I have spent the last year seeking peace. Somewhere in the midst of the chaos of life, I came to realize how important peace is. Happiness is fleeting and can be chased off with one sour thought. Yet when we find true peace, and learn how to maintain peace within ourselves, no matter what is going on in the world, we have found the secret to true, lasting happiness.
Around this time last year, I realized I was done chasing shiny things. Shiny does not last, does not withstand the storms of life. Rather, I wanted to root myself in strength founded in peace. I knew that in order to achieve true peace, several things in my life would have to change.
Fast forward a year, and I am closer to peace than I have ever been. The circle of people I talk to is small, there is little to no drama in my life, and I suspect many would consider most of my days boring. I would argue otherwise.
By learning where to spend my time and energy, building constructive morning and evening routines, I have built a life rooted in the very things that give me peace. I have the time and brainspace to contemplate the beauty of a flower. My evenings are spent watching the turtles swim in the pond, and on one very exciting evening, I was able to watch a bird hunt fish. And in each of these moments, I have been truly at peace and present in the moment.
Little by little, the small things that used to cause me so much strife are vanishing. I no longer spend hours worrying about what to wear. If my hair is not perfect, it’s all good. And who has time for perfect makeup? I would rather have this time for more walks with my dogs, watching the joy on Selina’s face as she chases a butterfly, and hearing Raffy’s sneezes of contentment as he sniffs the breeze.
Recently, I was handed two potentially stressful challenges to overcome. I took both head on. One, I soon realized was not worth my time or energy, even though I was right, getting the other person to see that would cost more than the prize at hand. The second was one with greater consequences. Yet, rather than stressing over it, I did everything I could, presented the facts, and then went for a walk. I know things will work out, because they always do. Stressing over an event will only cause grief and will never speed things up.
I would like to issue a challenge to my readers. As we approach July and the temperatures heat up, I would like you to assess every challenge with the thought, “how much time and energy will this cost me?” If you find the cost will outweigh the potential profits, walk away. Be confident in your decision, and give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Wars are not won in a single battle, wars are won over the course of time. By choosing to walk away when the cost is simply too high, you are not admitting defeat, rather, you are choosing your peace over everything else.
Sara Orellana lives in Oklahoma City and writes a weekly column for The Lawton Constitution.