Peace Begins With Me

An inspirational journey to end suffering and restore joy

By  Ted Kuntz M. Ed

 

[The following is what I highlighted during my read of this excellent book -- I recommend it on my Top-ten List of Peace resources.  My purpose in providing them is to interest you, the reader, and hope that you will obtain and read the complete work.  To properly understand the highlights, you need to read the book to put them in the proper context.]

 

Introduction

·         ….epiphany.

·          I needed to accept my son just as he is.

·         …appreciate there were gifts in this turn of events, valuable lessons for me to learn.

·         Gradually my firmly entrenched beliefs and attitudes began to shift.

·         Previously, peace was possible only if my external world was in alignment with my expectations.

·         I now appreciate the undue burden this belief  places on my desire for inner peace.

 

Chapter Two

My Story  

·         “When your son looks out the window at you, what does he see?”

·         I committed myself to doing whatever it took to become more peaceful, joyful, and happy.

·         More importantly, I resolved to love the son I have, rather than the son I don’t have. I released the son who only existed in my imagination.

·         “Do these thoughts and action feed the negative wolf, or the positive wolf?”

 

Chapter Three

Feeding the Negative Wolf  

·         When I imagined the worst possible outcomes I experienced intense fear and anxiety.

·         I create distress.

·         Fear occurs whenever I tell myself a negative story about a future event.

·         We are harmed by these negative stories, yet most of us fail to remove ourselves from this danger.

·          Given the power of story and the effect it has on our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies, it is essential we be more vigilant to the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we allow to be told to us if we desire to be happy, healthy and peaceful.

·         Imagining the worst feeds my Negative Wolf.

·         …there is no such thing as a mistake.

·         ..We make the best decision available given the information, skill, and options available to us in that moment.

·         No one chooses a mistake.

·         … “the arrow doesn’t go where I intend”.

·         ...one doesn’t always experience the outcome he or she anticipates.

·         …the word  “mistake” is simply an idea, a concept, an intellectual construct.

·         ..the idea – “I made a mistake” usually pointed me in the direction of anger, sadness, and shame.

·         I now accept that  I make the best decisions possible given the information, skills, and options I possess in each moment.

·         When I experience an outcome I do not anticipate, or when a “missed take” occurs, I simply do another take.

·         I choose again.

·         The idea of making a mistake feeds my Negative Wolf.

·         …don’t enjoy feeling like a victim.

·         In situations where something does happen not of my choosing (where the arrow doesn’t go where I intend) I discovered that I can choose the meaning I assign to the event.

·         In changing the meaning I assigned to this event, my experience of the event changed.

·         We think and act like victims because this is what we are taught. 

·         We are regularly told we have no choice.

·         I now accept that the experience of anxiety is important.

·         It brings to my awareness the fact that I am not present, I am living either in the past or the future.

·         Anxiety helps to remind me.  That is, re-minded me.

·         Most people live almost exclusively through memory or anticipation.  Both are illusions.

·         Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry, all forms of fear are caused by too much future and enough presence.

·         Guilt, regret, resentment, grievance, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past and not enough presence.

·         Each of the original statements resists something that already exists.

·         …resistance is futile.

·         When I make statements such as these, I’m saying, “I’m not happy now,” and “I’ll be happy some time in the future.”

·         I’ve discovered that this way of thinking doesn’t serve me.

·         …my happiness was outside of my control.

·         ..my unhappiness was due to my thinking.

·         I now accept that my happiness is not dependent upon acquiring things or events.

·         If your goal is to experience more peace, joy, and happiness, it is important to understand how you are feeding your negative wolf.

·         Learn to recognize the actions and ideas that point you in the direction of anger, sadness and despair.

 

Chapter Four

Feeding the Positive Wolf

·         I believe our society has done an inadequate job in educating people how to be in a state of peace.

·         Many of our cultural institutions are more accomplished at teaching fear than trust, in promoting judgment than acceptance, and in encouraging negative thinking rather than positive thinking.

