Living in peace

Ruth Griffiths

Each year during Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, I challenge myself to write columns about the themes of Advent: hope, peace, joy and love. This week I take a look at “peace”.
As I did last week, I started by researching the definition of the theme.
Wikipedia defines peace for the individual and the community: “Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups.”
An essay by a student at University of Louiseville takes a broad view: “Peace is freedom from violence from peers, partners, family, strangers, and the state. Peace is compassion for others. Peace is being able to grow and thrive …Peace is freedom from binary concepts and thinking. Peace is accepting of various religious practices, or the lack thereof.”
A student at Columbian College in Washington, DC says: “Peace means living our lives selflessly, treating others with respect, sharing the extra that comes to us with others who have been shortchanged. It means being in the wilderness without fear but with respect for the world around us.”
Looking inward, Collins Dictionary suggests: “When you are at peace with yourself or at peace with the world, you feel calm and contented, and you have no emotional conflicts within yourself or with other people.”
An online learning centre, International Peace Initiative. states: “Living in peace is about living harmoniously with yourself, others, and all sentient beings around you. Living in peace is both an outward and an inward process. Outwardly, it’s a way of life in which we respect and love each other in spite of our cultural, religious, and political differences.”
Peace, both inward and outward, is essential., but where do you find peace? My online research suggested these small steps to peace:
Spend time in nature – When you spend time in nature, such as taking short walks or appreciating nature, you may find serenity. In Prince Albert we are blessed with many green spaces which has resulted in us being named “the greenest city in Canada.”
Meditate – A simple meditation is to stop what you are doing and listen.
Be grateful – Adopting an attitude of gratitude provides a positive framework for your thoughts.
Take responsibility for your actions — Avoid the blame game. Put yourself in charge of all you do.
Love yourself — Practice acceptance and contentment. The happiest people are comfortable with who they have become as they age. Don’t let your past mistakes define you.
Declutter — Create a harmonious living space for yourself.
The observance of Advent is a Christian tradition, but our longing for peace transcends cultures. Peace be with you.