Thursday, June 5, 2008

I know I left my inner peace around here somewhere...

I just HAD to post this tonight. Tonight we have a guest post from Aileen McCabe-Maucher (plus more letters! RN, MSW, LCSW). She is a a licensed psychotherapist, registered nurse and author of the forthcoming book, The Inner Peace Diet that will be published by Penguin in December 2008. And, she's a mom to a two-year-old girl.

When I read Aileen's bio, I had one huge question:

"How can I be ambitious AND have inner peace? I’m an ambitious person by nature… but I want to find that peace. How can I do it?"

Here's what she had to say:

When I think of maintaing both a sense of inner peace and personal ambition the following quote by Lao Tzu comes to mind "By doing nothing one could accomplish everything.'"

As a busy mom, writer and psychotherapist, I rarely have time to "do nothing." As I type this entry after midnight, I have two loads of laundry in progress, a feverish child in my bed, and a desk piled high with work. A part of me thrives on burning the candle at both ends and having multiple projects in the works. However, a larger part of me, simply just wants to be relaxed and enjoy exactly where I am in this moment. For me, inner peace is simply about being in the present and knowing that everything will be okay, regardless of how crazy it seems now. Meditation is a great way to infuse your day with inner peace. I try to set aside ten minutes each morning to simply sit and breathe. During meditation, I slowly breathe in and out through my nostrils and gently let go of any thoughts or worries. I allow everything to be as it is. Having thoughts occur during meditation is as natural as breathing. I welcome the thoughts and then quietly let them go as I surrender to silence. At first, I found meditation challenging. I ,too, am ambitious. It was hard for me to sit still and I was eager to get started with the next item on my list. However, after a lot of practice meditation is now my favorite part of the day.

Paradoxically, I find that after this ten minutes of "doing nothing" but meditating, I am most productive. Some of my best ideas and freshest writing come to me after meditation. In a sense, meditation fuels my ambition yet also sustains my sense of inner peace.

That really spoke to me. I am a pretty driven person. I'm a check-it-off-move-to-the-next-thing type of gal. But lately I've been thinking about how to find a peacefulness inside. A small part of my brain wonders what other women do who are stay-at-home-moms... and who don't drive themselves batty trying to write until midnight each night, get workouts in every day, work a full time job ... and expect that they won't lose their temper or snap at their kids.

Surely they have some kind of peace. I'm considering taking a few weeks off from any writing whatsoever, maybe even a computer break for two WEEKS this summer, after my book deadline of course. But maybe I can work a little harder at getting that "everyday peace" that Aileen is talking about.

Thank you Aileen!


Carolyn Erickson said...

Great post. Having at least a few minutes of quiet, peaceful time in the morning can steady us for a whole day.

This post reminded me of something else I learned. During one of the busiest times in my life I was taught to rest in the moments between "things" I had to do. If you have one minute, you literally rest your mind for one minute.

My rest was to pray. Prayer can be a request, or an expression of thankfulness, or simply blowing off steam. :)

These principles really work.

Thanks for posting Aileen! And for bringing us this guest post, Heather!

Kai said...

I didn't really find inner peace until recently - being in a bad relationship, raising a special needs child - there was lots of external turmoil, and I kept carrying it all around, bottling it up inside.
Then, I found that letting it go, wiping the slate and starting again - every day - helped.
From there in - it's simply (hah!) been a case of 'everything in its place and a place for everything. If it didn't fit, I either let it go, or I found a modification to make it fit. It seems to be working so far.
I also take time, daily to meditate. I might be doing something dull, like hanging the washing at the same time, but it works for me :)