INTERACTIVE: Practice Peace in the Storm
by Stephanie Ludwig, PhD, MDiv, MA
A note before reading: This article is meant to be experienced. Please pause for a moment, right now. Shift out of reading to gather information. Shift into experiencing the words, to breathing and sensing the words, to practicing the words. When you’ve made the shift, please proceed. And take all the time you need. I’ll be right here with you.
We are in a storm that is growing exponentially. Despite our desire to find controlled safety somewhere in the world, the only place where peace is available – true, lasting peace – is within us. Within you.
– Sit with these words for a moment: True peace is available within me.
– Speak these words aloud to yourself, right now: True peace is available within me.
– Repeat the words aloud, slower this time: True peace is available within me.
– Now repeat the words aloud as slowly as possible: True peace is available within me.
– Linger here with these words. Feel them in your body. I’ll wait for you.
Practicing peace begins with your breath.
Take a moment to allow your breath to flow gently into your body through your nose. Allow your breath to flow out of your body through your nose. Feel the gentle sensations of breathing as your belly fills with breath on your inhale and is emptied of breath on your exhale.
Pause here to feel those sensations through 10 cycles of inhaling and exhaling. I’ll wait for you.
Take a moment now to remember that your breath is always breathing you without any effort on your part. When you let go into the natural rhythm of your breath and allow it to breathe you, you begin to rest in the peace within you.
With each exhale, now, allow yourself to drop deeper and deeper within until you begin to reach a stiller space, a quieter space, within. This may take some time. It may take closing your eyes. Pause your reading until you get there and then return to read from that place. Take all the time you need to practice this. I’ll wait for you.
Now, remember that you possess the inner power to inhabit the peace within you and choose how you will respond to any situation. Including this storm. You have the power to choose how perceive this storm. You have the power to choose your behavior within the storm. Sit with this truth for a moment.
To inhabit peace within begins with choosing to drop your resistance to what is. Drop your resistance to this storm, to being in this storm. This is where you are. Pause here, and drop your resistance one exhale at a time. If you feel the resistance taking hold of you again, offer that resistance kindness and compassion. Continue dropping resistance with each exhale. Take all the time you need to practice this. I’ll wait for you.
Welcome the experience
Now, welcome the experience of being in the storm. Welcome it with openness and acceptance. Welcome it completely. The storm will be what it is. The storm will do what it does. Pause here, and with each inhale you take welcome what is. If resistance reappears, drop it again with each exhale. Take all the time you need to practice this. I’ll wait for you.
Now, let go of any effort to control the storm. The reality is: You are not in control of this storm. Pause here, and with each exhale soften into this letting go of control. Feel your body soften into the freedom of letting go. Take all the time you need to practice this. I’ll wait for you.
What is present here? Take a moment to observe the sensations, feelings and emotions, and thoughts moving through your awareness.
This is practicing peace. Do it for yourself. Share it with someone. Read this to someone. Keep practicing. I’ll be with you through it.