Leading Your Life From the Inside Out
In 1984 I watched a movie that changed the course of my life. The movie was Ghandi. I sat transfixed for hours watching this amazing little man change a nation. Through his example of inner peace he inspired 30 million people to protest British rule for one full day. They achieved this by spending an entire day fasting and in prayer instead of working. His steadfast principle of non-violence won India its freedom. He had truly mastered the art of inner peace – not just within himself but by influencing an entire country. His demeanor modeled authenticity and emotional intelligence at its best. He was trusted and the common theme to his message was being the change you wish to see in the world. He achieved his goal beautifully.
The outer world is always a reflection of the inner world. A crowded cluttered desk or workspace may reflect inner disorganization and clutter. When our inner world is quiet and at ease – the outer world reflects this. And those around us can see and feel that inner calm. We are trusted and have the ability to inspire others. By “protesting“ with calm and peace, Ghandi created in the outer world exactly from that which resided within him: inner peace. It was a true reflection.
We may hear and believe in the common phrase: the best defense is a good offense; however, the reverse is actually more accurate. A good offense is exactly the opposite of inner peace. Do we always need to defend to feel secure? In the movie Kung Fu Panda his lesson is to learn the body needs to be in a state of inner peace to then focus on outer attacks. When the Panda discovered inner peace it could control the outer environment. Voila! Lesson learned.
You see: violence begets violence. If you get angry and hit me, I will hit you back. If you don’t, I won’t. It’s basic physics: force, counter force. When we exhibit harmony and respond to stress, attack or criticism etc. from a peaceful calm place our co-workers, our team and our family observe this and they learn from it. A great Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda in his book Inner Peace speaks about being calmly active and actively calm.
One of his followers has this to share on the subject:
How can we be the change in our lives? How can we exemplify this inner peace in our outer world; for our team, our family and our world?
I have found time and time again having solid foundational wellness practices help me retain my inner calm and respond rather than react when life becomes challenging. Foundational practices can vary in nature and are helpful both at home and at work.
The following are some areas to consider for your daily practices:
- Yoga – check out your local studio for restorative, peace or Yoga Nidra classes. They will relax, restore and rejuvenate you.
- Time with family and friends – love nourishes and fills your well from the inside. It is hard for me to offer you a drink if my glass is empty. But I can quench your thirst if it is full. Take time with your loved ones to share meals, see a movie, laugh, have fun and much needed hugs. Fill your own well.
- Move your body – just 15 minutes per day of walking at a healthy pace helps reduce stress, clears the mind, and gets toxins moving out of the body.
- Eating well – sitting down when you eat and planning meals for the upcoming week on Sundays to ensure good wholesome nourishing foods are consumed.
- Meditation – cultivating a practice is easier than you think and the best (fastest) way to create inner peace. It’s also free and you can do it anywhere. You can begin a seated meditation by setting your timer for five minutes in the morning and sitting comfortably.
- Diaphragmatic breathing – breathing this way helps you relax and calms the nervous system. It helps you sleep more soundly, have clarity in your thinking, and washes away anxiety and stress. It oxygenates the body, which leads to greater ease in doing any kind of athletic activity. It helps to eliminate toxins from the body which increases your strength and vitality.
Here is how to practice diaphragmatic breathing:
Place one hand on your upper chest and one on your lower belly. Close your eyes and focus on your breathe and the way in which you are breathing. Where is your body moving or rising? Are you breathing quickly or slowly? Shallow or deep? Do you find yourself holding your breath from time to time? Ideally you want to bring the breathe deeply into the body using the full lung capacity that you were born with. Breathe in deeply as the lower abdomen rises. As you exhale it lowers. In most cases you would breathe in and out through the nose.
Pick and choose from this list and know change takes time, patience and commitment. This list of practices can create the peaceful internal environment which then carries over into the outer world. Be the change you wish to see in your own life. And please do so with much ease!