“Create calm in order to first, hear the message, and then, maintain calm in order to understand what it is trying to say for your life journey.”
Saturday afternoon this past weekend the sky was clear, the wind was absent, and so I stepped outside into the garden, not to garden, but to clean my windows. During recent previous days of pristine weather, it has been made apparent that this task is long overdue, and so I gladly tended to this task that upon completing seemed to brighten the entire interior of the house and sharpen the beauty of the freshly fallen snow that arrived Sunday morning as I peered outside from a cozy spot inside.
You may be wondering what clear and clean windows have to do with finding calm in our everyday lives, but in fact, both of the concepts – creating the clarity to enjoy the benefits of the tranquility – are directly related.
In order to gain the clarity attained by cleaning the windows, intentional work had to be done. Intentional work to create the unobstructed views. And in order to recognize that the windows had seen cleaner days, I had to be aware of my surroundings.
While in this instance I had experienced the clarity and brightness gained by having my windows cleaned, so knew what I would be gaining upon tending to this task, the obstruction of dirt and storm debris paired with dust and seasonal pollen, cobwebs and particles blown about in the air ever-so-gradually accumulates over time, so gradually, we can become accustomed to the view out the window and accept it as just fine. The equivalent in our everydays is that we become accustomed to not being calm and living harried lives.
It happened over the past 18 months for many of us, the gradual creep back into a regular schedule following the lifting of pandemic restrictions that temporarily limited our schedule, and now it is hard for many to imagine the slower pace of life that afforded us the time to find the calm in our daily lives that was in all too much abundance during lockdown.
In order to understand why we cannot find peace in our lives, feel comfortable in our beings, contented in our everyday lives both personal and professional, we have to find the calm.
Even if the message is clear that something is not right, something doesn’t make us comfortable, we cannot know pinpoint-clear what it is and therefore cannot make the best decision until we are calm.
If we are not calm, we may think we have pinpointed the reason for our discomfort, our angst, our unease, but often we are off the mark – either blaming (which is never constructive), or too quickly jumping on a decision we think will resolve it because we don’t have the time to let the contemplation and ponderings settle down so that we can discern what is substantive and worth examination and what is an unnecessary distraction and unrelated or of no importance to us and our journey.
Creating regular calm creates space. And that space is where we find clarity.
Something that will be discussed in detail later this week on the podcast as a supporting component to a much larger skill to learn for a life of contentment (episode #350) is how to strengthen the muscle of sharpening our clarity and the benefits doing so brings into our lives every single day. But before we reach clarity, we have to find the calm and be able to bravely acknowledge that we may in fact not be living regularly in a state of calm.
What happens when calm is not present, yet we try to make decisions to improve our lives:
- We are influenced by others even when we think we are thinking for ourselves – our ability to critically think is diminished.
- We make unhelpful decisions intended to be helpful and cause more stress, unnecessarily.
- Panicking, over-reacting, feeling anxious, being quick to anger and feeling frustrated, all unwanted, reactionary behaviors.
- Our quality of overall health, due to the aforementioned reactions (panicking, etc.) decreases as cortisol and adrenaline are regularly released in such situations and our blood pressure rises. Repeated, this physical response takes a toll on our health.
What happens when we regularly embrace and prioritize being and experiencing a state of calm in our everyday lives:
- We can more easily step back from ‘battles’ that need not be battles.
- We are comfortable (or more comfortable) with letting unwanted situations sit, as we patiently wait to see how other parties involved engage and also give ourselves time decide the best way forward.
- We solve problems constructively and without regret.
- We step outside of our myopic view and become more aware of others’. ‘Stepping into their shoes’ we become more rational, more thoughtful, but also more clear about what is the best path forward as we work with different people in different situations, not forgetting to ourselves in the equation, but also that we are not alone.
- We deepen trust with others as they see we are able to remain calm even in unwanted situations – exhibiting awareness, not apathy, but not jumping to conclusions and instead, letting the dust settle before considering the next step.
