Are thieves stealing your peace of mind?

 We call him 'our thief' as if somehow we know him, the man with large boots who helped himself to a jerry can of gas, frozen mini tacos, beer, and cinnamon buns.  It was unsettling to walk the perimeter of the house following the footprints in the daylight, seeing the smudges on the windows where a stranger placed his hands against the glass to peer into our lives.  A demolished door the now broken barrier that once stood between the tacos and our thief.
Break & enters happen all the time
 Break and enters happen all the time, in the city, in the country, in our lives.  Generally we take one of two approaches to break and enters, whether the literal kind or the figurative.  We either arm ourselves to the teeth and create fortress like walls around our lives and hearts, or secure the point of breach pick up the debris of brokenness and begin the hard work of trying to understand what happened.  Obviously the first tactic is to secure the entrance so that frigid winds and wild critters can't get in.  I'm not at all keen on being cold, hosting coyotes, or allowing fear or despair to take up residence.

The whole break and enter thing got me ruminating on the thieves we let into our lives - the ones that steal our joy, our confidence, our peace.  My initial reaction when I saw the broken door was fear followed swiftly by anger. Peace had fled the premises. Slowly compassion seeped in with questions marching in formation behind.  It was a full spectrum of feelings that started out scattered and crazy.

As I struggled with yet another request for volunteer time I realized I was being drawn into the scattered and crazy. My responses moved from WTF seriously? To not a chance Nancy. Then they careened into the never again, not happening.  As it all ripped by between my ears and bounced around my soul I realized we all struggle with thieves in our lives.

Often I am my own worst thief, are you?  I take on one thing too many and rob myself of space to think, or I allow the thieves of confidence to set up shop in my head and they slip my common sense into their get away vehicle.  The thieves of calm and certainty are able to strip my joy and jumpstart my doubt and despair in seconds.  What's a girl to do when thieves visit?

Secure the perimeter...

The RCMP suggested closing the gate and installing video monitoring.  It sounded quite sensible and I thought I could apply those same principles to the peace of mind thieves.  Close the gate and set boundaries in your life.  You know best what your mind and body can sustain in terms of commitments, those are your boundaries.  You control that gate.  Put up a video door bell, get a view of the thief and the opportunity to exchange words with it.  My video door bell is my meditation and my thinking space.  It offers a chance to sit back and think through a strategy to deal with a potential thief and it provides reflection on what went wrong when a thief breaks into my oasis of peace and joy.

So let's assume you have attended to the securing your boundaries and monitoring yourself.  What about the stuff you leave lying around that can be used to break down your doors?  You know the stuff you step over, disregard, and avoid?  We all have some of that detritus in our lives.  It can present itself as insecurity, guilt, anger, resentment, and other nasties.  Mine tend to multiply when I am tired or frightened which means I have to actively engage in cleaning them up regularly through prayer, meditation, exercise, sleep, and nutrition.  It sounds so clinical and prescriptive, but it isn't at all.  The nasties are very real feelings and foibles, and we best deal with them.  Otherwise they will assist thieves in gaining access to our peace of mind, and frankly I just don't want to have to deal with anymore break and enters.

Secure the perimeter & establish lookouts
Get to know your own thieves, get to know yourself.  When you can identify your thieves you are able to find some comfort in putting them behind bars or helping to rehabilitate them.  Maybe you can engage in some restorative justice on yourself.  As my own worst thief, I know I need to engage in some rehab before I can entertain the volunteer request with equanimity and make a decision that is best for me and the organization.  In the meantime, I just might adopt Corb Lund's approach in The Bible on the dash as I peek through the video monitor to get a read on the intruder that is asking for my time, my skills, my commitment.  Maybe I will leave Bible's laying around everywhere as part of my security system.

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