Alecia Rice –
Q: You often talk about inner peace. How do you define and nurture it? — Peace-seeker
A: Dear Peace-seeker,
Someone once said, “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.”
Cultivating inner peace doesn’t allow us to bypass the storms of life. It calls us to expand our ability to calm the inner waters while the tempest is battering at the door. It’s about maintaining a pliable mind and a sense of flexibility that allows us to bend and sway with whatever life throws our way. It requires us to locate our hard, brittle places that easily get offended while finding ways to soften the sometimes harsh effects of engaging in a world that’s rapidly changing.
When I encourage others to be mindful of creating a sense of inner peace, I speak of seeking thoughts, actions, perspectives and relationships that assist in calming the mind and body by weeding out things that cause a sense of internal resistance, stress and anxiety. It’s about quieting the voices of the “monkey mind” which can leave one feeling restless and out of control.
My practice is to search myself for strands of uncomfortable feelings that show me where I’m expecting things to be different than they’re showing up to be. This reveals my attachments which allows me to work on plucking out the strands of inner resistance while setting my sights towards acceptance
There are various ways of altering the internal landscape to rightly align with a sense of serenity. One can develop a practice such as yoga and/or meditation which calms the mind and body. Other times, it’s about setting boundaries which adds structure that allows only the things into one’s personal space that one wishes to experience.
Shifting perspective is a magic key that can bring a sense of freedom by merely changing one’s mind. It’s a tool that I consistently use to evaluate different viewpoints, which can transform an agitated thought into something that brings ease to the mind. One option is to challenge our personal assumptions which are often based on perception more than truth and can be verified with good communication.
One teaching that has been quite helpful to me arose from the phrase “Walk your talk.” I notice that if I believe one thing yet I’m talking or taking action that is contrary to that belief, I don’t feel in alignment with myself, which causes a sense of internal fracturing. These splits create tension and a sense of anxiety that activates the monkey mind, and destroys inner tranquility, but if my words and actions are aligned, I feel calm and peaceful.
It’s important to discover and engage with tools that have the power to alter the way we think and feel inside. If we consciously choose these tools time and again, eventually we’ll find that the two wolves that are fighting inside merge and unify because there’s no longer an internal conflict. With time, the practice will become more automatic, so one no longer has to choose them with as much effort.
Q: Occasionally, I’ll catch reflections of my actions that are distasteful and not who I really want to be. I want to change but don’t know how, because it feels overwhelming. Can you help me? — Mirror Mirror
A: Dear Mirror Mirror,
Being human is a messy business. We’re all works in progress, and there are always things that we can improve about ourselves. I, too, have seen such unexpected reflections of myself and it can be difficult to take. These glimpses can be distressing and cause us to squirm internally. Once we catch a peek at these imperfections, it’s difficult to “un-see” what we have seen. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to cut ourselves some slack because we’re all doing the best we can. When we know better, generally, we do better.
We often have a hard time looking straight on at a reflection that’s less than admirable because it’s too uncomfortable. Sometimes, we need to “side-eye” the offensive quality to digest it in smaller doses that can be more easily assimilated. Eventually, as we get more accustomed to considering the affliction, we can begin turning towards it with a more direct gaze to steer ourselves towards more positive change.
Sometimes baby steps are all we can take. Yet, if we keep ourselves pointed in the direction of our highest intent, eventually we’ll make it to our goal of being and doing better. I think this serves us better than ignoring an issue because it’s too painful to face.
Alecia Rice integrates higher concepts with wisdom to bring forth balance, perspective and clarity. She’s a personal advisor, speaker and gatherer of women. For perspective on life issues, you’re invited to text questions and comments to 681-321-1109. Discussions continue at Ask Alecia on Facebook.