05/12/2015 09:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Easy Steps for Inner Calm


There are days I do not need or want to be Superwoman. I do not need to cross everything off my 'to-do' list; especially the perpetual, looping, never-ending 'how to be a better me' list. And when this happens, surprisingly life goes on; events happen without my hand in the mix. This hands-off -the-controls attitude allows for flow; calm and peaceful like a gurgling stream. For one second, one day or a string of days I can say, "I AM ENOUGH". What then follows are the thank you's for the little things that might have usually been taken for granted. Morning coffee, my warm bed, loving partner, pet, child, friend, health, flowers outside my window, my breath. Let's focus on our breath for just a moment. Just a breath's worth of time if you can. Have you ever just said thank you to the universe for your breath? When noticing the breath and having gratitude for its ability to sustain life, can you allow that to be enough for today?

Acceptance of what is happening right now in the present moment is a genuine path toward such inner calm. Without grasping, seeking or craving in the forefront of consciousness, letting go of focus on pains and desires, there is peace. This creates a ground, a strong foundation, as opposed to a strained, depleted psyche that cannot manage adversity or create personal freedom. With inner freedom and its inherent calm comes the gift of choice allowing us to engage with ourselves, others and the world without guilt. We are not pebbles in a stream. We are always in a state of movement generated from within. We are not static entities because life flows through our breath. There will always be a dance of growing and dying, flux, joy and sorrow. This is life. Gratitude for our ability to sustain life can be enough if you allow it. You are enough, right now, today. Self-care and self-compassion can be created with a simple five step pause in your day.

1. STOP -- Just pause; sit, lie down, stand still, just stop.

2. BREATHE -- begin with one deep, cleansing breath. Notice how that feels. You may have already washed off the dirtied filter of positive perspective. A new clean lens emerges.

3. NOTICE -- without judgment of self or others, notice what you notice. Should people or situations be one way or another because you feel they must? Release your have-to's, the musts and should's and practice mindful awareness by asking yourself, "can this just be as it is for now? Can I tolerate just noticing without inserting opinion or actions into this dialogue?"

4. ACCEPT -- this is happening. Or not...death, illness, loneliness are the huge challenges. Yet so are the quotidian moments; a fitful night's sleep, a child or partner disappoints us, there's no soy creamer for your organic coffee...okay, what happens next? This practice of acceptance, mindfully acknowledging a stress, chaos, longing...they can all be surprisingly fruitful.

5. ACTION vs. INACTION -- options abound in stillness. Only you know what you must do. You will always know if you trust the quiet...if you can remain truly quiet enough to hear your true voice, trust yourself and embrace your infinite wisdom. Breathe. You will move forward.

Life is a wild adventure. Just remember to buckle up, check your mirrors and purposefully move toward your destination. There is no complete control or omniscient knowing of what's to come; yet there is deep, passionate awareness when we choose among the many directions we can take each day towards creating inner calm.