The Habit of Peace

Every season is nice, but each one ends up feeling about 6 weeks too long for my taste. I have always hated the month of January, long, cold, gray, lonely January.

And this year February starts with more snow.

I may be tired of the cold, but the snow is beautiful. What makes it swirl as it falls? It’s like a soft blanket for the soul. Watching it fall soothes the hurts, it feels like a hug.

Quiet. That’s what it is. Snow falling is the definition of quiet, even if you are surrounded by chaos, lightly falling snow is a visual representation of peace.

Peace. I’m still learning the meaning of the word. I used to think that peace meant that everything was perfect, something to be strive d for. If you could get all your ducks in a row, you would have peace. If you said the right prayers, were open enough to god’s plan and direction, you would have peace.

Lately, rather than something to be achieved, peace feels more like something that just exists, always available, we just don’t always realize it.

How does one discover the aspects of peace within? What does it mean to tap into that element of ourselves? In some ways is feels connected with being thankful, grateful for life and relationship and the everyday. In other ways it feels connected to loving, comforting and nurturing oneself. It’s not a formula, a step by step procedure “1, 2, 3 poof!” Anxiety is gone. It’s more of a mystery, but obvious at the same time.

When I find myself at peace, I wonder how it is that I ever end up in times of anxiety and depression. And yet even with that knowledge I still find myself there sometimes, filled with worry, awake instead of asleep, self-criticism and self-hatred out of habit.

Perhaps that’s what peace is, a habit. How does one get into the habit of peace? Not to seek it out of achieve it, but to observe it and be open to it. To spot peace and to think about it, as one would spot beauty and contemplate it. With this new awareness of peace, I find myself wanting to capture it, to make it mine. But perhaps peace cannot be confined that way, perhaps it belongs to everyone.

  • http://ladyheathersdomain.blogspot.com/ Lady Heather

    I have been writing about My Quest for Peace in my blog. I think peace is always there for us to be a part of but only if we make those choices. I have spent most of my life struggling to find peace, and only recently have I started to really be part of it on a regular basis. I found The Quest for Peace in a Broken World by Juli Alvarado is easy to practice – she sets it up one day at a time for 100 days and it helps me work on the things that pull me away from peace. I am so much like you, always worried, self critical, filled with doubt and struggle to even like myself – but slowly I am healing. I am finding though that I am finding myself part of peace more often. I find ways of spending time enjoying peace and really taking it in. The more I do it the easier it becomes. Reading your blog, it sounds like you are finding peace more often. I am so proud of you, Haley and your family. I am still amazed how I found out about your blog originally (my mom sent me the link to your Canadian healthcare post) and then I read more and realized that our spouses are both trans. I so appreciate your blog and you putting your feelings and thoughts out there. You are so very brave.

    • Melissa

      Thank you Heather! It has been a crazy journey, and so glad to have met you and other trans couples. Thank you for your encouragement and for putting yourself out there.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    That’s very beautiful. I hope I can capture it too.

  • http://leahielliott.blogspot.com Leah

    “Peace feels more like something that just exists, always available, we just don’t always realize it.”

    I love this line especially. I think paying attention and being open to it are keys to cultivating peace, or love, or any positive experience in life. Circumstances we can’t always do anything about, but our inner state is something we can, as you say, develop habits about.

  • http://summat2thinkon.blogspot.co.uk Considerer

    Sounds about right. I like that, thanks :)

  • http://understanding-self-and-others.blogspot.com/ Kamalini Socha

    This part:
    “I may be tired of the cold, but the snow is beautiful. What makes it swirl as it falls? It’s like a soft blanket for the soul. Watching it fall soothes the hurts, it feels like a hug.
    “Quiet. That’s what it is. Snow falling is the definition of quiet, even if you are surrounded by chaos, lightly falling snow is a visual representation of peace.”
    WOW. These words are so perfectly evocative of the exact feel of snowfall that I was amazed. I read this to my mom, and she turned around with brightly lit eyes and exclaimed, “I love that!”
    Just wanted to tell you what a good writer you are. :)

  • Jason Dick

    I feel the exact same way about snow. This is perhaps why a recent six-hour drive that turned into a 12-hour drive due to snow didn’t feel quite so bad, though it wasn’t quite as peaceful as I would have liked due to the fact that I was extra-vigilant as to the slipperiness of the road and my fellow drivers.

    As for what makes snow swirl like that, what you’re seeing are the currents of air that are around us all the time but we only rarely see. The fact that snow flakes are so large and non-aerodynamic compared to their mass means that they are blown about by the air rather like pieces of paper. This is in contrast to raindrops which are extremely aerodynamic and have their entire mass clustered in a sphere, while snowflakes have their mass spread out in the complex network of crystals that make them up.

    And so when the wind dips and swirls, it carries the snowflakes along with it.

    But why does the wind swirl like that? Well, you can get an idea by drawing a stick rapidly through water: it creates little eddies behind it that last for a little bit before disappearing. The motion of the water molecules around the stick causes these swirls to form. In a similar way, when wind passes around objects in the real world, whether a pole or the corner of a building or the branches of a tree, it often tends to create eddies. And those eddies will travel for some distance before dissipating. Furthermore, in a storm, collisions of different wind currents can cause similar eddies to form. Fluid dynamics is some pretty awesome stuff. If you’ll pardon the language, this site has some great pictures and videos of the amazing things that fluids do:
    http://fuckyeahfluiddynamics.tumblr.com/

    • Anna

      Oh, you are my kind of person! I love finding other people who gets totally excited about how things work. thanks for the link :)

    • Melissa

      Cool stuff! Thanks!

  • http://www.lara-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Lara

    I settle into peace when I realize worrying doesn’t work anyway. I settle into peace when I realize that every moment of every day forever has things in it that I can be thankful for and other things I wish were different. That is never going to change. So I slowly and calmly take care of what I can take care of and focus on being thankful for the good stuff and refuse to carry anymore than that.

  • http://www.choose-healthy-food.com Olga K

    Melissa, you are such a good writer… I wish one day you wrote a book.
    I am a PEACE person. In my family of active outspoken women, I was always the one who felt PEACE – a harmony where everyone feels happy in their own way and that happiness doesn’t happen at the expense of others :)
    “How does one get into the habit of peace? Not to seek it out of achieve it, but to observe it and be open to it. To spot peace and to think about it, as one would spot beauty and contemplate it. ”
    I think people are fighting and getting mad at each other because they are afraid that others won’t get the depth of their emotions if they just peacefully disagree. And every day we have to disagree because we are all different. If we don’t disagree, some of us may be going against his or her own beliefs, and this internal conflict works against inner peace. I think more peace comes to one’s life when they allow others to be different and accept this.
    I am the one who can feel that peace with every cell in my body – and strive for it every day. That’s what it takes, thinking about it every day, and it will grow and move away anxieties and conflicts.
    Cheers
    Olga

  • http://amyforreals.blogspot.com/ Amy

    “peace feels more like something that just exists, always available, we just don’t always realize it.”
    LOVED this.. something that I am learning about peace as well is to have peace I need to make peace…make peace within myself first. I think you nailed it when you said it’s connected to loving yourself and nurturing yourself.
    this post made me take a great big sigh.. thankyou for that.
    Loves.. Amy


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