, I have been thinking about how hard it is to feel peaceful when you are under-nourished. Because of the way my chronic illness affects my body's ability to absorb nutrition, I actually know what that feels like. I'll tell you something: when you're not getting enough nutrition you never feel quite safe or secure; it's easy to lose hope; and your brain doesn't work very well. Also, there is no light in your eyes (which is a corollary to: It's easy to lose hope). I wonder how much more peaceful the world would be if everyone had enough to eat? So, in my effort to spread more peace I'm going to be sending $10 more per month to our local food shelf. It's just a little something, but it's something.

Peace to you.


ljchicago said...

Thank you for that. Much needed these days. I have not been peaceful enough lately because I -- and the children -- have cabin fever.

My prenatal yoga instructor (back when I used to exercise, five years ago now) sent me a Christmas card right before J was born. It now hangs above my computer and reads: "peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." (author unknown)

Molly said...

You're welcome, ljchicago. Cabin fever is a complicating factor this time of year. Plus you are still on the other side of the 3yo boundary. Hang in there! Love the quote about peace -- might have to borrow that.