My 2012 Peace Plan

My peace plan isn’t for world peace, but inner peace.

In 2011 I faced some difficult changes. I found myself mentally thrashing about and had difficulty focusing on my work. Late in the year I began reading about minimalism and Zen. At some point in my journey, I wrote the following daily reminder and posted it to the background on my computer. It has really helped me get up in the morning and face the day so I thought I would share it and talk a bit about my thinking behind each line.

Today I will be at Peace with Myself.

I will accept my current position in life and move toward my goals if only by inches.

I will SEEK the TRUTH in all things without fear for what others think and feel about me.

I will live simply, speak directly, and act with humility.

I will put myself aside and look deeply into the hearts of others that I may be of better service

Today I will be at Peace with Myself.

One of my personal struggles is accepting my own fallibility. I’ve lived long enough to make numerous glaring mistakes and then I became a writer and invited the entire world to visit me online and point them out. Oh joy!

I read an article this year that talked about our past failures and it was then I realized certain events from my past would come back to me and replay over and over in my mind. My heart sank each time I re-experienced the feeling of failure.

The article suggested we embrace our past, that we actively remember these events that cause us pain and love ourselves in those moments where we went wrong. To do this over and over until the events lose their hold on us. By removing our fear of those mistakes and what they say about us, we can move beyond them.

I feel like I’ve always tried to do the right thing. Maybe axe murderers feel the same way, but it was easier for me to accept my mistakes knowing that my intentions were good. The things I was remembering were simply mistakes. For the next two weeks I paid strict attention to memories that made me uncomfortable. I relived them over and over, all the while reminding myself of the purity of my intentions. In a short time I stopped those same old mistakes from robbing my spark and ruining my mood when I’m reminded of them.

Each morning I remind myself not to fight who I am.

I will accept my current position in life and move toward my goals if only by inches.

Several years ago I took a hard left turn into fulltime fatherhood. That was the best and worst decision I’ve ever made.  For several years I had the joy of seeing my kids every school event and practice and homework assignment. Now I find myself with two young adults and an opportunity to embark on a new career.

No matter how you got to where you are today, you can’t change the choices you made in the past. All you can do is accept where you are, map where you want to go, and take small steps forward.

I will SEEK the TRUTH in all things without fear for what others think and feel about me.

So often I see, particularly with kids, an outright refusal to accept the truth. Seeing the truth means admitting to breaking a dish, or taking a vitamin, or accepting that you’re not tall enough to ride an amusement park ride. Over the last few years I’ve watched the publishing industry hide from the reality of e-books when they could have embraced a new opportunity and seized market share.

Reality is scary sometimes. Embracing truth will be downright threatening to some people around you, but we can’t change what will be if we cannot accept what is.

I will live simply, speak directly, and act with humility.

This year of tumult has taught me that I don’t need many possessions; that many of the important things between people are only hinted at when they can be shared so much better with a few honest words; and that we all live in a world where our own troubles are paramount when others around us may have problems that are far more challenging.

I will put myself aside and look deeply into the hearts of others that I may be of better service.

One of the worst pieces of advice I ever received was: “I messages are more effective than you messages.”  The author of this advice suggested that by putting things in your own terms, your listener would feel you could relate to him or her. This gem made it into my consciousness and I used it for decades. I think this was one of the worst pieces of advice I ever followed.

In the last few months I have done my best to take “I” out of my conversations, to listen and ask questions with true curiosity. I take joy in helping people, it’s deep in my DNA, but to truly help someone, you have to know who they are and what sort of help is meaningful to them.

That’s the end of my peace plan. I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek into my routine and maybe a snippet or two of my reminder will make it to your desktop for a while.

 

I almost forgot… I’m giving away $2,400 in bookish merchandise this year. You don’t need to buy anything, just help me spread the word about my work. Enter here!

Advertisements

4 Comments on “My 2012 Peace Plan”

  1. CJ,
    Great advice. Good for you for working at keeping peace within yourself. We all need it and sometimes forget how to get there.

  2. Jodi says:

    Best of luck CJ.
    Zen is the art of letting go. We can’t change the past we can only learn from it and move on.
    I’ve lost my health, my home is going back to the bank due to that, yet there is always someone worse off than myself and I do what I can to reach out.
    My books aren’t selling as well as I had hoped, but self-flagellation is the curse of the creative and I’m trying to be kinder to myself. I see as much luck in this business as I do talent so don’t beat yourself up. I know at times I feel overwhelmed by the success of others causing self-doubt.
    I’m always glad to retweet,share or interview my fellow writer. I’ve developed the ‘it’s better to give than receive’ policy on that.lol Reciprocity can be hard to find!
    I’m at day 6 of being meatless, my 2012 gift to the world.
    Have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.

    • cjwestkills says:

      Jodi,

      I wish you the very best in 2012. You are right, there is always someone worse off than we are.

      All we can do is be grateful for the blessings we have and move forward one step at a time.

      CJ

  3. […] … may I direct your attention to author CJ West and his 2012 peace plan? Isn’t that […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s