OKAY. OKAY. I know what you’re thinking… who does this guy think he is to change the lyrics of our most beloved St John Lennon? But, really, I haven’t changed the words as much as I’ve merely tweaked them.
If John Lennon thought the 60’s and 70‘s had their troubles they were nothing compared to what we face today in our own worlds: work, family, friends, health, money, rent, cars, kids, moving, savings, addictions, death, and shoot… I haven’t even brought up soccer and little league for crying out loud.
Our lives are crazy busy, crazy chaotic, and even crazier stressful.
In this post I’m not writing about peace vs. war. I’m writing about peace vs. life! Every stinking day there seems to come a time when we simply want to scream, “Gimme an frickin break!”
Peace and Love
Some years back I looked up character qualities in a Bible Concordance. The number one character quality was obvious. Love was used around 630 times. I bet you’ll be shocked at number two. It wasn’t kindness or goodness or charity. It was Peace. Yeah, the word peace is used around 450 times.
Now I ask you, how many talks have you heard about Love? Like dozens? Now, how many have you heard on the subject of peace? For me it is zero! And yet I’m willing to bet that when we really think about it, peace is the thing we want most in life!
Beth G., a very successful friend, once told me, “You know Charlie, I’d like to have just one day in which I was actually bored.” This comment really struck a chord with me. There have been days I would have settled for boredom, with nothing to do but lay under a blankee and sleep.
We all live with way too much stress. It is literally killing us. Research has indicated that up to 40% of heart attacks are due to stress.
What Causes Stress?
(Apart from obvious causes such as death, divorce, life-threatening events, etc.)
Now, I know you can come up with a whole different list, but here’s some stressors I’ve found:
- Work. Research shows that work is the number one producer of stress. Bitchy bosses, or customers. Lazy, gossipy co-workers. A fear of inadequacy. Impossible deadlines. Too many hours. The commute. And on and on.
- Finances. It is the number one cause of family fights and divorces. Can I pay the rent, buy enough food, and have adequate clothing? And then there’s the “do we have enough money for vacation, a new car, savings, eating out, movies, toys (for kids and adults)?”
- Being Late. This is my personal number one reason for stress. I hate to be late and yet I always seem to be late and so I’m always stressed out. I get speeding tickets, have accidents, drive rudely and then feel like a total jerk when I show up late.
- Clutter. OMG!!! I am a neat freak in my family room, kitchen, bathroom and living room. But my office is a total mess. Every month or so I clean my office and within 48 hours it’s a mess again. And Please!!!! Don’t open a closet door. I refuse to be responsible for what falls on you.
- Change and Uncertainty. I love this one because it’s not my problem. I love change (except at church and in the locations of my furniture—go figure.) And I thrive on uncertainty. It makes life fun for me. But for most people it’s almost impossible to bear.
- Soccer, little league, swimming, basketball, lacrosse… the list goes on. Pam and I had one child and sports took up a full 20-25 hours per week. Having more than one child is literally beyond my comprehension.
Peace and Serenity
For all of the reasons I listed above I say All We Need Is… PEACE. What if we were content? What if we let the world be the world but found some way not to internalize it?
I honestly think it is possible. Well, maybe not totally, but we can certainly reduce our stress enormously if we practice some habits that sages throughout history have practiced.
Here’s a list of things I do to try to find peace in a world that seems to know nothing of the word.
- Meditation. As I have been obsessing on podcasts lately of highly successful people in a multitude of fields I would estimate that a full 90 to 95% of them are active practicers of some form of meditation. Meditation starts my day with an entirely different framework. I am serene, totally relaxed and ready to face the day.
- Elimination. Each day I make a list of what needs to be done that day. But in making that list I am also deciding “what doesn’t need to get done that day.” Tim Ferriss, my current guru, has taught me that elimination, delegation, and automation are keys to a serenely productive life. My goal is to get to the point where I only do what I (and no one else) can do.
- Acceptance. In my world-view I believe that a grand deity has inexplicably designed my personal life. Therefore if I accept the day as a God-given opportunity then I can be more peaceful about obstacles. Obstacles are just different things I must deal with.
- Gratitude. Boy, do I have a lot to be grateful for. My wife and son and house and work and friends and the oh-so many things I get to do. Even if some of them are a pain in the butt. My guess is that we all have a grateful list if we only think about it.
Yes, What We Need is …Peace.
What about you? Which seems to rule your life, troubles or peace? What if we all discovered peace? What would the world look like? Jesus is quoted as saying, “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives…” What do you think the difference is between spiritual peace and worldly peace, or is there a difference? Please comment and let me know.