As I drove home in the car with my three beautiful girls last night in the back seat, I felt that little feeling in my tummy – that feeling that we all experience every now and again – that little moment of sheer inner childlike happiness.

I had put on a Disney CD as we set off on our journey and after we had tried our hands at guessing which movie each song came from – we all (including yours truly!) proceeded to sing along to every song at the top of our lungs, which then led to us all reminiscing and laughing about when we had met our favourite Disney characters, on what became the holiday of a lifetime for us, as a family.

A holiday that was just so much more than just a memory for us.

This was a holiday that I never thought in a million years would ever happen…a holiday which only happened because of the amazing family and friends we have (and of course, Santa Clause!)…a holiday which happened with the help from so many kind, caring and experienced health care professionals to get our family up to full health…and most of all, a holiday which was an absolute dream come true for us as a family.

So as I pulled up my car in the driveway last night, feeling calm and happy, with three bubbly girls in the back, I started thinking about what each of my daughters dreams, aspirations and goals in life would be as they got older. I was thinking about my own bucket list, and what else was on it.

And a thought suddenly struck me…

What if, one day, I achieved everything on my bucket list?

What would be the outcome? Would it only be then that I would have gained this “much talked about” and “sought after” thing called  “inner peace”?

Would I, at long last, not have a need to keep on striving to do “things”?

I started thinking. If we all had inner peace would we want for anything more than we already have? If we had inner peace, would we not feel scared, lonely or frustrated? We may not have the need to have tons of money; to be popular with everyone; to be successful in careers, or try to keep up with everyone else in society. We may not have anxiety or fears about our future, or our children’s or loved ones futures for that matter. We mightn’t be angry or cross or bitter.

We may be so content with all in our life that we may be happy to just, “be”.

To just exist. In utterly quiet contentment.

Imagine?

Okay, so I don’t know how I personally would be, to just “be”.

I am already getting bored thinking about it (sorry, but it’s true- I’m quite an energetic person!) and so of course, this got me thinking. Surely, if we had our own inner peace, in our own personal lives, we would have no need to do anything, for anyone? Or maybe we might want others to feel good, and so we go out to help others on their journey to receiving their inner peace?

Or even better – world peace.

Mother Teresa and Ghandi are some of the worlds icons for “inner peace” and they always had the need to do things for others.

“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

It takes a huge amount of courage, strength, commitment and determination to create positive changes in the world – even if they’re only tiny changes, for even one person. There is also great potential in disrupting, and even destroying, our own peace from within ourselves in trying to achieve this.

I know myself I get so much out of life by giving, by helping, by working with others.

Sometimes though, it is to my own detriment.

Being talked down to, laughed at, sneered at and back-stabbed is not always easy to handle. And it does happen.

Sometimes it brings me down, makes me paranoid, creates sadness, hurts me.

And yet when it comes to my children, I never feel this way.

The inner peace and happiness I felt last night came from knowing that they’re happy, safe and healthy. They are also so wealthy and beautiful in all aspects of their life. A wealth not in the form of finances or assets – a wealth of family and friendships; knowledge and education; creativity and personalities; memories and laughter. And a beauty on the inside, not just the outside.

My aim in life is to fill their little hearts and heads with the belief they can achieve inner peace and anything else they want in their lives and so every day, as we set off on the school run in the car, I say out loud:

“We’re happy, safe, healthy and wealthy”. They all shout back to me,”We’re happy, safe, healthy and wealthy” adding”…and beautiful!” I then say, “Thank you God for everything in our lives” and they repeat this back to me. This is followed then by me asking them “Who do you love?” of which they all reply “Me!” And last of all, I ask , “Who else do you love?” and they all say:

“You, and everyone else who knows and loves us”

Of course, I tell them I love them too and we all finish with Amen.

I know it’s only a simple little thing we do, but for me, the message I am trying to get across to them, is to not strive or wish for happiness, health, wealth and safety, but to instead believe and affirm that they already have all of those thingsnow.

I want for them to be grateful for all they have in their lives already and to say thank you ( gratitude and manners are so important – as a good friend once said – be mom first, friend second – it’s okay to be firm!) In this message I also want for them to love themselves first, and to love others back who love them; to always know that they are all so beautiful, both inside and out – and to enjoy life to the full, and fill it with precious memories.

Our memories of our holiday in Disney were, and still are, so raw to us. They were made so much more special by the staff there – from giving us free tickets to their outstanding Halloween show when we couldn’t retrieve our wheelchair for Nicole, and posting us new, fully signed, autograph books all the way to Ireland when Daddy left them behind in Orlando in a taxi by mistake! I remember watching an inspirational TedTalk by Fred Lee titled “If Disney Ran Healthcare” and the differences between patient experience and satisfaction – the difference is the feelings that are evoked.

It is these experiences that matter in life, and all of these memories that lead to that feeling of happiness and contentment.

I cherish the lovely little things that happen in my life, and my daughters lives, and I do believe that by having balance, laughter and love, that inner peace will come all on it’s own, and probably without me realising it at all.

To create world peace, I do think that inner peace comes first.

It comes from kindness, compassion and love.

And so maybe, on reflection, I should now rethink my future and turn my bucket list (and business plan) on it’s head – I think from now on, I’ll put inner peace first – and maybe meeting Richard Branson one day as my very close 2nd!!

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[Below is a short video of when we told our girls we were going to Disney World Orlando (they had actually thought they were going to the UK for three days!) It was 6 in the morning- they were exhausted and were waiting to be brought to the airport in the hotel- they thought I was going to an awards ceremony in London as I had bought new dresses for them, but myself and their daddy had planned to renew our wedding vows on Cocoa Beach as an extra surprise, and they were our gorgeous bridesmaids!]

#littlethings #dreams #innerpeace #europeanpeacesummit #worldhealthinnovationsummit