Peace. Most everyone seeks it, but surprisingly less than we think are said to actually able to obtain it. Such a strange occurrence for those who seek it so badly, blinded by the stresses of everyday life, stuck in their own patterns.
We are all guilty of it. But should seeking something that brings us happiness, be this difficult? I certainly wish that it wasn’t! There are steps to getting closer to peace and it all starts with that first big step – Acceptance. First, you need to accept yourself – probably the most difficult thing to ever do – which is why most people don’t get any further. Also, it’s not a single moment thing – it’s ongoing for life. Once you initially accept yourself, you break down the barriers holding you back from moving forward. Only then can you truly assess what it is you want in your life, and what you don’t. Acceptance doesn’t mean accept the bad things too – simply acknowledge them, then work to improve them. You’ll learn it is the biggest relief to do just this first step.
I’ll give you a little backstory as it has only be very recently in my 31 years of living that I broke through and took that first step towards peace. I came from an abusive home – not physical, but emotional, which is often considered worse. I grew up in a very stressful environment, never knowing what was going to happen from one moment to the next. My mother did everything she could to protect my older brothers and me, but in doing so was subjected to a lot, which also affected us. To this day I still don’t understand the decisions she made, the path she continued to stay on. As I got older, that stress got stronger and started to really tear away at me. I had a lot of trouble learning in school, I had severe anxiety issues, heart issues, and other health concerns. All of which doctors could never properly diagnose. In my early 20’s I suffered a traumatic loss. I couldn’t understand why life was playing out this way – I had no control and I spiraled into a deep internal battle that lasted for about 5 years until I reached a breaking point. Why tell you all this? Well, about 6 years ago was that moment in time where I needed to decide if I would let all this consume me, or make efforts to change. I needed to take control of my life and change it. I did not want the life that my family led.
I started martial arts.
I know, that sounds like a weird thing to say, right? Believe me, it’s not. Something was calling me to this practice. I did my research before starting at this school, and the first time I called to schedule a trial class – I did not go. Excuses – not enough money, time, whatever. I was disheartened by that decision. A year later, I picked up the phone, scheduled a trial class and have never looked back. But what about martial arts has helped me so much? A major part of it was the introduction of meditation – a concept I knew little of, and mostly associated it with yoga. Meditation, although extremely difficult for the first, I want to say, 2 to 3 years, has opened the pathway for me to be a much calmer, happier person. My practice in BaGua Kung Fu has tremendously helped me relieve stress, focus, and get stronger. Most of those health issues I mentioned earlier – virtually gone. My intentions were put in a more positive direction and the results have been shining! I’ve been on this path for 6 years now, and really I just scratched the surface. In that time, so many positive things have surfaced – I became involved in a long-term, happy relationship, I got my first opportunity at a job in my field, I have been more focused to work on my own personal creative projects, etc. I have more positive influences in my life now more than I ever had. But of course none of this happened overnight! In fact, to be completely honest, I still am a stressed person. I still have anxieties that I battle. But what a world of difference from then and now! This is what I mean by ongoing for life. I am learning patience, I am learning to take a deep breath and breathe, I am learning to be positive, I am learning to be strong, I am learning to accept.
My journey to peace has only just begun. Everyone can take that first step – how will you?