·         I believe that most people simply don’t know how to be happy, peaceful, and joyful.

·         My intention in writing this book is to remind you of this valuable ancient knowledge, and present it a way that makes it more relevant for living in today’s world.

·         …evaluate the ideas based on the following questions:

·         -     Would this work?

-          Would this idea or strategy increase my peace, joy, and happiness?

-          Which direction does this point me in?

-          Which wolf does it feed?

·         I believe life’s ultimate question is:  “Does this work?”

·         Many people struggle when confronted with new ideas.

·         I believe that the struggle occurs because the new idea is unfamiliar and often runs counter to one they currently hold.  While it is easier and more comfortable to stay with old and familiar ways of thinking, this prevents change.

·         Change requires being willing to let go of what is known and familiar, and embrace the mysterious and the unfamiliar. 

·         It demands that we be willing to become uncomfortable.

·         If you want growth, find people who disagree with you.

·         If you are interested in change because you desire more peace, joy, and happiness, then it is imperative you do something other than what you are already doing.

·         We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens.

·         …stress is an external force, pressure, or weight exerted upon us.

·         Distress is created in my mind by the meaning I assign to stress.

·         Between stimulus and response is the greatest power – the freedom to choose.

·         The reason the distinction between stress and distress is important, is because one of these conditions is within my control (distress), while the other is outside of my control (stress).

·         Understanding the distinction allows me to focus my actions on those things I can control, and release those things outside of my control.

·         By taking responsibility for the meaning I assign, I can eliminate anger, frustration, and other forms of distress – regardless of the stress.

·         There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

·         “All things are created twice – first in someone’s mind, then in physical form”.

·         Creation happens by first seeing in your mind’s eye what it is you intend to create.

·         …visioning contributes to success.

·         ..Intention.

·         “What do I intend?”

·         “What does success look like?”

·         ..attention involves the focusing of awareness.

·         Conscious change is brought about by two qualities:  attention and intention.

·         Attention energizes. 

·         Intention transforms.

·         “If you want to create a miracle, two actions are required. The first action is to see in your mind’s eye about what you want to create.  The second action is to feel what it would feel like to have this event occur.

·         When you combine the seeing and the feeling, miracles happen.”

·         If we accept the possibility that our imagination is powerful in creating outcomes, then we need to be more vigilant with how we use our imagination.

·         When things feel out of control and it looks as though I am heading for a crash, I remind myself to look for the openings.

·         ..describe what a successful relationship looks and feels like from their perspective.

·         The therapy becomes extremely powerful when the focus shifts from what isn’t working, to what a successful relationship might look like.

·         …in order to create something you need to “C” (see) first.

·         Begin each day with intention.

·         Ask yourself,  “What do I intend for this day?  What outcomes do I desire?  What do I want to experience?

·         Live each moment completely, and the future will take care of itself.

·         …the present moment is always manageable.

·         Life is simple.

·         I simply notice, and then choose.

·         One way to do this is to simply notice where you are.

·         Are you living in the past, the present, or the future?

·         If you notice you are somewhere other than the present, return your attention this moment.

·         Simply asking the question, “Where am I?” brings you into present moment awareness.

·         Now when I notice my mind has run ahead of itself, I intentionally activate one of my five senses.

·         The point here is to focus your attention on the past, present, and future with conscious intention.

·         Each of us has the capacity for choice.

·         We are able to choose not only our behaviors, but also our thoughts.

·         While I cannot always control the events that occur in my life, I am responsible for my response to these events.

·         “What action of mine will do the most good?”

·         Expressing the emotion with the highest score often had negative results.

·         As a result of this inquiry, my actions became more intentional and more thoughtful.

·         I experience life as my creation.

·         It is now my life and my choice.

·         I feel a sense of ownership…..

·         The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life.

·         When something occurs that I don’t like, the most positive action I can take is to accept it.

·         Accept whatever it is that exists.

·         ..resistance impeded change.

·         I couldn’t move forward while my attention was focused on a past event.

·         The act of resistance is always about a past event because the object of my resistance already exists.