(In 2016 I shared a detailed list of 14 Ways to Get Back to Calm (episode #121), so if you would like to explore how to welcome more calm into your daily life, to nurture and welcome habits that create constructive defaults, be sure to check out this list.)
The first step to welcoming a life of regular everyday calm is to acknowledge that you are currently not living a life of grounding tranquility. In other words, you cannot find your footing in your everydays and are constantly moving, thinking, doing with so much frequency that you cannot find calm. You cannot just be.
Questions to ask yourself to determine if you are living with everyday calm:
- Are you at peace with how you engage with the world – clients, colleagues, loved ones, random strangers you interact with while going about your errands, etc.?
- Are you making decisions that align with your true self, your values, the life journey you are on and wish to be on?
Discomfort felt whilst we are growing and evolving into our wiser, more capable selves is temporary and not the same as discomfort that arises from an action we are not proud of, or that creates more frustration than tranquility. Being able to discern the difference, in other words, the true reasons for the discomfort, can only be known when we create space to be calm. All the more reason to ensure that indeed we are consistently calm in our everyday life.
As the afternoon sun beams through the freshly cleaned windows in the dining and living room, I am reminded that by tending to the unnecessary clutter (something discussed in detail last Monday) I can more clearly see what causes stress and obstructs my view to fully appreciate the beauty right outside my window, thus what disrupts my calm. It is when I can see with clarity this truth that I then can get back on the track what nurtures my well-being, and contributes to the life I want to live.
So today, and perhaps this week, take a bit of time to contemplate your state of daily calm, and if you already have attained this state regularly, continue to prioritize its importance and nurture what brings calm into your life. And if you would like to welcome more calm, explore what disrupts it (or prevents it) and begin stepping back into the regular practice of prioritizing this state of being – present, open-minded, aware and thus calm. It will almost immediately begin to feel a weight has been lifted from your shoulders, a feeling of liberation and in that moment you will recognize the full weight you were carrying unnecessarily.
It is not a luxury to live in a state of calm. In fact, it is a necessity that will reduce poor decisions, reduce unnecessary stress and reduce future longings of unfulfilled dreams.
SIMILAR POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
14 Ways to Get Back to Calm, episode #121
11 thoughts on “A Daily State of Calm: A Necessity to Living Well”
Shannon, I wanted to ask about your opinion regarding the trust that can be fostered in others when we remain “calm” in situations. I put that in quotes because it seems to be a somewhat personal and relative state to define at times. I speak from the HSP perspective, where we often get accused of overreacting and being irrational, but the truth is we simply see, feel and react on different levels, in different ways to things others don’t understand. I consider myself very even-keeled, but find my responses are treated as way off base by some.
It’s interesting though because I just followed your link to 14 ways to calm and saw that distancing ourselves from the “wrong” type of people can greatly benefit our calm. This makes so much sense but something I struggle with, since I invest deeply in relationships and don’t walk away easily.
What serendipitous timing. Have you read Paula Prober’s book that speaks in so many ways to HSPs, The Rain Forest Mind? I highly recommend it as it speaks to and acknowledges the truth you mentioned – understanding things that are just not immediately known to many others we may be surrounded by in a situation.
Thank you for checking out the follow-up post of How-Tos. You zeroed in on exactly the one that is vital. I think for many HSPs, and I include myself, it takes longer to find “your people” who speaks your language, often because it has taken us a bit longer to realize we are HSP and honor, rather than berate or try to change ourselves. However, to address your point above, because you are aware of so many details and intricacies this enables you to be calm, to let go of irrationality that stokes fear unnecessarily, and it is by observing your calm, no matter who surrounds you, they come to trust your depth of awareness that fosters the calm and that is how the trust builds. It is in fact your gift that brings you more readily to this grounding state. We cannot expect or assume others will trust us, but we begin to trust ourselves and our actions reflect this, and that is a powerful energy that people are drawn to if not directly, indirectly as you model and inspire.
I hope this helped and appreciate your visit to the blog today. Wishing you a great week.
