In pursuit of tranquility

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Standing on the corner as the good reverend said a prayer blessing one of the city’s newest businesses, the experiences were quick to wash over me.

The rush of the traffic seemed to fly. The hotness of the heat tickled the backs of my calves. The slight breeze moved the hair across my back.

All it takes is a small moment – those few breaths – to get a perspective on the day. For me, that brief respite from the workday rush was all I needed to get going again.

I recently read an article that explained how we easily sabotage our potential for peaceful tranquility. It said that there were three common traps that “we all unwittingly fall into.”

The first, it said, was resisting what is happening right now.

It said, “Full of hope and anticipation, you want and expect things to go a certain way – your way. When reality doesn’t match your ‘ideal’ plan, you may complain and even lament how it isn’t fair or if only. Stubborn lack of acceptance is a surefire way to feel miserable and unhappy. And you won’t be any fun to be around either!”

I don’t so much fall into that one, but I know plenty of people that do.

The solution – rather than fighting what is, is to mindfully change course. “Practice taking a step back and observing the situation as an objective bystander,” was recommended. “Ask yourself if it’s really that important that things always go your way. Try just going with the flow and note how freeing that can be.”

The second trap was denying your feelings. I am absolutely guilty of this one. I’ve been told that I internalize too much, and I’m working hard to fix it – hence the stimulating reading and now, regurgitation for your benefit.

The article said, “We’re all fragile threads who do not like to feel hurt or pain. Rather than acknowledge and fully feel our emotions, sometimes we try to stuff them deep inside.”

Sound familiar? We tell everyone that everything is “fine,” and we almost believe it ourselves. But the internal stress of holding things in eventually expresses itself in other, less appropriate ways.

The solution – notice and admit your true feelings, it stated. “Try not to quash them, but to respect and understand them for what they are,” the article stated. ‘Do nothing to change how you feel. Just be with your feelings. Experience them deeply and eventually they will diminish and fade away.”

The third point, I think, is the most important. It’s the believing in your thoughts.

Sometimes just thinking about a situation or problem can make it worse. Thoughts start blowing around in our minds, innocently at first. We really like to analyze things. We like to think about what happened, how it happened, why it happened. Before we know it, we’re ruminating in an endless loop of doubt, negativity and fear.

And we all know that’s no way to live.

It’s the power of positive thinking that can do wonders for personal tranquility.

Now, if I could take to heart all those “clean your house in 10 minutes each day” things I’ve read, I would be awesome.