on a Daily Basis
by Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.
When you think of serenity, what image appears? A monk
on a mountaintop? A roomful of meditators? Perhaps you
see yourself blissfully sitting by a stream in the
woods? Whatever the image, it likely depicts a place of
silence. We often think of "getting away from it
all" to "find" inner peace. But do those
two thoughts--getting away and finding--actually
increase the likelihood of our living a life of inner
peace? I think not.
First, if we believe that serenity is something to be
found…only by the lucky ones, rather than the natural
state that it is, available to each and every one of us,
we will keep looking for it somewhere "out
there." But, in fact, serenity is always
"within," not something we win in some
spiritual lottery, but something we experience to
greater and lesser degrees depending upon the decisions
we make. We can choose to live our days in ways that
illuminate and nurture this blissful state or we can
follow the well-worn path of turmoil, chaos, and
conflict, hoping that we’ll stumble on serenity one
Secondly, if we believe that serenity is inextricably
linked to "getting away from it all," we limit
our expectations (and therefore our actions) of when and
where we can experience inner peace. We relegate it to
meditation sessions, Yoga classes, weekend retreats, or
perhaps a week at the beach. Such a paradigm makes us
victims of daily stress and encourages an ineffective
wait-for-vacation method of refueling and rejuvenation.
So, what if we were to shift these two paradigms?
What if we were to see serenity as a precious gem that
twinkles within us…a treasure that we can unwrap
whenever we want to for a quick lift or a luxurious
basking in its brilliance? Now, that kind of thinking
promotes thoughts and actions that give rise to living
in serenity on a daily basis. Just imagine.
When you find your mind in overdrive, instead of
accepting it as your "normal" state, you take
power breaks that lift you up and let your serenity
shine through. You begin each day with clear intent,
before the day’s busyness tosses you about like a leaf
in the wind. You stop during the day to take focusing
breaks. You stop, breathe, and remember what’s
important. You don’t wait for more time to plan and
prioritize. Instead, you ask what’s important next,
today, in this moment. You weed out the day’s "shoulds"
and knee-jerk commitments that we all reactively make.
You let go of all that is neither rewarding to you nor
important to your mission. So, in a series of quick
centering moments--perhaps in less time that it takes
for a coffee break--serenity envelops you.
When fear, anxiety, or worry seem to creep into your
day, instead of carrying the weight as a burden,
something that cannot be undone without therapy, time,
or divine intervention, you do not wait. Instead you
remember that serenity is your natural state, so take
appropriate action to remove whatever is blocking that
inner peace. Perhaps you stop to say a prayer, repeat an
empowering affirmation. Maybe you forgive someone or act
with compassion for another. Perhaps you "go to the
balcony" as I like to say, and remember the many
mountains you have climbed in the past, or you take an
objective look at your current state and rate it on a
scale of 1-10. Maybe you ask for help or guidance, or
simply surrender your worry to the universe. Whatever
power break you take, it is with the belief that
serenity can be yours…right now…in this place. You
just have to decide to take a break, shift gears, and
stop the stress (fear response) that is like a drape
over your natural serene state. It is chronic daily
stress that wears down our courage, faith, and optimism.
Taking daily "encouraging" breaks builds our
resilience and keeps us connected to our core of inner
On days when you feel a bit hollow inside,
uninspired, perhaps…wondering if this is all there is,
you won’t throw up your hands, thinking, "It’s
natural, I’m getting old" or "Someday--when
I retire and have more time--I’m going to do what I’ve
been meaning to do." Instead, you will remember
that your daily choices are what polish your natural
state, and you will take action that reminds you of
compassion and connections outside of yourself. Perhaps
you’ll stop and offer a prayer of healing for someone
in pain, write a note of thanks, or call someone to let
them know they are loved. You might register for a cause
you wish to support, or teach someone something you’ve
learned. Write a page of a book you’ve been meaning to
write, or somehow begin work on your legacy. If you
decide to act in meaningful ways on a daily basis,
regardless of how small the steps might be--you walk
on the path of serenity.
It is amazing what a small shift in thinking can do
to make peace a reality in our daily lives. Our thoughts
change our expectations. Our expectations change our
decisions. Our decisions change our behaviors. Our
behaviors change our experience. And, of course, our
experience changes our thoughts. Consider these two
thoughts and see if you don’t experience a positive
Serenity is not to be found,
but simply allowed to grow.
We do not need "to get away" to experience
serenity, we need to "make it our way."
© Copyright 2003 Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D. All rights
Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.,
is a life-balance expert, author, and national lecturer. Through her writing, coaching, and seminars, she helps individuals and work teams reach their full potential. With a personal mission to nurture growth, she supports practices that lead to energy, empowerment, and the realization of meaningful goals.
Suzanne’s books include Teams At Work: 7 Keys To Success (Tower Hill Press, 1997), The Participative Leader (McGraw Hill, 1995), Create A Life That Tickles Your Soul (Tower Hill Press, 1999) available in paperback as well as
hardcover, and her newest, Recharge In Minutes (Tower
Hill Press, 2003). All are available online and from major retailers.
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