Inner World Peace

 Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

—Proverbs

I’m blessed to be living these past eight days with a persistent common cold on the side of a mountain during this unprecedented time of a global pandemic. As I compose this essay, I have toilet paper and know that I can use a warm washcloth to wipe my tush if I run out. I have self-quarantined since the runny nose moment. I keep choosing to fill my mind with loving thoughts, loving memories, and love songs. I am fortunate to have a choice of where I place my time, intentions, and attention. I notice myself occasionally wondering if I actually have contracted the virus, then my adult self reassures my younger selves that we have not. I know at this juncture that I’m in charge of the experience of a rich inner world where I can place peace in the center no matter what goes behind me, before me, or all around me.

As many of you know, if you’ve read any of my essays, I’ve lived through many traumatic experiences AKA freaking terrifying sh&^ throughout my lifetime. What I awakened to a few years ago is that a life lived chronically terrified is not a fulfilling one. I was “trained” in unpredictable chaos and uncertainty. I notice that what I’ve experienced personally since birth has seemingly become a global reality in that every human being on the planet is being impacted by the great uncertainty, profound change, and constant disruptions.

Grappling for a lifetime with the impermanence and uncertainty of life has taught me to connect deeply to that part of me that remains connected to Love, God, Universe, to the quiet witness that watches without judgment the good, the bad, the godawful, and the exquisitely, achingly beautiful of myself, life, nature, and people.

This calm, compassionate place of deep and enduring inner peace has taken me a lifetime to discover and grow.

The outer world dramas no longer terrify me because I have become the essential me. Do I get anxious every now and then? Yes! I know these sensations in my body like I know the feel of my tongue in my mouth. I know I can flow them through my heart and psyche. Often the trapped residual effects of past traumas release as a tingling, warm shower throughout my inner body. With the support of many other people I took back the controls of my life to the very quiet one deep inside that can watch those thoughts, imagine the healing of the planet, feel grateful for this moment of inhale and exhale, hear the words that actually come out of my mouth,  feel the hunger pangs in my stomach, watch the bubbling soap like an awestruck toddler as I wash my hands and sing “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy!” by Blood, Sweat, and Tears.

I already made peace several years ago with the fact that I’m going to die. My life was threatened at three years old. I began wrestling with the death angst way before I could write full sentences or ride a bicycle let alone embrace butterfly metaphors. The fear of death hunted me much of my life. Many times I have felt dead in the grips of freeze or dissociation. Yet, here I am able to reflect on life, death, and inner peace.

There’s so much in life that we have absolutely no control over-not the weather, not a pandemic virus, not what other people do or say, not what’s going to happen tomorrow, and definitely not when we are going to exit the planet.

Death continues to be the great equalizer. Death remains a profound teacher of how to live.

However, certain stages of metamorphosis for humans remain disorienting, uncomfortable, and messy. Being inside the dark cocoon as a liquified, no longer recognizable caterpillar wondering what’s happening next can be unbelievably scary.  Relinquishing control over what remains utterly uncontrollable tests the very essence of a human being’s faith in that which lies beyond our limited understanding and perceptions. How do we actually imagine like John Lennon? Stretching ourselves towards becoming comfortable with discomfort, calm with uncertainty takes practice. Learning how to turn oneself into a beautiful butterfly of fragile strength to emerge, to break open that shell, to flutter in ease and freedom, in peace and joy constitutes the very essence of transformation.

May you use your experience of the pandemic to find or enhance the safe haven of inner world peace. May you know in your core that you are safe, that you are loved. May the sunshine of a new day and the beauty of butterflies remind you of a way to inner freedom and joy.

Laura Staley
Laura Staleyhttp://www.cherishyourworld.com
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla.

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    • You are so welcome, Jeff. I know our culture tends not to reflect deeply about death, but I have found that doing so teaches me about the ways I want to live while I’m alive. Thank you so much for letting me know what especially resonated for you. Stay well. I appreciate you!

  1. Laura – this is a beautiful piece.

    “Relinquishing control over what remains utterly uncontrollable tests the very essence of a human being’s faith in that which lies beyond our limited understanding and perceptions.”

    This quote says it all for me. I got chills when I read it. Thank you for sharing this story and your understanding on our current situation. As we endure uncertainty, we are reminded of our humanity. We are reminded of what’s important.

    • Thank you for your kind words and thoughtful reflections as we all live through these unprecedented times. I appreciate that many of us are being “reminded of what’s important.” Yes. There’s something very empowering about the opportunity to nourish the valuable human attributes of compassion, love, kindness, generosity, creativity, and inner calm. I appreciate you very much. Stay well.

    • Knowing we can shift to that internal place of “control what we can control” has helped immensely over a lifetime of practice. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m grateful to know this piece inspired. I believe we will live through this better together. Stay well and safe, my dear friend. Heart emoji.

  2. Laura my new enlightened friend… All the dictionary words of the beauty chapter will not give you enough credit! Your words give a hug to my soul every single time and that’s just a priceless feeling!

    {Imagine the healing of the planet, feel grateful for this moment of inhale and exhale, hear the words that actually come out of my mouth, feel the hunger pangs in my stomach, watch the bubbling soap like an awestruck toddler as I wash my hands and sing “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy!” by Blood, Sweat, and Tears.}

    This part was the definition of #sweetness btw! <3

  3. WOW Laura. This is one of the most beautiful and meaningful articles I’ve read from you, and that’s saying a lot because I love your writing. We are so aligned in our beliefs & energy of how we cherish the world and embrace inner peace as a way to outer contribution. Thank you for your perspective, and for your love, and for your peace. I feel them deeply and shine the same back to you.

    • Oh, thank you so much, Sora. Wow. Your kind words truly touch my heart. I’m grateful to know this essay resonated for you as you are very much aligned in the light, the contribution, and the love. Hugs and gratitude to you, Sora.

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