Peace of mind

My Story Worth for this week. “What gives you peace of mind?”

The glib reply is that beer gives me peace of mind. That answer is not wrong, but it is incomplete and not an explanation w/o the deeper dig of asking why and what else is similar?

Having a beer is a joy when & because it helps you be in the moment. It certainly does not happen each time when past, present & future merge. The ambiance is more important than the beverage, so let’s explore that.

I will recall three episodes of absolute peace of mind. Two don’t involve beer. Let me share them, since the illustration may be easier than the explanation.

Finding peace in trees and nature.
A few months ago, in January, I was planting longleaf. I was by myself with 400 seedlings that I wanted to get them into the ground before sunset. The day was seasonally warm, but with enough of a cold tinge in the air to remind you it was winter. When I was mostly done, I looked back at my little pine trees and felt a profound connection with everything. The events of this day, however, were not sufficient to explain the peaceful feeling. The kids had recently come down to plant trees. That connection with their work and my hopes for future on the land was a strong contributing factor.

Even in Iraq (in Iraq there is no beer)
Iraq was not a place where you would expect to find peaceful thoughts, but there was a couple of occasions when they forced themselves in. Once as during a short walk from my office to a recently completed the bathroom complex. I was grateful for the luxury of a bathroom, but what really set off the peaceful feeling was a cool wind. It was October, the first cool wind I felt since I landed. Summers in Iraq are furnace hot and the winds of summer bring no relief. Sometimes they pick up hot sand and give you a hot sand blasting. This one was different, a harbinger of cooler and maybe better times. And it got get better. Winter in the western desert is pleasant, with cool nights and sometimes cool days warmed by the sun usually unobscured by clouds. I found peace in the warm sun, waiting for helicopters, taking time between transports or just taking a few minutes break.
I had the feeling yesterday, BTW, in Boise. I took the opportunity of the early morning to walk along the Boise River. It was simply wonderful. Wonder is simple.

And finally with the beer
Let me close with the beer. It is more than just drinking the golden liquid or the good feeling it brings. I almost never enjoy beer when I am alone. I would likely stop drinking it if I always had to drink by myself. It is the fellowship that counts. There were good times drinking beer with lifelong friends in Wisconsin and a couple with short time acquaintances all around the world. It is the ritual that brings back the feelings and the memories. Those of you who know my Facebook page haves seen scores of pictures of Chrissy & me. People we know seem to enjoy seeing them, and I like sharing. If we are considering a feeling of peace that I can have, I can have it almost any time. With Chrissy I get that feeling of pat present and future, that peaceful feeling.

This is the wonderful thing about life for all of us, or at least most of us, have nearly instant access to that peaceful feeling. There are many roads. It is found simply in nature, if you know how to look. It is easily found in the moment if you take time to appreciate it. But I think the way easiest for most people in to look for it in other people. It is all around us all the time, as easy to find as the air we breathe. Too often, however, we just refuse to take the deep breath.

My pictures are from my time in Iraq. It was not an easy place to find that peaceful easy feeling, but it was there.