REFLECTION BY DONNA DAY © 2023
May we glide into 2023 with gentle energy and increase our Peace Power through reflection, taking time to observe ourselves, our thoughts, emotions, words, and patterns on a daily basis. Rather than think about what we should do or could do, we choose to simply observe ourselves and learn. Our observations over time show us the conditions and situations in which we feel grumpy or gracious or judgmental or kind or peaceful.
A simple, powerful, nightly practice to help us know ourselves even better is to write in a journal or dictate into our phone what we observed about ourselves that day. I had been thinking about doing just such a nightly reflection, when my friend Amy gave me a beautiful Bedtime Journal for my birthday. I love using it for reflection because it helps me discover/remember how my choices impact my state of mind, my body’s comfort, and my inner peace.
Writing down our peace or lack of it helps us see our patterns and laugh at ourselves when we discover our silliness: “Here I go again judging myself and others. I definitely know how to be unpeaceful and so I won't choose to do this anymore!” This daily reflection also gives us a chance to applaud ourselves when we see growth in our Peace Power. “I choose compassion instead of judgment and my heart is now happy!” (Important sidebar: If it works better for you to reflect at noon each day or whenever, please do so. Reflections are more important than the time of day.)
What are some questions to ask ourselves during our daily check-ins? You will know what questions are best and most pertinent for you.
To get you started, here are some I have found simple and useful:
- When did I feel peaceful? What was I doing? Thinking?
- What contributed to my peace?
- When did I see and feel myself not peaceful?
- What contributed to my lack of peace?
- What is worth repeating tomorrow?
- What is not worth repeating tomorrow?
Observation and reflection allow us to look within and see what we are doing that is peaceful, what triggers us to fall out of peace, and what brings us back to peace. Observation and reflection are not a one-shot deal, but rather an ongoing self-guidance practice.
I chose the photo of a Night Heron for our practice of reflection because it beautifully illustrates the process of introspection. The reflected image of the Night Heron is not exactly the same as what the Night Heron might think of her/himself, but it reflects the conditions at the time. The same is true of ourselves; we may think we are gentle or thoughtful or careless or thoughtless and through introspection discover a new perspective, a new look at ourselves which can help us learn how to strengthen our inner peace.
May our nightly contemplations
Uncover our foibles
Dissuade us from judgments
Reveal our kindnesses
Bestow hope and
Lead us home to
Reflections – Recently, I had a non-peaceful day caused by my thoughts, specifically thoughts about another person who had recently reappeared in my life after a long hiatus. Our last meeting had not been pleasant and had left me feeling uncomfortable about even being around this person.
Our reunion occurred spontaneously when we both appeared at the same place and same time. I spent quite a bit of the rest of the day judging myself as having “behaved poorly,” because I did not treat the person like a long-lost friend. My nightly reflection helped me see the reason things seemed okay before with this this person was because we had not been together, not because of my inner healing.
As I mentioned, I felt miserable all day and “off” because of not feeling loving or kind towards this person. Observing and then reflecting on and writing about my misery helped me with the shift to healing. Once I realized I could not abide having such a heavy, unhappy heart, it opened with compassion: first for my own suffering and then for the other person's pain. My willingness to feel compassion for both of us brought serene relief.
Documenting my healing through reflection has honored my growth and helped me remember how easy it is to judge and how much more peaceful I feel when I have compassion for myself and others. Writing down my struggles and successes in nightly reflections helps me see energetic shifts within myself and gives me hope for a life of peace in every breath, in every moment.
Your turn to reflect – How might you incorporate a daily peace reflection in your life? What does peace look like in your life? When, where, and how might you be more compassionate, kind, open, accepting, peaceful? How do you feel when you are more compassionate, kind, open, accepting, peaceful?
Thank you for being a vital part of Peace on Earth by nurturing peace in your heart, in your life. The more that you embody peace, the more peace there is.
Your comments and suggestions are welcomed. (Click on the blue link below.)
“The journey into self-love and self-acceptance
must begin with self-examination…
until you take the journey of self-reflection,
it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.”
– Iyanla Vanzant
Photo of Yellow-Crowned Night Heron taken by Donna Day at Ferry dock at Caspersens Beach
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