Designated Days or not, it’s Always the Right Time to Practice Peace & Gratitude
I woke up early this morning, as I often do here in Hawaii, to enjoy some serious quiet time before the unpredictable craziness of the day even has a chance to set in. I glanced at my social media feeds and the first thing that caught my eye was Deepak Chopra’s daily live podcast asking us to share the message that it’s “International Peace Day.” Who knew? In my world, I consciously choose to make PEACE the theme of every day. My early morning meditations are typically themed around choosing peace no matter what the day brings, as I’ve learned it always trumps the alternative. And of course I’ll follow Deepak’s lead and spread the buzz because how cool to see my spiritual gangster hero of sorts telling the world to please hashtag posts with #HugsForPeace and to please focus for the next 24 hours on spreading peace. While it’s already my lifestyle of choice, the world needs so much help in this arena. We can all do as Deepak asks and do our small part to spread the importance of choosing peace. On that note, give extra hugs to people you care about and be extra kind to everyone today. Compliment a stranger. Ask someone how you can help them. Don’t be afraid to smile more than usual. All of these tiny gestures tend to brighten someone’s day which in turn, will translate to a sense of peace for those involved who may spread it to other.
After viewing Deepak’s peace podcast, I opened my email and the one that jumped out at me had the subject line “Happy World Gratitude Day.” What? Is that even possible? The world is being asked to celebrate both peace AND gratitude on the same day? The irony is too much ignore. Why aren’t we celebrating these essential virtues around-the-clock, every single day? I say that in jest, as I know it’s obviously easier said than done. We live in a world where bombs are tossed flippantly into city streets and lives are threatened by lunatics around the globe. It’s chaotic on a global basis, and for most of us, on a smaller scale that often poses as monumental given we don’t always put peace at the top of our priority list. I didn’t know how to for many years, it truly didn’t seem an option when I had parents battling cancer, was dealing with business challenges, struggling with personal relationships going bust and a whole host of other nonsense I’ve written about ad nauseum.
The point is, every day can and should be celebrated in a manner filled with both peace and gratitude. My favorite saying lately, and one I on repeat in my own head, is “I am grateful for all that I have, and all that I don’t have.” This topic came up over lunch with a friend yesterday, and she thanked me for the reminder of this. There are so many horrible things going on in the world around us, and the lesson to learn is be grateful for what you have but even MORE grateful for what you don’t. If something doesn’t work out as you hope or envision, so what, be grateful you get a chance to experience whatever comes next. Don’t question what might go wrong if you make a decision you know in your heart is right for you, just be grateful you are in a position to make the right decision.
We’ve all experienced our own version of chaos, disaster, stress, anxiety and fear on some level. It’s impossible to go through life immune to these challenges. Been there, done that. Amidst the fun and adventures and incredible life experiences I’ve enjoyed as a result of always following my gut instinct to take the non-traditional path, I’ve also dealt with stress in every way, shape and form the past few decades. While it’s now really nothing more than a collection of bittersweet memories, anything I chose to let go of is what truly gave me the opportunity to be extra grateful for the strength I gained in being forced to level up and confront what I truly wanted out of life.
As far as stress and worry and overthinking about things I can’t control: I’m over it. That’s what allows me to live in peace surrounded by joy…grateful for everything and everyone that does contribute to my life in a positive way. I’ve also learned that not giving a crap what people think is also the key to the magical way of being able to stay in a state of happiness rather than the alternative. Those who know me (or follow me on social media) know I’m not afraid to live by the mantra “Fuck whatever doesn’t make you happy.” There’s a reason meditation apps like Headspace and Ananda now exist, as pretty much everyone needs to take time out to quiet the mind and give peace and gratitude a chance to enter our brains despite what else is going on around.
We each have the opportunity, always, to find peace among the chaos and to choose joy instead of living in a state discontent. Life is short, not permanent and it’s always a choice to enjoy every moment. Take time to notice the small things as well as the WOW moments. Aim to create more WOW moments so you can die with memories not dreams. Don’t regret anything that makes you happy and brings you peace. On that note, whatever you do today, choose peace, choose happiness and never forget to be grateful for all that you have and all that you don’t have. The world will benefit…not just on these designated Peace + Gratitude days…but everyday. Amen.