Learning to Choose Peace

Peace is a choice. You don't get handed a peaceful life. In the midst of chaos you have to choose peace over pain.

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This lesson has been resonating in my head all month. Am I capable of choosing peace over pain (or anger, or frustration, or contempt)? Can I put that to practice when I step off a yoga mat and the problems become real? Will I even see peace as a choice in the midst of frustration?

Lately it's always something incredibly trivial that puts my frustration over the edge. And, unfortunately, it's not until after said insignificant hell valley is in the rear-view that perspective gives me the chance to see that this was the universe presenting me with a real life case test. Call it yoga or just call it spiritual maturity, but she’s testing to see if I can decide on what’s meaningful.

Today it came in the form of a 6-hour, technologically challenged flight. No wifi, no working TV, no power. Ok, you're probably thinking "this isn't really a test of anything except what life was like in 1999, and you were alive then Jess, soo... what exactly is your beef?" And I don't have a particularly good answer. I think as humans once we set an expectation it's hard for us to accept a last-minute change. At least that's how it is for this human.

Boarding the flight I was mentally checking off the long to-do list of items I was planning to accomplish on the flight. I was stoked at the opportunity of 6 uninterrupted hours to power through tasks and emails left undone by a week cluttered with meetings and ad-hoc requests.

When I got on board and saw my computer battery tracking dangerously low, and my window of productivity being shattered by the inability to access certain web based programs and files I cracked. I felt my body heating for no good reason. I got a stress headache during my persistent refreshing of the non-working wifi sign-in page. Basically I slipped into the costume of whatever the antonym of "yogi" is and had my own personal temper tantrum at trivial change in circumstance.

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I could and should have summoned the lessons I'd been pining all week. I should and could have chosen peace. It would have been a relatively easy "off-the-mat trial zone" to put my new perspective to work. Instead, I'm left to accept where I am in the process. In this moment I'm forced to acknowledge a different yoga prompt of “accepting where I am today” in the larger practice of peace. There are good aspects to this acknowledgement. It's made me feel a huge sense of gratitude for everything and everyone I have. It's forced me to look through a different lens, even if my enlightened perspective only set-in in retrospect.

I'm trying to transcend this gratitude into the present moment; to realize in this very instant the humbling realization that my biggest frustrations are foolish to look back on. I'm cognizant that one of my personal flaws is a loss of perspective when faced up against a last-minute change in expectation.

If you're type-A, you totally get me. A plan is everything. Once it's on your calendar or to-do list, you work your ass off to cross it off the list. You look forward not only to the moment you do it, but the moment you realize it's accomplished. I function this way in plans and tasks...quite clearly to a fault. I look forward to all the things I'm going to accomplish Saturday during the day as much as any plans I have that night. I even look forward to getting ready for said night plans because it's all contained in my carefully crafted idea of what the day is going to look like.

This is both a beautiful and dangerous admissions of personality. It's the main hindrance in my initial 2018 resolution to surrender. Even though I've made progress in that area by stepping up to say "yes" to whatever comes my way, and trying to shift the focus if I see something coming that I may not initially be thrilled about, it hadn't prepared me to choose peace. Because to choose peace is to actively deflect negative thoughts in the very midst of an un-ideal situation (At least I think so. Clearly I'm not expert yet).

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I think choosing peace is trained instinct. The reason its so special is that it doesn't take a runway to prepare for. It's a mindset that can be adopted instantly.

For the type-B souls out in the universe, I strive for your example of flexible calm. I'd kill to be the type of person who can float above the negative emotions based on an unrealistic attempt to control external surroundings. Is it easier for you to choose peace? Or are you just better at it?

Long story short - the universe is filled with lessons that put us back into our place even when we think we're making progress. She's always been quick to give me a test when I think I'm making progress. And so over the last quarter of the year as I look to fully settle into my initial intention for 2019, it'll be a test of character to see if this objective to choose peace can exist outside the studio.

Namaste.

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