Tranquility within

The lilac grove at Montreal Botanical Garden is a great place to re-visit in my mind!  May 2009

The lilac grove at Montreal Botanical Garden is a great place to re-visit in my mind! May 2009

“When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.”François La Rochefoucauld

We’ve all known people who are restless and never satisfied.  Often these types are blessed with better-than-average advantages in life, but they seem to end up agitated and critical no matter how many times they change scenarios.  I think many of us go through phases, or at least have days, when we can sympathize with this sort of discontent.

Yet La Rochefoucauld does not speak of inner tranquility as a passive constant– note that he speaks of finding tranquility within. To me, this suggests that sometimes we do have to search for it, but we need to look first inside our own hearts and minds.  Ultimately, externals do not determine whether we succeed in finding peace.  Those who are continually blaming other people or tough circumstances for their unhappiness may be overlooking themselves as the most obvious influence on their own moods.

Having said that, let’s remember it’s possible to choose places, people and situations that will stack the deck in our favor when it comes to establishing a calm spirit.  I hope you have at least a few tranquil places, serene people and beatific experiences to help center you deep inside when the storms rage outside.  Lovely photos, soft music, scents of lavender and vanilla, a few deep breaths — there are many ways to light the path to the tranquil sanctuary we carry within us.  I wish you a quick getaway to spend at least a few minutes there today!

One year ago today:

Being peace

16 Comments

  1. Good morning, Julia. thanks for this lovely photo. I’m generally a calm person but occasionally I can become restless. But I resolve the issues within myself…

    • That’s the best way to do it, and the only sure way, I think.

  2. Susan

    Thank you, Julia, for giving us the gift of bringing to mind “scents of lavender and vanilla, a few deep breaths….” In short, a tranquil sanctuary. I just love to visit this site!

    • Susan, I am so happy to hear that! Your kind comment has added a smile to my day. Thanks for being here!

  3. Thank u for sharing. Facing two-life threatening illnesses within the last six years, showed me the importance of being still, resting and finding my personal spaces of serenity.

    • Yvonne, I am thankful you have survived your trials and put those lessons into practice. As horrible as illness is, I do think it teaches us lessons not learned in any other way. I’m getting mine secondhand from watching Jeff, Matt and others close to me who have suffered, but stillness and serenity are useful to all involved. Thanks for being here with us!

  4. Sheila

    Julia, searching our own hearts and minds before we play “The Blame Game” is excellent advice. When we find that peace and tranquility within, God resides there! Thinking of you! 😎

    • Sheila, as with so many things I write, I need to take my own advice! For me, part of finding peace within is learning to give up perfectionism, a trait that runs deeply in Jeff and me both. Sometimes we help each other to overcome it, but sometimes we also reinforce it in each other, confusing high standards with perfectionism. One way to tell the difference between the two is that one produces inner peace, and one does just the opposite. “By their fruits you shall know them.” Thanks for being here and thinking of us – I think of you often too, always with gratitude!

  5. Jack

    “If God is for us, who can be against us.” If that doesn’t bring peace, shalom, it ain’t coming, not in any permanent sense anyway. I learned long ago that my soul is not a tranquil pond, but instead a sea in turmoil, raging to the demands of what I believe I need set against the certainty that “neither death nor life, angels nor demons…can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus”. Or in the wisdom of the ages, as Alfred E. Neuman says, “what, me worry?”.

    There you go, the Bible and Mad magazine in the same post. Prize?

    • Jack, you have managed to cite two very different but highly influential forces in my life! A great many of our family’s esoteric idioms came directly from the pages of Mad Magazine! But the verse you cited first transcends even the best of Mad. As with all such inspired wisdom, the trick for me is remembering it and living as one who REALLY believes it. When you think about it, the Sermon on the Mount contains some of the most outrageous and liberating doctrine of all time. If only we didn’t tend to respond “Yes, but…” when we read its words! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here – I really need to hear such reminders.

  6. It’s not too often that tranquility remains elusive in my personal life. I consider myself really lucky to, on most days, be able to do what I wish. Even a work day is something I really look forward too. This past month has been a challenge but the end to that is very near (2 more days). I’ve been blitz packing and in some cases, just throwing things in the car and driving over to the house is quicker than carefully packing it. “Just suck it up” has been my ‘go to’ mantra this month, HA. How’s that for a solution to tranquility?
    I do truly believe we are all the keepers of our own well being. I’m not too proud to ask for help when things go of the tranquility rail. That being said, I do relate to Rochefoucauld saying, “it’s should be in ourselves”. A loving spouse and loyal friends are a gift in life and shouldn’t be taken for granted. I think, by relying on others to make you happy, is taking advantage of their gift of love.

    • I agree! A big part of finding tranquility within is remembering the blessings we enjoy, and that always starts with thinking of the people who are kind and caring toward us. I smile when I read about “blitz packing” remembering all the moves Jeff and I have been through. I’m amazed you can be online at all right now – thanks for stopping by! Good luck with your last minute details and CONGRATULATIONS on your new home!!

      • Thank you Julia, I really don’t know how you did this so many times. I’ve been at it for 3 weeks straight and managed to move a lot of breakables myself. I just got home 11:24 pm local time. I wanted to vacuum and wash the floors and have them ready for our furniture and area rug. So now, all is as good as it’s going to get, LOL. xoK

        • You are so wise to pack the breakables yourself and also hand carry anything you want to be sure not to lose. We learned a lot about moving from hard experience. Among which lessons, the one about not getting too attached to anything. 😀 I will never forget our first military move. The truck came and packed up everything and drove off from our (sold) home and Jeff and I were just standing in the driveway with only our former home, our old car, and baby Drew. At first it was a bit scary, then the most wonderful and free feeling came over me. It was just us, and that was all we really needed.

  7. raynard

    Julia I just read your comment about Mad Magazine. I read it ( the magazine about a month ago) It’s now online. I see a good sign my new boss coming so i can get off this crazy 12 hour schedule and ” visit that place in my mind ” where I dont need to pack anything lol. be blessed

    • I will have to look Mad up online. I wonder if it is still as good as I remember it? We have a book with some of the classic ones in it. I hope you do get off your 12 hour schedule. Not packing is one of the big perks of imaginary travel, not to mention fuel costs and security checkpoints!

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