Updated: May 19
Being a human is hard this day and age but I can't help but think, we are the only species that makes our time on earth way more complicated than it should be. Sometimes I'll watch my cat enviously thinking "today she will sleep, eat, use the bathroom, and that will be a perfect day for her, what a life!" We have the same potential too, but as humans - we overthink and complicate things, a lot. Luckily, there are ways to combat these negative thoughts and live with genuine inner peace. Last week I read Dan Milman's "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" in which he shares 3 rules that I am trying very hard to live by and I know these rules will also help others find their authentic inner peace.
1. Implementing Paradox
Milman's first rule of the peaceful warrior is implementing paradox. This means identifying and embracing the contradictions in our lives. On one hand, we want to stay fit and healthy, but on the other hand, we crave for junk food and sedentary lifestyles. We want to be successful, yet we are afraid of taking risks. I was once on a walk with a friend years ago and she encouraged me not to press the button on a cross walk because they were so dirty. Months later I was with another friend walking and when I attempted to press the crosswalk button with my elbow, there was a weird goo on it that stained my shirt. She told me I should have pressed it with my foot. You might not believe me, but on yet another walk, I did just that and the girl I was dating at the time told me I shouldn't use my shoe to press the button because it was disrespectful. The paradox of life can be both frustrating and inspiring. It forces us to reflect on our values and beliefs, and motivates us to seek balance and harmony. As humans we may strive for perfection in everything we do, but that can lead to our downfall as we become consumed with the idea of being flawless. By embracing the paradoxes of life, we can appreciate the diversity and richness of human experience, and develop a more profound understanding of ourselves and others.
2. Finding Humor
The second rule of the peaceful warrior is finding humor in our lives. It is evident that in today's society, we have become increasingly sensitive to any perceived offense or misstep. Unfortunately, this hypersensitivity has led to a lack of rationality and objectivity in our interactions with one another. Instead of engaging in open and honest dialogue, we often jump to conclusions and assume the worst of intentions. Humor is essential for mental and emotional well-being as it helps us relax and let go of those toxic thoughts. The other day I was watching Britain's Got Talent clips on YouTube and one of the videos was a composition of disabled persons doing stand up comedy. As a decent person, your first reaction is to be nice but when you witness how funny these comedians are, your second reaction is "I should've never judged." These comedians found humor in some of their most severe disabilities and while one could argue it's all for the camera, there was something very genuine about it. Finding humor in our lives means finding joy and laughter in the most challenging of times. It can also mean not taking ourselves too seriously and being okay with making mistakes or not being perfect. Laughter is medicine for the soul, and when we find humor in our lives, we can live our lives more peacefully.
3. Embracing Change
The third rule of the peaceful warrior is embracing change. The only constant in life is change, yet many of us resist it because it can be uncomfortable and unpredictable. We often try to take toxic control of others and our surroundings and then fall into depression when met with our limits. This rule encourages us to embrace the unknown and to open ourselves up to new experiences and ways of thinking. A couple who took my 6am spin classes every week for years was hurt badly during the pandemic when those classes were cancelled. I personally was really hurt and all I could think was, "well what now?" I reached out to all my students apologizing about the studio closing but that I would have online classes if they were interested. The same couple who were avid 6am spinners reached out with so much excitement. They were excited to have their very own bikes, not having to drive to class and of course, getting to sleep in! When I listened closer to this couple's excitement, it made me revisit my relationship with change. By embracing change, we can find peace in the journey rather than just the destination. We start to ask ourselves, what exciting challenges will come from this? Who will I meet along the way? How is it going to help me become even more awesome than I already am? When those big unexpected changes blindside you, hold onto your peace by reminding yourself you have dealt with and handled change before.
Implementing paradox, finding humor, and embracing change are essential for living a more peaceful life. These three rules from "The Peaceful Warrior" can help people who suffer from overthinking and anxiety to let go of their worries and focus on the present moment. By embracing paradox, we can accept that life is not perfect, and that's okay. Humor helps us find joy in our lives, while change allows us to grow and experience new things. Together, these rules can help us find our inner peace and live our most peaceful lives.