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February 15th, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.  Really?

This time of year “peace on earth, goodwill to men” – the famous angelic message to mankind – rings in our ears through holiday voices.  Sounds good, yet do we really experience peace?  I can’t address world peace here, but I will address something each of us can know – personal peace.  Not easy, but definitely possible.

We know our lives are too full.  Full of gadgets, gizmos and commitments.  Full of promises, obligations and expectations.  Full of calendar, empty of time.  Technology has provided so many “time-saving” helps we can’t keep up with them.  We are high tech, high speed, and high clutter.  Little by little, what was supposed to save time has spent it before it arrives.  What was intended to make life easier has complicated it beyond words.  Our world is high tech, but our bodies, minds, and spirits are old school.  We struggle to keep up, and continue to lag behind.  This race is never won, all consuming, and completely exhausting.  What may be crying out for attention cannot be heard over the din of technology and command performances.  And the one thing that cries the loudest, but gets the least attention, is our own personal peace – that inner sense of quietude and calm.

Our bodies, minds, and spirits function their best in a state of order, quiet and peace.  Hardly what we face day-to-day at work or home.  We have created this world of havoc and cacophony ourselves, and have been taught to believe we must live in it, and with it.  To some extent we do, but we have the personal authority to make choices to enable us to live more simply – more peacefully.

I have worked through the clutter of my own life for many years.  I know it isn’t easy.  We are so conditioned to nurture the chaos that it requires a strong commitment to seek the simple instead.  Multiple distractions, forms of clutter, voices speaking, over-bookings and too much information keeps us from seeing, hearing or thinking clearly. When we acknowledge this is a truth for us, we can begin to clarify and sort, editing things out of our lives. This cleaning involves studying and assessing what we want to keep, then making choices and tossing out the clutter.  We must look at our bodies, minds and spirits, our finances, relationships and health, the physical and emotional conditions in our homes and offices.  Peace cannot be obtained until we deal with the internal and external clutter carelessly tossed on top of what we need – a clear mind, steady emotions, and a peaceful spirit.

Much of the time we can do this deep cleaning ourselves.  But for some things, personal or professional, seen or unseen, rediscovering peace requires some help.  What kind of expert could help you achieve a simpler life and experience more peace?  Do you need a personal trainer, an executive coach, an organizational expert (for home or work), or even a therapist to help you resolve the past and keep it there?  I often do make referrals for my clients to other professionals.  They may need a professional organizer (I did), to get their work or home area in a streamlined efficient condition, reflecting who they are and what they do.

During the physical process we are also sorting, tossing and organizing emotionally and spiritually.  Values are reclaimed, purpose is re-established. It feels good to relax into clarity instead of chaos.  Every corner of life is dragged out for review, and sometimes for burial, never to be exhumed.  Some sorting and organizing will not just be mountains of stuff, but mountains of gadgetry, piles of commitments and heaps of “white noise.”  That may mean turning off cell phones, ignoring social networks, making fewer commitments and quieting the constant blaring of other high tech balls and chains.

Peace is not just an individual issue, but one that organizations need to consider also.  This is particularly true in mergers and acquisitions where the fear of the unknown future can cause people−entire organizations−to hang onto “stuff.”  The organizational attic gets cluttered with things that can prevent a rich future.  If the past−or even the present−is hoarded, it will only crowd out the future.

As a special gift to yourself, and likely to those around you, turn it off, toss it out, trade it away, keeping only what you truly need, and what you honestly want.  Don’t spend this time intended to reflect “peace on earth” completely deaf and dead inside.  Find your own peace, and you will be much more able to spread it around as “goodwill to men.