Looking for peace and hope

In the midst of stressful lives, when we’re always running behind schedule and have fifty million things on our to-do list, it’s good to think about ways to bring our hearts to a place of peace. And when bad news splashes across the newspapers, television, and our computer screens, how can we restore our sense of hope?

Here are the final questions I asked of the women I interviewed for Warm Cup of Wisdom: Inspirational Insights on Relationships and Life:

When are you most at peace? What keeps you moving forward into hope? Where do you look for inspiration?

Here are answers that most inspired me.

Ruth: “I am most at peace with a book or a pen in my hand. When I am out of doors, either gardening or sitting in my old blue chair, listening to the chickadees. When I have cooked up a stew and am sitting around the table with my family. When I am talking with a friend, with someone I love and trust. Being with people that I love helps bring my heart back to peace.”

Eva: “One thing that has helped me is a benediction recited at the end of Anglican services I attended as a youth. It begins: ‘Go out into the world in peace. Have courage. Hold on to what is good.’ Very often, in my later life, I’ve felt so low that I’ve been reluctant to even leave the house. Then that benediction would come to me, urging me to ‘Go!’ Not just go, but ‘Go out in peace’ and ‘Have courage.’ That blessing has given me courage very, very often.”

Susan: “I feel grounded most of the time—if that’s what you call peace. I am grounded, but the peace definitely has a wavy surface. Anything can change in the blink of an eye. I think being grounded is much more important than being at peace.”

Isabelle: “I find music can be very helpful to pain. It’s an inspiration to me to have really good music or see really good theater. I love to go and see somebody who captures the spirit of another person. That can make me feel really happy inside.”

Katherine: “I’m at peace having coffee in the morning on my patio. The older I get, the more solitude means to me.”

Joy: “It’s very important to learn to be in the moment. Too often we don’t take the day, the hour, even twenty minutes to be in the present. Sometimes I compose haiku poems while driving. This a great mental exercise: think about this particular point of the trip and be open to why it is resonating. It’s better than taking a photograph!”

Anna: “I would love to get to hold a baby every day. That would just thrill my soul.”

Ruth: “I look for inspiration in the ordinary: in the ordinary beauty of the day, in the details of family relationships, in nature and my garden.”

Hope these images of peace and hope give you inspiration this holiday season!