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Practical Peacefulness

My word for 2017 is "Peace". Today I'm thinking about practical ways I can make my life more peaceful.

What is peace? The first definition in the dictionary is, "the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world." Well, that's not really helpful on a personal level, although I do pray for it regularly. It's actually the seventh meaning in the dictionary that applies on a day to day basis: "freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession; tranquility; serenity".

I've been pondering the things I can do around the house and during my daily routine that will help bring peace. Here are some of what I've come up with.

1. Decrease clutter. Get rid of things. "Simplify" was my word of the year a few years ago. I was surprised at how much energy it takes to keep my environment from getting cluttered, but it is so worth it. Today, I cleaned out my closet and got rid of clothes I don't wear often or that I don't love. Wow, I've accumulated a lot of clothes in the last couple of years. I also cleaned the upstairs closet where we keep luggage, gift wrap, and Patrick's clothes. Just seeing the effect makes me feel happy. My next project is to put the Christmas decorations away.

2. Quiet. This isn't too hard for me. I'm home by myself for most of the day and I enjoy the quiet, especially when I'm reading.

3. Devotional Time. This is sometimes called "Quiet Time" by Evangelicals. This is my time when I meditate (mindfulness meditation), pray some liturgical prayers, then extemporaneous prayer. I've been doing this regularly for a couple of years and I don't do well if I miss a day. It really helps to settle my brain and my emotions.

4. Music. You would think that I would listen to music much more than I do having such musical children. (Lydia's three years in college were as a music major and Christopher is studying to be a high school choir director.) I really should spend more time listening to music when I'm knitting or exercising because I know how it helps my spirit to be calm. I love classical, 60s and 70s, and Broadway along with some Christian worship music. I'm going to be more intentional about listening to music.

5. Exercise. This is just one of those good habits that makes me feel better. Usually. Today I walked on the treadmill for a third of a mile and just got some hip pain for my trouble. Walking outside is usually good for me, though, and I do a lot more of it when the weather is warmer. I'm also going to be more direct about doing stretching and strengthening.

6. Reading. OK, this one is easy for me. I don't really need to try to read more. I read books and blogs. I do want to try to read larger chunks of the Bible. But, I'm a reader and I think it's something that's good for me.

7. Working with my hands. For me, this is knitting. I don't need to add this as something to do more of, but to remind myself that knitting is a very peaceful activity. I like to keep something easy on the needles that I can do while I'm talking with people as well as something that requires a little more brain power.

When things are getting overwhelming, I have this list to come back to. And, if this doesn't seem to be working for me, I may be revisiting and revising. Your list

may be different. What things make you more peaceful? What would you add? Your comments are input are welcome!


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