Our conversation veered from decisions and stresses to emotions and desires. Then Jenna said, “I just want to live a life with peace for my family and for me.”
Yes. The sentence sunk in and settled deep.
There is so much buzz about happiness right now: choosing it, raising it, hardwiring it; but I’m voting for peace. Peace has a different quality about it. It’s a bit more weighty. I imagine grounding in peace, like lying on the expanse of sand at Ocean Beach.
We continued to toss around the complexity of our lives and it became apparent to both of us that you cannot chase peace. The very act of pushing your way towards it removes the prize.
The times when we most intensely seek peace is often when there is an underlying change that needs to happen. The focus of my decade of corporate change management work was always to move people and organizations through a change as fast as possible with minimal disruption.
But the more I focus on personal change, I understand that sitting in the space of disruption is meaningful time spent, as unpeaceful as it feels.
This week I spoke with author Dr. Susan Plummer about her new book Deep Change. She outlines a fascinating seven-stage process on the journey of deep personal change. Right smack in the middle of the journey is the shift of The Stilling:
“Where we arrive at the threshold between our known selves and world and what can feel like nothingness, with no new horizon in sight, suspended between two ways of being. In this state we wait, with our imaginations stilled, open to the unknown yet unaware of what is to come in the future.”
I breathed a sigh of relief while reading these words that put shape to a nebulous unsettling space. Peace percolates from within our place of deep knowing. You can’t race to or push through or chase after it. Connecting to your powerful inner rudder requires stillness.
And then with your compass in hand, peace can mean action: big, bold, uncomfortable, risky action . . . that embraces the change that's been brewing and brings you that freedom known as peace.