“It’s busy!” he remarked, when asked how things were going. “It’s already fall and we just don’t feel ready!”
Our cultural atmosphere can be so hectic. School starts again, fall expenses erupt, from school supplies to soccer fees; you name it, it’s costly. CALM can be elusive. The work day, the commute, laundry, dinner, homework, bedtime routine, all together life can feel chaotic. Add the distractions of social media, video games or TV and … the atmosphere at home can deteriorate despite our best intentions.
Let’s pause for a moment and consider the atmosphere where we spend our time. What do we encounter at home, on the job, at school?
We can intentionally choose to bring CALM into the places we frequent. Yes, it may be challenging: busyness, toxic personalities, negativity, or just too many competing agendas influencing the atmosphere. Yet, we each have the opportunity to bring a sense of CALM with us into each situation, therefore influencing the atmosphere.
I chose CALM for my focus “word” entering the new year because CALM is the characteristic I want to increase in my life. Chaos seems to reign in far too many areas of culture. We don’t have to look far to see chaos in:
- Schools and
So how do we choose CALM? It must be intentional. Here are four steps that help me. using CALM as my acrostic: C-choose, A-alert, L-listen, and M-move.
It’s often easy to have a negative focus. Negative thoughts can slide downward quickly and easily compared with maintaining a positive outlook. By choosing which thoughts to focus on, we also choose our outlook by looking for the good, seeing the bright spot, celebrating the small things, and practicing gratitude. This better enables us in relationships to choose to be supportive, asking ourselves: “How do I choose words that build up and are supportive?”
We get a choice to check ourselves when a negative response springs up and can then make an intentional shift. Simple things like replacing “Don’t” with “Could you ….?” or “Thank you for your patience with me.” In my experience these small intentional changes can make a big difference.
We often get so engrossed in our smartphones or our own agendas that we can completely miss connection points with those we love — like the deep sigh of our partner or a troubled look in the eyes of our child. When distracted, we may miss the tell-tale signs that something is “off” at home (or work) and then be blindsided by chaos relationally, financially, or otherwise. When alert, we are more available to calmly ask questions, finding solutions that can restore calm.
I have found three key ways we can listen: with our ears, our hearts, and to ourselves. First, we can listen to what is being said. We can also listen to what is not being said; one’s tone offers clues. When tones are harsher than necessary, we are alerted to ‘something’ going on. Finally, sometimes our own responses can unintentionally disarm others and displace CALM, setting the tone for sharp edges. Listening to our own tone, meaning, and words aids in our choice to be supportive.
When we encounter chaos, we can pause and ask ourselves, am I able to create change in this moment? Can I change the tone by adding something positive? Can I turn my attention toward the chaos and its tone and really listen? Each of these questions can create small ways to move in a forward, positive direction that can shift the atmosphere.
Opportunities for CALM Abound
We are well aware that our world needs CALM. Once we focus on finding CALM and then foster it, we see opportunities all around us. For me, the true centre of CALM is an inner peace which comes from my deep faith in God, enabling resources beyond what I possess on my own. He is available to help bring CALM to each one of us as we seek CALM in our homes and places of influence.
By choosing to create an atmosphere of CALM in our places within a chaotic world, we can each make small changes that can result in big benefits.