I was recently watching a show when something really moving happened and I was struck by the emotions that rose to the surface as a result. The main character's best friend was dying of cancer and had reached the end of her life. She was ready to die but the friend was distraught and started listing off ways that she could fight the cancer (classic bargaining) - even though the friend had been through several rounds of various treatments. As the friend listened to her talk about eleventh-hour plans of uncharted treatment territory, the dying woman reached for her friend's face and said, "Inhale Peace, Exhale Joy".
Peace is an elusive thing for most people. We may have moments of it in our lives but as experiences and situations get more complicated, the peace + joy goes with it. Even though I've been feeling so happy as a more authentic part of me has come out in the last few years, the complication of disappointing people I love has been difficult to feel at peace with.
So, how do we "inhale" peace? I have no idea... but as I've contemplated this phrase over the last few weeks, I've come to realize that for me, it's acceptance. There are many things I cannot change - mostly other people's choices are what bring me the most pain. All that I can control or change is myself. I can accept responsibility for my own actions and worry less about what other people do as a result. I don't get to choose how others react to my choices or expressions, but I believe I can feel peace by accepting and valuing my own.
As I've tried to implement this... I've failed, but I've found that the literal act of a deep "inhale of peace" helps remind me of my joyful goal and it allows me to refocus and relax - an important tool for a person with anxiety. I have been amazed at how much this has helped me and I really believe that the only way to live a happy life is to life a peaceful life.