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Inner Peace: A gift for the holidays

I'm going to propose something radical for the holidays: the gift of "being." What kind of gift to others is this? It is the gift of inner peace.

It may sound strange, even selfish, to give this unique gift — but I've seen it work. It works for me.


By taking the time to "be." Much less doing, activity, striving, and busyness. It means sitting, resting, seemingly doing nothing for big chunks of time.

The gift?

I have been much more available, more "present" to others. I hear their unspoken needs. I listen to what they are speaking about. I receive inner guidance describing what is going on inside myself and, often, clarity. Thus I can respond with love, compassion, understanding and, sometimes, with "doing."

The "doing" that arises from the space of inner peace is other-directed. It is for the person's benefit, not for some half-hidden egoic need of my own which previously was covered up with being nice, shoulds or the ideas of service. Now what arises comes for a deeper inner peace and wisdom.

That wisdom always is present, I believe. But my past busyness had kept it at bay. I am to be more alert, more insightful now that I am doing less. My practice of being more and doing less has arisen from the need to be quiet and focus my attention on healing from metastatic lung cancer.

I see the challenge, having been a type A personality, of resting in that awareness while raising a family, striving for a satisfying, fulfilling career, attempting to be part of the community service and so forth. Activities had taken me away from myself, away from inner peace. Thus, the supposed "giving" I was offering had been coming from a place of busyness, of trying to fit it all in, with little or no time for reflection, meditation, watching the cloud formations, the wild turkeys, the thoughts of my mind. Inner peace has arisen from spending more of my time and energy on nothing.

Strange, to do nothing and get more!

What I see is that inner peace — despite the illness, despite the decisions that I must make on my own, despite the numerous scheduled treatments of body, mind and spirit — offers so much. What a gift to my friends and community! A woman who, instead of bustling around trying to be helpful and to get things done, is available and willing to listen to inner guidance, to learn to distinguish between the thoughts that arise of the ego and truth. It's a practice. A study. A way of being in the world.

As I give this precious gift to myself, I see how others benefit. I happen to be at the right place the right time, unscheduled, to support a small group meeting. People and things become available just as I need them and we all seem to benefit in a new way. We all smile. We feel connected to each other, to the one Source. We are at peace.

So it occurs to me that, for the holidays, if each of us gave ourselves the gift of being — taking time away from the callings of life, to just rest, doing nothing but what we are inspired, truly inspired to do, (like my writing this article in just a few short moments of time) those things that take non-action — it will be a great gift to others.

How funny to hand a friend an empty platter where cookies would have appeared, and instead a note that says, "pass it on — take the baking time to nurture your inner peace instead, and give that as your gift for the holidays."

What would our community, our world, look like then?

Let's find out!

Talia Miller is a retired breast cancer recovery coach and founder of the nonprofit organization the Breast Cancer Support Center, who was busy for many years doing her career and earning a doctorate in spiritual studies. She now recognizes that all those achievements kept her at a distance from herself, the true gift she now receives and gives. Send your 650-word article on your path to inner peace to Sally McKirgan at innerpeace@q.com.