New Castle News

May 1, 2014

Lori Brothers: Internal exercise can make you a peacemaker in your own life

Lori Brothers
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — I recently spoke with a woman who asked me to pray for her and her family because they were going through a hard time.

My heart understood that she was asking for support, and I felt compassion because, human to human, we all have been in the situation of dealing with life’s challenges.

For me, praying is more than religious or something I was taught as a child. Being a yoga instructor I’ve assisted many students to “meet themselves” physically, mentally and emotionally. Finding the stretch that’s right for you, or feeling your own emotions (even the harsh ones) has merit because it deepens the understanding of your own experience.

Contemplation, prayer and meditation can also help to acknowledge and honor the experience.

The more honestly any of us can accomplish this, meeting ourselves deeply, the more we can become effective peacemakers in our lives and the lives we touch.

Internal exercise is similar to stretching and releasing tension in our muscles and creating better circulation of blood to the heart in the physical body. Taking the time for inner awareness circulates our attention to the emotional heart and to the often much-needed stretching and opening of our inner feelings. Sometimes we need to ventilate our feeling bodies the way we would open a window to air-out the room.

Most powerful, is the result of taking time to be with yourself quietly. Then, space is created to come to terms with what is happening in your life on the inside and the outside. There are significant health benefits to noticing tension in your body or emotions.

Also, pay attention to your thought patterns, and to whether your feelings are creating calm or wreaking reactionary havoc on your biology. Anxiety, anger, hostility, sorrow, or worry trigger elevated vital signs which can be recovered with willingness to sit quietly.

So, back to the very dear woman who asked me to pray for her.

I suggested that she make a shift in awareness and besides praying for peace and resolution to the family problem that she also work on finding and bringing peace to herself.

Sit quietly, rest your hands on your chest and repeat internally, “Peace, be still” until inner struggle ceases. Surrender your feelings. (It may take more than one sitting.) Not always easy, but rewarding and potent medicine.

Personally, I feel a deep reverence for life when I create the stillness that comes from taking this action to clear and calm my inner space. I feel it reveals “holiness” that may become hidden when I get caught up in the challenges of life.  And we all can get caught up.

This “holiness” blesses me and the situation because I’ve taken the time to tune-out from my thoughts and my feelings. Then I can come to any situation with less static and more calm. I’ve delivered more wise action, more compassion, and more support to others from regularly developing and holding inner peace.

It is human to feel a full range of emotions. It is divine to shift into the peace that comes with surrendering, even in the most trying of circumstances. This shift in your internal awareness, and feelings that emerge, is healthy and soothing for your body and mind.

So there is a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefit to taking the time to steer inner dynamics toward peace. You create the conditions for well-being. This may shift how you contribute to the situation and assist in the resolution. And where you cannot assist, holding peace gives you the power to accept what you cannot change.

So my friend, sit quietly, breathe, still yourself, hold your hopes and concerns in a peaceful heart, and I will also hold you in mine.

Sweet Potato Burritos



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Sauté onion and garlic until soft. Mash beans into the onion mixture. Gradually stir in water; heat until warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce, chili powder, mustard, cumin, and cayenne pepper.

Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the tortillas; top with cheese. Fold tortillas burrito-style around the fillings and place on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until warmed through, about 12 minutes.