0 In Uncategorized

Chasing Happiness versus creating Inner Peace

Over the years of running retreats, I’ve asked hundreds of women what it is they truly want from life. It’s natural for most people to respond with “I just want to be happy”. Now I don’t want to blow anyone’s bubble here, but happiness is not what we truly want – it’s a myth. 

Happiness comes and goes, and is fleeting. We might obtain a goal that gives us a temporary ‘good feels’ rush of dopamine and we think, “Oh, this is happiness”. But that rush of dopamine that we experience in anticipation of achievement or reward will subside, leaving us in the same state of mind we were in moments earlier. In reality, we can only know happiness by experiencing contrasting feelings. What we really yearn for is inner peace.  

When life’s chaos circulates around us, bringing peace rituals into our life can make an enormous difference to our stress levels, and can help us cope with the most intense storms we might be facing. It could be as simple as playing calming spa music, diffusing essential oils, or watching a sunset. 

June’s full moon was called a Strawberry Supermoon. This is when the moon is the closest to earth over the course of a year. My family and I were fortunate to be snowed in during that time and ‘wow’, not only was it a beautiful full moon that appeared, its light hit the snow and illuminated our backyard to magical proportions. 

Just prior to that we’d experienced the most stunning sunset imaginable, filling our sky with pink and purple hues. So we bundled up in our warmest clothes, sat outside in our snowy winter wonderland and watched the sun set behind the mountains for a couple of hours! 

This video was taken in my backyard just before June’s Strawberry super moon, and is not colour enhanced!

Later that evening my daughter Amélie suggested that we head outside into the moonlight to build our snowman for the neighbourhood competition. Turns out we were a little over-ambitious and it took us an hour to just complete the base! 

Full moons can remind us to pause. In fact, the moon during various stages of its monthly cycle, gives humans a natural rhythm that has been used for millennia in farming, for example, as there are better times of the month to sow seed, harvest, fertilise and prune. Likewise, fishermen know when to fish based on the ocean’s tides and light on the lakes. 

Full moons can also stir up intense emotions. It is unknown why, but crime and suicide rates go up around full moons. I know I can be deeply affected emotionally by this energy. 

I remember having dinner one full moon evening with the head psychiatrist at Auckland hospital many years ago and he told me that he expected to be called out to multiple suicide attempts that evening. The police are well aware of increases in crime during this time – odd, but true. 

The full moon can affect our monthly cycles, too. Having raised three daughters, we’d usually all be in sync to menstruate at the same time around this time. You, too, if you live or have lived with other women, may have noticed that your periods coincided.

So in essence, nature and even our bodies are affected by shifts and changes to the magnetic pulls of the moon. 

Thanks to the magic of new phone cameras this was a shot taken at night in the dark!

My daughter Amélie collects crystals and cleanses them under the full moon; we frequently do this together as a family. She also journals and sets her intentions for the month. Things like “what am I letting go of,” “which affirmations do I need for the coming month,” and “what would I like to invite more of into my life”. 

The full moon invites us to pause to the rhythm of our planets and to check in on our mental, emotional and spiritual worlds. I really don’t think we do enough of that anymore. 

Creating morning rituals is one way of starting your day with a sense of inner peace,  while nighttime rituals can help calm your nervous system and increase your quality of sleep. Which rituals do you incorporate into your month to invite more richness, stillness and calm into your world? Below are six of my favourite peace rituals that may inspire you, too.

  • Start a journal and set intentions for what you want to focus on and create in your life. Writing down our thoughts is also a great way of processing our feelings and emotions, alleviating stress and giving ourselves permission to let go.
  • Set time aside for a bathing ritual, think bubbles, bath bombs, essential oils such as lavender, Epsom salts and a cuppa of relaxing herbal tea.
  • Play calming spa music, burn incense and light candles to set the mood in your space.
  • Factor in a digital detox, by creating clear boundaries around when you check your phone, and keep your phone on silent for a set time when you don’t want to be disturbed. 
  • Practise presence. Meditation is one way of being present and stilling your mind. That said, the aim here is to bring that same sense of peace into your everyday life. So for example when you’re in the shower, try to visualise all your muscles relaxing and the stress in your body being cleansed and swept down the drain. Or, when you are washing the dishes, take time to focus on how the water feels on your skin and how it moves.
  • Move with presence. Any kind of movement can be practised consciously and mindfully.  I used to run every morning for an hour in silence and a meditative state. But waking up in the morning and stretching in bed for just five minutes can also be a great way to land in your body and bring a sense of presence into your life. Yoga, walks, hiking in nature, stop and watch the sunrise or sunset, or any other kind movement offers a wonderful opportunity for calming your mind.  

Try compiling your own personal list of peace rituals that float your boat, and bring these practices into your daily life by setting notifications in your calendar to remind you to follow through. And remember, no matter what life throws at you, you can always bring a sense of peace into your world if you choose to. 

Deborah xxx

No Comments

Leave a Reply