The only constant in life is change. That’s for certain. How we deal with change that comes up in our lives is a reflection of who we are and how at peace we are with ourselves.
Here’s something that, when I initially heard it, was hard for me accept: Everything that makes you upset, that annoys you, that brings you fear, is a reflection of your inner self.
Think of something that typically annoys you. Not having a tidy room. Not being able to organize the way you want. When someone makes a tasteless meal. When your child disobeys. When your partner leaves their coffee mug in the sink without washing it out immediately. How does that thing make you feel? Sit with that feeling.

Close your eyes.

Think of why it makes you feel that way. Here’s what the conversation might look like in your head:
The clutter in my room makes me anxious.
Why does it make me anxious?
Because I want to be organized but I don’t have enough space.
Ah, so it’s the feeling of not having enough space makes me anxious.
So I have to get rid of things.
But I don’t know how to get rid of these things.
There are memories associated with these things.
Ah, so it’s the memory that I think I’ll be losing or a desire that I’m still holding on to.
Sometimes when we dig deep, and ask ourselves the question, “Why”, we see things more clearly within ourselves. This is not very easy to do, however. We live with this little friend called the ego who is always clouding this clarity with mental noise. It may tell us how right we are because we’ve been doing it this way for so long and why would we need change now? It may tells us that the way we’re doing things now is the best way, because we’re comfortable. Our little friend the ego holds the hand of fear and doesn’t let go. As soon as light and clarity and silence tread in, our ego squeezes the hand of fear even tighter. In the example above, or in ones similar, it might be that you get physically tense just thinking about throwing things away or donating them. Sit with that feeling. Feel what it is your ego is wanting to hold on to. What part of your story, your past, your old self are you clinging onto? As Marie Kondo says in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, “A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective.” She should know. She has helped thousands feel free just by helping people get rid of objects in their home that were carrying the weight of past relationships, old anger and emotions that just didn’t serve them anymore and caused them to feel stuck in their present world.
Lately I’ve been working on what it means to be at Peace. How can we be at peace when we have had over 300 days of negative political ads on television and the radio? How can we be at peace when we have kids demanding our attention and spouses and partners who need us to be present? How can we be at peace when we’re expected to put in a full day’s work, make meals, work out and catch up with friends on social media?
Here’s an idea or two:

Turn off the TV.
Turn off the radio.
Say NO to one meeting today.
Tell your kids you need 5 minutes of silence. They can join you.
Kale chips count as a meal.
Shut off your social media account for a day. A week. A month.
And that clutter in your room? (or that mug in the sink? that disobedient child?) Face it head on.
Ask yourself what you’re afraid of.
What if it’s the change you’re scared of – that makes you tense? What if instead, we didn’t expect anything but change? What if we could sit with whatever came up and just stated what it was?
“My room is cluttered. This sucks.” Then we go about our day. I know, it’s not so easy. But the more you notice what it is that doesn’t make you feel good, instead of becoming the emotion you’re feeling, you will start to be free and feel at peace.

A suggestion that Marie Kondo has, when dealing with this example of clutter, is to hold the object up to your heart and ask yourself if it brings you joy. If it does, then keep it. If it doesn’t, it goes. I might even suggest this can be done about people or situations in your life as well. After all, we are a reflection of the five people we spend the most time with. Some of these people need to be in our lives, I understand. But even with people, if we learned not to expect things from them and instead said to ourselves, “Does dealing with this person in this way bring me joy?” If not, see if you can communicate with them in a different way or not expect so much from them. More joy might filter in.
Sitting in silence, walking in silence, smiling in silence…and noticing might be the single most important thing you do for yourself today. And I’m not talking about finding the most quiet place you can find and to shut yourself there for an extended period of time. I’m actually talking about inner silence.
You see, when we try to sit in complete silence and expect everything around us to be totally quiet, the minute we hear on person’s voice, one lawn mower, one leaf blower, one car racing by, we get annoyed. When we expect, all we feel is disappointment.
Finding peace starts with you. It might mean asking yourself the hard question, “why?” But after you pick up the pieces, or maybe throw some of them away, a new peace will take their place, and you can move on.
Peace be with you.
Om namah.