Focus Brings Peace
2020 has been a dumpster fire. No truer statement has ever been uttered. In January, we held our breaths wondering if the death of an Iranian general would start World War III while a bushfire raged across Australia burning up tens of millions of acres and an impeachment trial began. NBA legend Koby Bryant, his daughter and seven others died in a helicopter crash in February. In March, shutdowns prompted by the arrival of Coronavirus left flights empty, city centers deserted, and cruise ships with trapped passengers floating aimlessly. With the economy responding to the lockdowns in April, Americans filled food bank lines all over the country while others took to the street demanding some kind of reopening. As we turned the calendar to May, the rumblings of America’s racial crisis flooded the airways while protesters called for justice. By June, the marches for justice intensified circling the globe, at the same time 49 million people in Mexico and Guatemala felt a 7.4 magnitude earthquake. In more recent months, the pandemic continues to wreak havoc, murder hornets arrive in the US, Beirut explosion leaves 300,000 people homeless, the West Coast wildfires rage, and a presidential political campaign divides neighbors and families.
A dumpster fire indeed! No peace to be found in 2020. What if we could find peace in spite of the dumpster fire? If we stubbornly focus our minds on a specific list of things, peace can be found.
- What is accurate. Honest messages about ourselves and others get crowded out by messages that are not accurate.
I’m not going to make it. – This is stupid. – I can’t believe they are such terrible people.
When we direct our minds toward accurate messages like:
I’m not perfect and this will be good, I just need to give it a little more thought.
This isn’t working out like I expected, what can I adjust.
I’m not understanding them, I’m curious to learn more about what they are saying.
Those messages alone shift everything and provide space for PEACE to grow.
- What is worthy. Fostering honorable thoughts about our circumstances takes some intention. We’ve all heard ourselves saying:
These people are out of their minds!
Directing our focus to more honorable thoughts like:
Not everyone has to look like me.
I’m eager to find out what she is really thinking.
It’s always good to be passionate about something.
Worthy, honorable thoughts about what is happening around us bring PEACE to our own souls and possibly a few others.
- What is gracious. Compassionate conversations with strangers and friends focus us on what we can learn about them. Practicing graciousness in the middle of disagreement helps us to truly wonder about the other person, their ideas, their ways, their experience (even if we have opposing ideas and experiences). This practice of grace pushes us toward PEACE.
- What is the best. We have made a sport out of re-living our worst moments. Moments of uncertainty and doubt replay and repeat in our heads.
I can’t believe I said that/did that/lost it like that. Everyone thinks I’m a terrible mom/boss/employee.
What is the absolute finest moment of our day? Let’s re-live that! Replay the best pieces to preserves PEACE.
- What we admire. Training ourselves to look for things we admire and applaud (and verbalize them to others) will shift the experience for all of us to a more PEACEFUL place.
To usher in peace, even in 2020, think on the above things. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”