Are you ready to give up the fight and give peace a chance?

That drive to survive, wanting to win, are you fighting a losing battle?

The fight to the top.
Life presents many obstacles. Overcoming each strengthens us, gives us a sense of achievement and confidence. Conquering each challenge develops character and makes us worthy. Fighting our way to the top feels good.

But what if you left the battlefield?
What if you stopped and asked ‘what am I fighting for?’

Suppose they gave a war and nobody came.
Expression used by hippies during the early seventies in protest against the Vietnam war.
Worn out from years of fighting to reach the top, improve life, have enough saved for tomorrow, boomers are again asking this question. ‘What am I fighting for?’.
I was one of those boomers, was this my ‘mid life crisis’?

The mid life crisis.
I had a mid life crisis and did what you do in a mid life crisis. I went back to my younger years, before I entered the battlefield, back to the peaceful hippie. I took a gap year, like the year between leaving school and entering college, when life was still fun, before the battle of adult responsibility begun.

Then, this ex hippie did what one does when the fight can’t be won.
Turn on, tune in and drop out.
In mindful contemplation, I began to understand that there was nothing to fight for.

Imagine all the people living for today, you may think that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
I resolved never to go back to a war, decided the War is Over. I’d stay in that place where they gave a war and nobody came and Give peace a chance. Imagine.

Why do humans fight for what they want?
Fight or flight is our biological response to acute stress, not only in humans but for all animals. In our caveman days, we were surrounded by predators, we had to fight for survival. We naturally perceive life as threatening, we have not left the jungle.

Why it is essential to try and give peace a chance.
We’re all well aware of the detrimental effects that living a life in heightened anxiety (stress) has on our bodies but believe we have no choice. We try everything to prevent stress, and gain control of our environment. Living like this often goes unnoticed in early adulthood but in mid life symptons arise as a consequence, it’s time to leave the battlefield.

Mindfulness will help to get back to that hippie and give peace a chance?
Mindfulness meditation is a great way to stop the fight and give peace a chance. It might take some time to recover but you can start by slowly introducing some of the following into life:

  • Stop worrying about the future or ruminating over the past, instead stay with the present.
  • Meditate for ten minutes each day, sit or lie down and  bring your mind to your breath, feel it coming and going through your nostrils, when your mind wonders to the worries or to do’s, gently guide it back to your breath.
  • Take a mindful walk through the park, feel the earth, rocks or grass under your feet. When your mind wonders bring it back to the present, the sights and sounds of nature, the sensations of the breeze, the sun on the side of your face.
  • Become aware when participating in gossip or judgment when talking to others.
  • Stop striving to improve yourself, you’ve already improved with age, like fine wine.
  • Stop trying to improve others in your life so that you can help them win the war, instead accept and support them through life’s ups and downs.
  • Decide to not read to know more, stop brain cells from deteriating or to be more employable, read for pleasure.
  • Do not exercise to stay fit and young, but to enjoy the wind in your hair and trying to catch your breath.
  • Do not eat to lose weight and look better, instead enjoy the flavour.

By practicing the above you will lose that drive to survive, but will go on living. You will flow more easily through life’s ups and downs. As others fight their wars around you, you’ll have empathy, but feel at peace.

Are you now ready to give up the fight and give peace a chance?

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Comments

  1. Just makes me want to sing, Priska! “Give peace a ch-a-a-n-c-e . . .” ;-)

    Thanks for the great tips on turning away from strife and toward peace.

  2. Coach Comeback says:

    I am ready to give peace a change. Meditation is probably the most effective method… that I have been neglecting. It’s time to reread Silva Mind. I immediately pulled it out of retirement after reading this post.

    Eat for flavor. Walk barefoot in the grass. Be impeccable with your word…. BREATHE

    • It is very effective and so simple, that is probably why we do not get around to doing it. But in a busy life remembering to stop and …BREATH is a great start.

  3. Great post. It takes time and effort to get back to peaceful period and state in life, but eventually when it happens no one wants to go back to war. :)

  4. Cat Atherton says:

    Hi Priska,

    I am a baby-boomer too, and your thoughts hit home… Or rather, opened the door to my home…

    You brought me smiles and a feeling of peacefulness.
    Thank you!

  5. Yes Priska – I’m ready to give peace a chance! Great thoughts!
    SteveinNC

  6. Taking a gap year is something every mid-lifer and baby boomer deserves. Perhaps if we all made that time for ourselves, we truly would give peace a chance! Lots of great ideas here to get back to what really matters! Love it!

    • Mid life has become a whole new stage of life. I agree, a mid life gap year for boomers should become as popular as the gap year between school and work/college. It’s a great opportunity to take that well earned holiday. Getting away from the busyness gives us the space to declutter from the past and explore new options.

