Monday, November 18, 2013

Cultivating Calmness


‘Make inner peace your highest goal and you will probably never make another mistake.’ – Brian Tracy

I heard this listening to an audiobook by my friend Brian Tracy when I was driving home from work a few days ago. I wrote it down at the next red light and put it in my little French Chic notebook when I got home. I have been repeating it to myself since I first heard it and it has been so helpful and comforting.

Getting worked up over little things always makes me feel awful and I know it’s not good for me, both mentally and physically. Now that I have taken on board to ‘make inner peace my highest goal', situations that I would have become quite annoyed with were simply smoothed over and I felt much better about everything afterwards even though ‘by rights’ I should have been bothered about something.

In an instance where I feel myself becoming peeved over a minor annoyance, I repeat the saying to myself and instantly feel transformed. Inner peace is a wonderful thing to strive for and I’m going to use Brian’s saying almost as my life motto.

I was at the supermarket just before, and I noticed I was overcharged for two items. I went to the customer services desk and was told I was wrong. I was sure I was right but after querying them a bit more and them telling me I could ring the toll-free number for their head office to check it out, I said I trusted them, and left the store.

I had planned to call the head office once I got to the car ‘for my own peace of mind’ to know if I was incorrect or they were. By the time I opened my car door I had been repeating my new mantra to myself and realised it wasn’t worth the $1.89 difference to me (even though I believe the saying that if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves).

I could see me spending time on hold and getting myself all churned up talking to someone trying to prove I was right. It wasn’t worth it! Making inner peace my highest goal saved the day and I was calm as I drove home.

Last week I was reading about Kim Cattrell in an English magazine (Woman & Home, May 2013). She was being interviewed, among other things, about how incredible she looks for her age. This is what she said:

When I hit my forties I thought, ‘I can’t play a sexy siren any more.’ Almost 20 years later, it’s still going on. I think that’s because I take care of myself, which includes dieting, exercising and minimizing stress. I joke that I’ve been on a diet since 1974, which is basically true. I like to eat, and my body type is not naturally this thin, especially at this age. So I do watch what I eat and drink but I’m not obsessive – it’s just a way of life. So I don’t have dessert after every meal – I just can’t do it. I have a big appetite, and staying on top of that is about knowing myself and saying, ‘I can eat that today but tomorrow I’m not going to.’ And I’m always aware – from gaining and losing weight for parts – that the time in the gym trying to lose extra weight is really hard work! I always have that in my mind.

Apart from the fact that I was impressed with her honesty, I thought it was so interesting that she included reducing stress in her life as one of her keys to staying slim, healthy and youthful-looking.

You often hear celebrities talk about meditation and I even bought myself Meditation for Dummies which actually is a wonderful book. But I still would get all righteous and worked up over small injustices in daily life and the meditation book couldn’t fix that.

I always felt like I wanted everything to be fair. It was easy when I was the one who had to tell the truth, give back the wallet I found with $400 in it, own up to a mistake and all those sorts of things. But when it’s the other person who should be ‘giving in’, well, you can’t control that and it’s stressful when you try!

So as good as my meditation book was, it didn’t help me be calm in various situations. My ‘new life motto’ does. It helps me see the truth and live a peaceful life. It applies to any and every situation that I have tested it on so far and I am very thankful that I came across it.


  1. sometimes us mild mannered people tend to get screwed over, because the hassle and aggravation ends up costing us more.

  2. I really can use this quote Fiona.
    Sometimes we need a reminder and that could be a mantra.

    I got myself all worked up over an overcharge at the grocery store recently too and I had to do some deep breathing to get myself back on was not worth it.

  3. love this fiona. i recently hear a saying that has transformed my thinking too. *stop fighting the universe.* i believe that is the same as your mantra. it has totally changed how i look at the big and small things in life. it's funny how hearing the right thing at just the right time is so important. i think we were both ready to hear the words. well that's what i believe. thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts. x

  4. I just discovered your blog and then saw your comment on "The Gardener's Cottage." It is Kismet that I discovered you and hope to tune in regularly. Cultivating calmness can save one's inner life. My husband has the natural gifts of kindness, calmness and the ability to understand what another may be feeling. He is always telling me, "You don't have to win, Kristine." That reminded me of your decision to just let it go which served you so much better than winning. Bravo!

  5. I'm sure there must be a way to chase up those 'wrongs' without getting 'het up' about it...but I've not discovered how to do that reliably either.

  6. ~But I still would get all righteous and worked up over small injustices in daily life.
    Oh, me too! But you are so right about knowing when a situation is just not worth stressing yourself over - this is something I try to remember (but don't always succeed.)

  7. I agree with the other comments. The passive types do get walked on a lot and I'm one of them :). I think in that situation, I agree, it's not worth getting worked up about, but I also make the internal decision to not shop there anymore. Sort of like voting with your wallet. I wonder how many stores realize they lose customers every day over the little slights a customer may feel in their store.

  8. Fiona, I can commiserate! As an example, recently I was stuck in a congested parking lot and because I didn't squeeze my car along fast enough for the lady behind me she decided to honk her horn at me continuously. I had had enough and opened my car door to pretend I was going to get out and speak to her. Of course, I would never actually get out but it was the only way I could think of to get her to stop. It worked but I was appalled at myself for letting her get to me. Consequently, my daughter's friends father happened to be their too and saw it. I can't tell you how ashamed of myself I am. Sometimes it is just so hard having to deal with impatient, grumpy people though.

  9. @ Anonymous and Fiona: Many times I end up so angry at myself after dealing with obnoxious people, not so much because of their actions, but my reaction toward them. I can't control their behavior, but I can control mine. I find that some people get a rise out of annoying others and that if I remain calm and poised, and if possible, to ignore them completely, it tends to make them even more agitated. Putting into practice what Fiona's post is all about, it makes me look like the bigger person in the end.

  10. Dear Fiona,

    I came across your blog only yesterday, and I have been very much enjoying it! I adore this piece you have written about making inner peace your highest goal, it is truly inspirational! I love to have affirmations and mottos to live by, and like to change them around every now and then, since we do change as time goes by, and this one is going to be my new go to one for the time being. Thank you for writing this beautiful post :-)

  11. I don't have a French Chic Notebook, but I LOVE the idea! I do have a journal and this is on the first page:
    "Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions."

  12. I heard this from somewhere "Happiness is the space between stimulus and response".
    You could swap inner peace for happiness, or have both.
    I like it, it is empowering to know that I have time and space to choose how I am going to respond to a situation.

  13. Hi Fiona

    I'm learning, but have certainly not yet mastered (!), to replace those thoughts "for justice" with gratitude, and rather try to choose at those moments to count my blessings instead. It's amazing how quickly the feeling of inner peace can take over as I switch my focus to what I am grateful for in my life at that time. Stops me short from going down a path of negative thinking. Hopefully I can get to a point where this gratitude response is more automatic and consistent and less of a conscious effort... Thanks for another inspiring read.

  14. Thank you, Fiona, again for your lovely blog.

    It's beautiful how simple and clear your posts are.

    The way you write your ideas aligns with the serene messages you always convey.


  15. OMG! Just randomly looked up your blog today for a revisit (I had read all of your old posts and was disappointed when you stopped) and was thrilled to see that you had resumed! I also interpret your mantra (for me) that it can guide against making things more difficult for oneself in that if you're goal is inner peace, why procrastinate about something that is going to cause you major grief later due to the putting-off? (Procrastination is my #1 problem.) Great stuff, and once again YAY for your return!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...