Harmony

Harmony, California, Andrea Chilcote

What if you could go on vacation in your mind, even just for a moment? And what if that resulted in a more harmonious day? I just tried it, and I hope you will too, after you read the post I wrote on vacation last summer.

by Andrea Chilcote

I’m on vacation this week, a vacation that I anticipated and now savor. I am graced by rest, beauty and pleasant activities.

When my pace slows enough, I’m able to hold a perspective which seems inaccessible on the usual busy days of life. Oh, even on vacation I feel moments of stress, due to anything from a minor work request to misplacing the rental car keys. But the difference is that on vacation, I almost always observe it and decide if it’s worth the emotional energy. Even when it is, there are energetic bookends of peace that keep stress in its proper place.

There’s a very small town near where we are in California, called Harmony. We’ve visited there three times this week, as it’s the home of one of our favorite wineries. We picnic on their lawns with our dogs, enjoying cool breezes, gorgeous scenery and the scent of lavender growing in the gardens. (And yes, good wine, of course). Early this week, I decided that “harmony” was my intended state of being.

As I began to write this post, I assessed my performance in that harmonious state. At first, I felt a touch of self-judgment, as I knew I have not been what I previously defined as “harmonious,” 24-7.

Then I googled the word. Amazingly, harmony results from the balance between tense and relaxed moments. You musicians know this of course. But for me, and for the rest of you, this information is powerful. Harmony exists when there is wholeness and acceptance of the human experience.

There’s no doubt that I will again lose my car keys, as well as experience many other so-called stressful moments. My intention is to bring harmony home with me and weather them to the sound of beautiful music. How about you?

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This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. Enjoy it!

A Gift of Peace

 What do I most want for Christmas? What I really want is peace.

A Gift of Peaceby Andrea Chilcote

What do I most want for Christmas? What I really want is peace. Peace. The Encarta dictionary tells me peace is “freedom from war.” Okay, that’s what I want, and I want more. It goes on to define peace as “tranquility, mental calm and harmony.” Ahhh. That’s it, that’s it.

And even as I write this wish, I know that peace is not something to seek. It is a gift that I (and all of you) already possess. It is a state of being available to us at any time we are willing to silent our worries, judgments and fears, and remain present to the wonders contained in the moment at hand.

this very moment by Andrea ChilcoteEarlier this week I received a message from a colleague thanking me for the gift of my latest book, This Very Moment, a photo-journal style collection of posts that have appeared on The Spirited Woman blog. She told me that she had experienced a tough day, was uncharacteristically stressed and filled with negativity, and been unable to sleep. She opened the book in the middle of the night. Just a few simple reminders to become present to the feelings of her heart vs. out-of-control left brain analysis allowed her to sleep soundly and awake rested. At peace, in fact.

The ever-centered Dalai Lama says: “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” I know this is true, and so do you.

In the last several months, I have been hyper-aware of the effect of my energy – my thoughts, feelings and behaviors – on others around me. While I am far from the state of mastery of peace in every thought and action, awareness is the first step. With it, I am able to make a conscious choice to breathe then smile at the over-tired sales clerk, or relax as I talk to the scripted customer service representative. Yesterday I even found myself removing the irritated tone from my voice as I “spoke with” the automated airline reservation system. I know she’s not “real” – but I am, and it’s me who I harm with these feelings of annoyance. It’s my “peace” that gets disturbed.

Peace (or any other positive state of being you seek) will not be found in a package to open. This gift resides in each of our hearts. Open your heart this holiday season and I bet you’ll find it there.

This post appeared originally last-year December on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger.