This past week I’ve been in New York City supporting one of my clients. I’ve been to New York City hundreds of times through the years and I love the vibrancy of the city. I love the energy. I love the “Make it Happen” attitude and I especially love the delicious food.

However, each time I leave the city I find myself exhausted, depleted, and honestly just a little bit worn out. But my perception changed somewhat this trip. The first day of our meetings I was with Gary, CEO and founder of his company. Our day was very intense as we were discussing vital, critical, and difficult strategies trying to prepare for the change coming to Gary’s company. After several hours Gary turned to me and said, “Rich, come, let’s walk. I need to find peace.”

I thought, Peace? Peace in the middle of New York City? We’re sandwiched right here on Broadway, Gary! We’re between the Empire State Building and the Flatiron Building. Where are you going to find any peace in the madness down on the street?

But, I didn’t say that. Instead I followed Gary. We left the building and began walking until we arrived at Madison Park. At the front of Madison Park I observed a large bird holding a rose in its mouth. I thought, humorously to myself, Maybe there’s the nature and peace that Gary is seeking. The only problem is the bird was made out of nails, stood about twenty feet high, and the flower was artificial.

But I soon found myself relaxing and becoming calm and my soul restoring as we walked and made circles in the trees, shrubbery, watching birds pecking at the breadcrumbs in Madison Park. Gary told me the importance of meditation in his life, of calming his soul, and soothing his spirit. He did this by walking and talking. I observed several times throughout the day Gary reciting the Serenity Prayer and indeed Gary’s countenance was as calm as mine. At the conclusion of this little walk Gary and I were rejuvenated, ready, and prepared to fight the next battle.

My office is also purposefully located near opportunities to find serenity. I have a beautiful workplace that overlooks ponds, a beautiful golf course, and snowcapped mountains. I love watching the geese and the ducks fly in and out. Indeed, when I get anxious and stressed I’ll close my door and go to the window and look at the beautiful scene and take a few deep breaths.

Although I didn’t publicly say it to Gary, I want to announce it now:
 Thank you, Gary for teaching me a lesson here. Thank you for teaching me that peace indeed is something you go and find and decide for yourself to have. It is not an environment that you necessarily have to wait for it to come to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of Madison Park or a bustling New York City sidewalk with drivers screaming and honking at each other. It doesn’t matter it’s the Empire State Building or pine trees looming over you. You have to make the decision to find peace and then move into that state of mind and where you can find some level of calm and serenity. Indeed, the park in New York City is just as profound a place to find peace and meditate as is the view out my window overlooking Mount Nebo and the East Bay Golf Course with the ducks flying in and out.

Indeed, peace is not something you find, but something you have to go and get.