Many years ago, I went for a weekend break in Ludlow and found myself sitting in St. Laurence’s Church. For anyone who knows me, this won’t appear odd as I love architecture and have always found churches wonderfully interesting. I sat down and as I gazed around I was filled with an enormous sense of peace. I closed my eyes and the phrase ‘peace flows through me like a river’ kept repeating in my head. Now I am sure that I must have heard the phrase somewhere, somewhen before, but the feeling that surrounded me felt completely new.
I had never been a peaceful person – often agitated and discontent, so to feel this immense sense of peace felt wonderful. I loved it so much that after that, I tried to connect with it as often as possible. I would sit somewhere quiet, close my eyes and repeat ‘peace flows through me like a river’ whilst imagining a river flowing from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. It was wonderful. It was at this point in my life that I started to regularly meditate – 30 minutes every day, which I found a wonderful haven in the midst of a busy life. I realise now, as I write this, that I stopped doing that ten years ago.
Strangely though, I am more at peace now than I ever have been and I wonder if the many years of being still helped. As I write this, I realise how connected peace is with happiness (that I wrote about yesterday), in fact the Dalai Llama said:
Yesterday, I wrote that happiness is a choice, a state of mind and I think for me, peace is aligned with the choice I make. If I am choosing to accept and go with the flow then I am happy and feel at peace. If I am pulling against the reality of the situation, then peace is hard to find. Currently, I am working hard to remain in the gentle flow of the river and avoid getting pulled into the rapids. I think most people in education are doing exactly the same.
As a teacher, my world has been turned upside down and inside out in the last three months and it will be again next week. On Monday, I return to school after half-term and will be teaching a year 6 bubble whilst also overseeing my own class via Google Classroom. What this will be like I don’t know and if I think about it too much I feel overwhelmed. So instead, I breathe in and out and repeat ‘peace flows through me like a river’.
Trying to foresee what things will be like has never brought me any peace, in fact it has just brought me stress and anxiety. I choose to believe nowadays that all will be well and it will work out – it always has done in the past. Don’t get me wrong, things haven’t always worked out the way I have wanted them to, but they have worked out.
When I accept things just as they are, I find peace. When I accept that bubbles and social distanced teaching is what I need to do, then I am at peace and for me peace brings happiness.
As I finish writing this, I feel an immense wave of peace flow through me and am reminded of my favourite hymn, ‘Lord Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.’ It is based on St. Francis of Assisi’s Prayer and every time I say it or read it I know more than ever that I want to be an instrument of peace – I want to sow love, pardon, trust, hope, console, understand and love. In doing all of these things I hope that I will bring some peace to others too.