·         Paradoxically, the action of acceptance facilitates change.

·         Only by fully accepting what is can we move on to the next step in the change process, which is to ask, “Given this exists, what do I choose to do now?”

·         … the only business I ought to be in is my business.

·         …poor boundaries.

·         Others are not responsible for my emotional state.  I am. 

·         When I make someone else responsible for my emotions, I eventually become angry and hurt by their failure to make me happy.

·         It doesn’t serve either person if I take responsibility for another’s business.

·         Are you taking responsibility for your peace, joy, and happiness?

·         This tool is about reducing my fear by increasing my trust.

·         I trust whatever happens to me today is for my highest good.

·         I trust I will find a solution.

·         I trust I will choose the solution that does the most good.

·         I trust I have enough time, energy, and money to accomplish my goals.

·         I am creative and adaptable.

·         I am succeeding.

·         There is value in all experiences.

·         …resourceful and resilient.

·         …increase your trust.

·         One tool is to recognize that you are living in the future, and return to the present.

·         The order tool is to change your story.

·         …requires determination and commitment.

·         I trusted that she would behave in adolescent ways.

·         We all experience pain.

·         The most common response we have to pain is to medicate the pain.

·         …pain has a purpose.

·         Its purpose is to inform us when we are living in ways that are not healthy or life sustaining.

·         ….our body responds with an even louder message.

·         …until at some advanced stage of illness, the message is so loud we can no longer ignore it.

·         We are forced to address the underlying cause, or die.

·         “If my pain could speak to me, it would tell me….”

·         “My pain tells me to slow down, to let go, or to find another way.”

·         In my experience emotional pain is the result of holding onto beliefs, expectations, or ideas that aren’t true.

·         Eventually I discovered that I was holding onto many ideas and beliefs that weren’t true.

·         When I released these untrue beliefs, my emotional pain dissipated.

·         I realized these two events – my happiness and my son’s medical condition – were not connected except in my own mind.

·         By letting go of this untrue belief, my emotional pain went away.

·         …happiness is an inside job rather than an outside job.

·         Happiness is a decision. 

·         Happiness is a choice.

·         ….happiness is an inside job rather than an outside job.

·         Happiness is a decision.  Happiness is a choice.

·         The shortest path to happiness is to be happy now.

·         Once I fully accept the notion that happiness is my responsibility and is dependent upon my thoughts, there is no sane reason why I would continue to deprive myself of happiness.

·         “If happiness is your goal then you need to be as committed to happiness as with any other goal.”

·         “You will have arrived when you shift from seeking happiness to creating happiness.”

·         Learn to embrace your power.  Create your happiness in each and every moment.

·         Happiness is within your power.

·         Breathing is the most important activity we do. 

·         When we stop breathing, we die.

·         Breathing fills us with the energy of life.

·         Proper breathing inspires us both physically and metaphorically.

·         By changing our breathing we were re-connected with our body. 

·         We became more stable and grounded.

·         By grounded I mean centered, solid, resilient, and not easily knocked over.

·         This is true for our emotional and psychological bodies as well.

·         When I feel heavy with life I remind myself to breathe from my diaphragm and to become like a duck.

·         “…there is wisdom in your body far superior to your intellect.  You access this wisdom when you close your eyes and breathe from your diaphragm…”

 

Chapter Five

Personal Action Plan

·         Sharing causes the rate of retention to rise to approximately 90%.

·         As you travel on this journey of change it’s important to have an appreciation for how change happens.

·         My experience of change is like this. I often fall into holes and don’t see how I got there.

·         Eventually I climb out of the hole and continue on my way.

·         Gradually I begin to see the holes in my life, yet still manage to fall into them.

·         Over time I recognize some of the holes with enough foresight to step away from them.

·         Eventually I choose to walk a different path.  A path that is more peaceful and joyful.

·         Change doesn’t happen all at once.  It happens gradually, step by step.

 

Chapter Six

Peace Begins With Me

·          If I am at war with myself, I can bring little peace to my fellow man.