the (gentle but deliberate) pursuit of peace

When I started this new blog the mantra that kept coming to me over and over again was taking small but deliberate steps. I honestly didn’t know at that time how many other folks were thinking along similar lines as it seemed that everywhere I turned I was being inundated by messages of my need to “change the world,” and “hustle.” I don’t mind telling you it has taken me a good while to sort out that those messages for me are not only less than helpful, but really and truly harmful for my emotional sobriety.

Years ago when I was working through the 12 steps in another program, my sponsor cautioned me to step away from the constant busy-ness in my life as she could see a direct connection between my frenetic activity and my sobriety. I really did not take her words to heart, and while I did not pick up the drink again, (thank God!) I was still far from serene.

Now working through the steps in ACoA I have to make peacefulness a priority even in the midst of looking at some painful things. It is easy for me to grit my teeth and try to “do the work” but that approach has proven counter-productive. For me, the best way is still the “one step at a time,” approach and you might find it helpful for yourself no matter where you are in life.

I have made a practice of following threads that bring me great peace and joy. My list of interests is kept small and focused so that I am more likely to follow through. Additionally, I keep a list of sources that have provided ongoing inspiration for me in my pursuit of peace. I will share both here as it may spark something for one of my readers.

Favorite things (right now)

  • Emily Dickinson: I will be wrapping up a couple of projects related to my beloved poet and am hoping to make a visit to her homestead in 2020. We will see.
  • Japanese inspired ethos and art: so much of my mindful approach can be traced to Japanese philosophy and simplicity. I know very little but continue to be grateful for the influence. Most of my projects for this year have Japanese origin.
  • I am in the early stages of learning printmaking and hope to really dedicate some time to this art form in the new year.
  • Sashiko embroidery. I love the mindfulness of this technique. I look forward to doing more.
  • Origami and Kirigami. Paper crafting is not new to me, but I have been surprised at how much I love it and the contemplative nature of the practice.
  • Time in my back yard art studio (Three Lucky Cats:) by myself or teaching small groups of students.
  • Alone time (this is really critical for me)

Resources:

Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Birds, Art, Life, by Kyo MaClear

Books by Flow Magazine. Any of them, I have several.

A Little Book of Japanese Contentments by Erin Niimi Longhurst

ACoA resources and daily meditations

Rokelle Lerner books and meditations

Tiny Buddha website and books

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, PhD.

books and writings by Lev Gillet, A Monk of the Eastern Church

There are more, but I am trying to keep my lists manageable. What about you? Are there inner paths that lead to more peace for you? Can you make them (and yourself) a priority this year? Remember that you will be better able to serve others when you are serene on the inside.

In the pursuit of peace,

Emmie

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