In this podcast (episode #395) and blog, I talk to designer, writer and artist Morgan Harper Nichols about her incredible new book, Peace is a Practice: An Invitation to Breathe Deep and Find a New Rhythm for Life. We discuss learning how to embrace the beauty of the present, approaching life's challenges with calm confidence, feeling peace in the midst of uncertainty or difficult times, letting go of regret of the past and fear of the future, and so much more!
In this new book, Morgan users her own life experiences and struggles with undiagnosed autism to share how peace is more than just a feeling. Peace is something that we can all learn to practice daily. Morgan invites you to become a peacemaker in your own life, starting right where you are, and in some of the most unexpected places using words and images. As Morgan notes, “In every moment, there is something as deep and boundless as a winding river waiting to be found--a true peace that flows, beckoning you to rest . . . and be still.”
Part of practicing peace is recognizing that it is okay to be different and it is okay to struggle. This is what it means to be human and to achieve success. This means learning how to be at peace with who you are, where you are, and where you want to be. It is a process, not a “thing” that you measure quantitatively, like how much money you have or how many likes you get on social media. A peaceful life is a successful life. Success is unique to the individual and characterized by what it means to be fulfilled and at peace in the moment.
As Morgan points out in her book, “peace is a state of mind, heart, body, and soul. It is the freedom to breathe, even in the face of great challenges and chaos. Peace is the river in the desert, not on the other side of it.”
When we are struggling to be present and stay in the moment or struggling to be energized, we can look to the past and future for clues to regain our sense of peace and find hope. Looking at the past helps us see how far we have come, while looking at the future gives us hope for how great things can be and shows us the work we need to do to get there. We can do this on a collective level by looking at our history as a people and how we want to shape the future. The “now” moment is never just about the present. How you turn up now is based on the past, and judged by the future.
We don’t have to think of life in a linear, black and white way. Like art, our thinking can benefit from abstraction and creativity. Our stories can shift between the past, present, and future in ways that we don’t always see, or ways we only realize later. Part of learning how to find peace in the moment is allowing ourselves to think of life in a less linear way and realize that we won’t have all the answers right now—this is okay!
For more on finding peace, listen to my podcast with Morgan (episode #395), and check out her work and new book Peace is a Practice: An Invitation to Breathe Deep and Find a New Rhythm for Life. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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4:00 Morgan’s amazing new book Peace is a Practice
5:25 Peace is more than a feeling—it is a practice
6:20 How Morgan’s autism diagnosis impacted her sense of peace
10:15 It is okay to be different!
12:00 The relationship between peace & success
18:55 Black History Month & making peace with the past
20:00, 26:30 The power of looking at both the past & future
27:10, 32:15 Creativity & non-linear thinking
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