Friday, May 18, 2012

Places of Peace

I have found over the years that there are three places where I think best and can find the most clarity. Often when I am confused or upset, I flee to these places in the hopes of making sense out of all the buzzing in my head. I would highly recommend finding your places of peace. I must refer to author Julia Cameron who writes about the art of creativity which has helped me in my life, especially when I'm down. In her book The Artist's Way, she outlines that writing in a journal daily and going on weekly artist dates with ourselves are key. In another of her books, Walking in this World, she adds another key element to creativity and peace. This is walking. Daily walks can help us sort out all the issues floating around in our heads and maybe even provide solutions for our problems. 
The walk is one of my peaceful places. While I recognize that walking is not a place, it does not ever matter where I am, as long as I can walk and think about everything and nothing as I please. I often don't find solutions to my problems this way, but more often than not I do find peace. Clarity often comes when I hear the birds sing or see a tree blossoming. It always strikes me when I come across a monarch butterflies because they serve as reminders of my late grandfather. A simple reminder like that can bring a smile to my face and assure me that while I may not have the answers now, I will in time. 
The second place where I find peace is in the shower, odd as it may seem. It is often when I am thinking of nothing that poetry pops into my head. I have to repeat the lines over and over in my head so I don't forget them between conditioning and drying off. A hot shower is often an escape for my mind and body. My mind wanders and I find it so relaxing that my fingers often shrivel up like prunes before I find that the water is growing cold and it's best to get out. 
The third and most important place of peace I have found is the beach. There is absolutely nothing like coming to a hill and hearing the ocean behind it. Just the sound of breaking waves gives me goosebumps. You can't replicate the feeling of sand between bare toes, of the seagulls flying high above, of the wind whipping your hair around your face. I become lost at the beach, surrounded by a bubble in which I am trapped most gratefully. I wander along the water's edge and stare at my feet so long that I forget about the vastness just to my right. Hearing the sound of a boat's horn, children's laughter, the ceaseless coming and going of foaming water, it's incredible. I always know when I'm upset or confused or just looking for answers that I have to find the water. Even just being in its salty presence calms my nerves. It is often by the water's edge that I make the hard decisions, that I uncover even harder truths. 
I walked through the park today, watching the water sparkle in the sunlight, and realized how much I'd been neglecting myself again. I haven't been as faithful with my journal or my posts. I haven't been as faithful to finding happiness. I'm having to settle on a job soon but am reminded that I don't have to settle in life. There are things we have to do in life, but it is us who dictate how we choose to do them. We decide our attitudes, we make the decisions concerning our own lives. That's something that can never be taken away and should never be forgotten. Above all, you are the most important person in your own life. So don't hide just because you've grown comfortable. Don't become apathetic to choices that only you can make. If you don't stand up for yourself, how do you expect others to?

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