Advent Week 2 – Peace During Challenging Times
With the celebration of our second week of Advent, as we get ready to light the Advent wreath’s 2nd candle, the idea of peace feels a little different this year. Maybe some of you join me in experiencing a little trouble lately, finding peace amidst the anxiety and confusion of uncertainty, where my “normal” ways of doing life are being strained or changed.
I would like to share a few things that have helped me with this, from some resources I have found.
John J. Murphy really puts this in perspective: It’s all about How We Set Our Minds
“Here’s the point. We can all look at the same thing and interpret it very differently, depending on what we hold in mind – a person, a virus, a layoff. It isn’t anything “out there” that upsets us. It is what we think of out there that upsets us. If you find yourself constantly stressed and distracted during this pandemic over abstract fears regarding it and what may happen rather than what is currently happening, that comes from your mind and can be detrimental to dealing with the actual situation. The mind is very powerful. Therefore, learning to be mindful – minding the mind – is a wise and healthy choice. It is the one and only thing we really have any control over.”
So as we move through Advent, we may miss some of the hustle bustle, but on the other hand, we don’t have to rush around so much, and might even have more time to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” I think Christmas can BE more Peaceful. We may remember to look for Christ as he appears in so many wonders around us, that we may have missed in the normal Christmas chaos. How are we going to look at it? What mindset will we have? Will we focus on what we do not have or what we are missing? How much peace does that bring? Or will we focus on what we do have or what might be there for us to find? Where will we find the most peace?
There are some useful tools to find peace this Advent (or anytime) in John J. Murphy’s article on MindfulLeader.org, called 4 Steps to More Inner Peace During a Pandemic. He reminds us that,
“Stress is a response to the mind. It doesn’t happen to us. It comes from us. Therefore, whenever we are feeling stressed, it is wise to stop and consider why. In this situation, why am I choosing stress? What thoughts or beliefs (repeated thoughts) am I holding in mind? This helps us get to the root cause of the problem, which is a projection of the ego, and find ways to detach from it. Why try to manage something when we can delete it? Why solve problems inside a box when it is the box (fear-based ego thought system) that is the problem?”
“Four steps to more inner peace: “Let BE (It is what it is);” “let GO (of our negative mental projections and limiting beliefs.);” “let SEE (become more mindful, aware, and appreciative of the many things we have taken for granted);” and let “FLOW” (being “present in the moment” and see where it takes you.)
This author has a fun way of explaining all this in more details in his article: https://www.mindfulleader.org/blog/39278-4-steps-to-more-inner-peace-during-a
A few other links that might help you find peace (and love and hope and joy) in Advent are:
- Prayer for Advent Week 2: https://www.bne.catholic.edu.au/formationandleadership/prayer/Documents/Advent%20-%20Week%202.pdf
- Advent Calendar for Adults https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical-year/advent/calendars/advent-calendar-for-adults/
- Podcasts https://sjnen.org/ignatian-spirituality/2012-advent-resources
May you enjoy a peaceful Advent.