That does help and I will have to check out that book, thank you! Thinking on what you said made me realize, yes, it is the people (family and friends) that have been in my life since before I knew about being HSP that I seem to have the most misunderstandings with. I have a closeness to them that is based on history instead of connection. The friends I have made since learning and embracing my true self are definitely the ones I can be more open, calm and free with. Maybe there are also more types of trust than I realized. We can mutually trust that those that have been in our life for so long will continue to be there, despite the occasional conflict. On the other hand, there is a different trust that comes with feeling understood and truly kindred.
That makes my mind wander to Anne of Green Gables, a very formative childhood book/movie for me. Looking back, she championed the HSP within before I even realized what it meant. I remember taking to this concept of kindred spirits quite strongly. She lived in a world that so few understood. I can picture her talking to Marilla about it, with such innocence, exclaiming, “Oh, Marilla, how MUCH you miss!” When I get responses such as “I’d never thought of that” or “I’d never noticed that before”, I want to say this exact thing to them. 🙂
Thanks again, Shannon.
Anne of Green Gables! She is a character that spoke to me as well at a very young age. She did feel to be a kindred spirit. On the topic of trust, I wrote this post/episode last year (2021) and the book that inspired it might be one to check out as well – there are indeed different types of trust (something I note as well in the intro to the April chapter in my recent book). Your noting the difference in the types of connections is spot-on.
Lovely to chat with you this morning. Have a wonderful week!
Same to you!
Shannon how timely this post is. I’ve nurtured my state of ‘calm over the years. I cannot function properly outside of this state. Like you said ” prioritise its importance daily. I’ve recently had to reluctantly disconnect with someone who was disturbing my calm.
Yesterday I experienced something small within my inner circle which rattled my calm. A state of panic ensued but after a few minutes of reflection and action my state of calm was restored , a weight was lifted off my shoulders and it felt so sweet. I could not have faced today if I was still weighted down. We owe it to ourselves to nurture this state of being. Kameela ?
Thank you for sharing how by having instilled this practice you are better able to handle unwanted situations (which will arise for all of us). I am happy for you that you have nurtured this skill, and grateful you have shared with us. I am sorry to hear about the chosen disconnect, but again, this is how we respect ourselves, by knowing ourselves and also knowing such steps in new directions need not be painful beyond the initial realization if we handle them with consideration and knowing what is best for our well-being. Thank you for your comment.
My father-in-law would often say “the main thing is not to get excited”. Probably the calmest person I ever knew, he just moved along at a steady pace. Miss him a lot, and when I get rattled over something I can hear him, so I take deep breaths and let it go; well, try to anyway. Trying to ‘sit’ on an unwanted family situation and hope it comes around; had made progress a couple years ago but old hurts rose to the surface again and anger is making the conversation very stiff but how do you get someone else to calm down?! And … clean windows ?. Mine all require a ladder, but better weather will come to cold and dreary Ohio!
Thank you for your comment. All we have control over is ourselves. We cannot control others, but we can be tactful, kind and that kindness extends to ourselves, to leave situations that are hurtful, painful and to remember to not take on someone’s else’s responsibility that is not ours to bear. And as for the windows that need a ladder, focus on what you can to bring calm, what is in your control right now?
Wishing you well. ?
Such an interesting article! 🙂
Trying to keep a core of inner calm/ quiet, in the midst of all doings of the days, is paramount for me. I am a ferocious defender – in a quiet manner, though 😉 – of my daily calm and nurture it as much as I can. No calm, no life, so to speak… No calm, no true contentment.
It takes work to bring one’s life to a state of calm – I know, I am an HSP after all. It is a dynamic and all encompassing process but, in my opinion, one of the worthiest things that one can accomplish in a life time.:-)
Thank you for sharing the value of calm in a life well lived. ? As you shared, it takes time and effort as we have to consciously be aware of what brings us calm, what disrupts it and how to move from the latter to the former without causing more stress. It is possible, but if done tactlessly can do more harm to all parties involved; however once we have clarity, it becomes easier and our environments begin to reflect what is needed and our contentment deepens tremendously.
Thank you very much for sharing Isabel. ?