  7. This is really great Priska – I think this post persuasively summarizes decades of your life experience. I’m looking forward to the future of your blog!

    • Thank you Amit- I’m enjoying connecting and sharing with those with similar values, the process of reinvention and doing what you value happens at several points in life.

  8. Priska, this is wonderful. Thank you so much.
    I will have to really think about this for weeks. It is so easy to get stuck in life’s daily chores and stresses. We have to really apply mindfulness meditation’s principles to your lives in order to life healthily and happily :)
    I just subscribed, followed you on twitter and liked your website on Facebook!
    Keep up with the excellent work!

    All the best,

  9. Ana- How wonderful that you are following me on twitter and liked me on facebook. There will be lots of mindfulness principles to come. Connecting this way is an inspiration to ‘boom on’. A far cry from that person who felt stuck, the doors have been opened to discover the valuable contribution each of us has to offer, no matter their place in life.

  10. I used to have the word breathe written above my desk but I have now moved my desk so that i look out at beautiful green. trees, bushes plants and an old graveyard, but that just reminds me to be even more grateful.

  11. Ciara, I am grateful that I live in a climate which affords me to sit outside looking out over the green, trees and bushes from a large deck.

  12. Priska,
    This post and your blog, the videos, and especially your picture (the latter says it all:Boom On!) is so right on. The years of worry and work, constant non-stop climbing and how you explained the change in you reflects how I felt, as most everyone feels. at a certain point in life. I wonder if at some time in the future,the culture can recognize this need to go inward and move on to ‘the third act’ But reading this through was like a meditation for me. I read and then reflected, remembering to breath mindfully. I listened to the videos, then signed up for more posts from you-whenever the spirit moves you to write. Thank you for such inspiration.

    • Lee, thank you so much for subscribing. Until I stepped out, I thought it was just me. Connecting with others will help the culture to recognize that there is a need for a whole new life stage to be recognized. it’s slowly happening, thank you for the inspiration.

  13. Lots of inspiration and food for thought here. Except that I’m thinking about what you say about doing things for the pleasure of them rather for an improvement goal–and I’m wondering how I can improve. It’s another item for my self-improvement list. Not what you had in mind! But still, there’s much wisdom here and a perspective to try on more frequently.

    • Theta, my forum friend, so wonderful that you’ve dropped by.
      I have spent a lifetime trying to improve myself, I’m not doing it anymore. Accepting that I am OK, quirks and all, took time to get my head around. It does not mean that I stop trying new things, just that I stopped improving because you who I was is not good enough.

  14. Such great words of wisdom and really compliment the topic for this month’s Zenhabits. There would be so much less pain in the world if people simply accepted and even liked themselves. I’m hoping to come to a deep acceptance of myself after years and years of looking to the outside for validation.

  15. I was not aware that I was not accepting myself. I was simply trying to improve myself. Life now feels more comfortable knowing I don’t need to improve. But I’m happy to explore options that bring me closer to my values.

  16. Priska, are we sisters from another mother? You wrote my story. The hippie years, the music, the musings…. it was written from my own heart. My new motto for all things in life (including wacky family members, etc) is “Go in peace”. It is soo freeing when I just want to radiate love and peace and not judge, tell you what you should do, etc. Love this post. Thanks.

  17. P.S. In fact your post rang so true for me I went to your “about me” page and it was my story! Hi sista!

  18. Hi Sista! Great to Connect! Perhaps I should put your photo on my ‘about page’ as well. Look forward to sharing our stories as we boom on.

  19. crystalclaritytanja says:

    Beautiful post, Priska – peace is something I’ve been seeking within myself as I’ve been through Dad’s illness and passing over the past year and a half. I love your suggestions for finding it above.

    Blessings

    TANJA

  20. Life has been difficult, with major turning points it takes time, by practicing some of the suggestions, peace will come without your seeking.

  21. Priska

    I’ve been made redundant from my job – partially influenced by me, but also at the mercy of others – but am doing just as you mentioned… taking a gap year. (Although my finances may not permit me an entire year)… but I am taking a chance and making a sea change. (Literally!)

    Deb

  22. Deb- I’m sorry to hear of your redundancy-but it was partially influenced by you because it was time to ‘boom on.’ That’s why this platform is here, to support each other and lend a hand during the process. I’m dedicating my next post to you because it’s your time to rewire. I’ll be following your seachange and mechange.

  23. Meditation and mindfulness are relatively new concepts to me but are both things I’d like to start working on. I think they’re helpful tools for anyone. Finding inner peace is so important!

  24. Thanks to Matt’s comment, I was able to revisit this inspiring post once again. Just had to say thanks!

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