The purpose of discussing peace this month is to help us realize that we all have access to it in our lives in each moment. Some moments are more challenging than others, but we can all find comfort in knowing that everyone experiences that. So when things get rough and you start to feel that peace is out of reach, know that you are not alone. We all have a choice to feel peace in the moment and that can be empowering.
Rather than resisting the challenge of finding peace, we can choose to embrace it and allow ourselves to be vulnerable in our pursuit of peace. Then perhaps we can see that dissolving the preconceptions of perfection that we believe are the requirements of peace is the actual path itself. That may not happen the first, second or even 10th time we try it, but practice is what will help us get there and ultimately, practice is what makes the master.
We asked everyone a two part question, the first being "what does peace mean to you?" Below you will see the responses we received. The top answers were acceptance, being in the moment, happiness and being yourself. For me personally, I find peace when I trust myself, practice self-compassion, and let myself be free to be me. It is interesting how most of us want that same thing. The second part of the question was, "how do you find peace in the moment?" We received some great answers and here are some of our favorites that may resonate with you as well:
"Grab a piece of paper and start to draw." -Diya, 7 years old
"Play with my friends and drawing."
-Aliyah, 6 years old
"I would say that yoga, hiking, listening to zen music and reading all bring me peace in the moment."
-Shahla, 31 years old
"I breathe and think of what I am experiencing from each of my five senses." -Jordan, 35 years old
"I feel peaceful when I am in nature with the trees, flowers, sunrise, sunset and ocean. A child's tenderness also gives me peace." -Blanca, 60 years old
In our first blog of the month, we spoke about peace being the path instead of a perfect destination that we can hopefully one day experience. I shared ways that I find peace in the moment and how that process can in turn help us find gratitude for the simple things we are blessed with in life. In the second blog, I shared how peace begins with each individual and how, with all the sad things that can happen in the world, we must start within to find connection and love within ourselves in order to find it in our world. In the third blog, our Co-Author/Illustrator shared that we are the ones that build barriers in our minds, thinking we have to live perfectly and/or be perfect in order to have peace, happiness and success.
All three blogs come back to this simple equation: Practice + Patience = Peace. Now, don't get me wrong. When I say "simple equation" I don't mean that it feels easy to implement this in your daily life off the bat. In the beginning, it may feel difficult and frustrating and maybe even ridiculous, but know that what you are feeling is completely normal. Just like building any new habit, it takes time to find more peace in your moments than stress. But if you want to get there, you have to practice and have patience with yourself through all the ups and downs. Like Saint Francis De Sales said,"Have patience with all things, but first of all, with yourself."
Being kind to ourselves and living in the moment as authentically as we can, flaws and all, is what leads to real peace. That is peace that no one can take away from us, a peace that can serve as an inspiration to others as well. Being a positive and real example for our future generations will show them it's okay to be imperfect and vulnerable, and that their power to choose how they live is what will change our world. Those actions we take will be what inspires our kids to do the same and share that with their future generations.
September 21st is known worldwide as the UN International Day of Peace (Peace Day). "Peace Day provides a powerful opportunity for students to consider the concept of peace and how they can be a peacebuilder in their world, as well as to express their visions for peace – personal, local and/or global," -peacedayphilly.org.
Here are some great activities that you can participate in with your children and students via Peace Day Philly that will help practice the value of peace, respect and compassion. Some of my favorites are:
-Creating peace rocks
-Planting a peace garden at home or school
-Create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for peace (with your children or as a small group in class) and share it with others
-Work with other kids and/or students to draw images of peace on sidewalks with chalk at a local school or playground
-Write a peace pledge or peace poetry
Check out the link above to learn about more fun and interactive activities to use in your community.
To share how peace is discussed around the world, here are 21 Multicultural Children's Books about Peace via Colours of Us for you to enjoy with your kids and classroom.
One of our favorite books about peace is called I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Our co-author/illustrator shared it with his 8 year old daughter and enjoyed how the book embodied the idea of being present, and how that sets the reader up for more peace in the future for themself and others.
We hope our blogs this month have helped you welcome some peace into your moments and given you the chance to share your experience with your children and other loved ones. Hope your journeys are filled with all that you need to become aware of your blessings, joy and peace in the moment and live the life you were meant to live.