You may be unfamiliar with the Greek goddess whose moniker is honored in the title of this article. No worries there -- the general population may have overlooked this placid daughter of Poseidon.
Firstly, let us become acquainted with this tranquil woman of Greece.
The daughter of Themis and Poseidon was held in high regard around Athens, where her devout followers kept altars and erected statues to honor her. After 375 B.C., those seeking to gain her favor formed a cult in her name. Her likeness could also be found on vases and coins around that time period.
Eirene is in fact the Greek word for "peace". (The more common spelling these days drops the first vowel, but retains the original meaning all the same.) She is often seen as a beautiful young woman bearing a cornucopia, torch, and a sceptre. Spring is her time and she is one of a trio of sisters who act as keepers of the gates of Heaven.
In art and statue form, she is often depicted with an infant in her arms. This baby is Ploutos, or "Wealth". Eirene often finds herself to be confused with Demeter in this state, as they do bear a striking resemblance to each other. Also, Spring is when Demeter returns to the Earth. All the same, Eirene is Eirene and Demeter is Demeter. Would you want to be confused with your Aunt? Every time someone sees a statue of you, they're all "Oh, that's Aunt Belinda!"
Probably not. So let's keep the facts straight here.
Does the effigy upon which you are directing your gaze have a flowing, draped gown, hair curling about her shoulders, a missing right arm, holding a baby on her left hip? Is that baby gazing up at her admiringly as she stares lovingly right back into his face? You, friend, are standing before the serene glory that is Eirene. Soak it up.
It can be a tricky thing to get hold of, and harder still to keep up in the face of the outside world. Sure, you may be able to gain a sense of well-being in the comfort of your own home, outside of the reach of the every day hustle and bustle, but once you rejoin that rat race, you may find your grip on serenity slipping slightly.
There are a number of things you can do to attain that higher plane of contentment and oneness with the universe: meditation, counting backwards, taking several deep breaths, communing with Eirene, imagining your happy place (penguin optional, of course). You could wear lavender or eucalyptus oil. Or cut out caffeine and drink more water.
All of these are great ideas. Bordering on the fantastic, even.
But what if you could cut straight to the root of your anxiety?
In all likelihood, about 90% of your stress level stems from worrying over eventual outcomes. All possible outcomes, ripple effects, consequences, and sometimes even what other people may think of yourself and your actions. When you dwell upon events yet to come and fret or obsess over any eventuality (particularly those of a negative persuasion), you end up losing sleep.
Lack of sleep leads to psychological vulnerability. Now all of the bad thoughts can come leaking in with a greater force and more abundance. You thought that debating disastrous outcomes of anticipated events was bad? This will drive you bananas.
All of these tidbits of insight (and perhaps seemingly random information) lead me to the main point of this rambling anecdote:
Live in the now
Did you get that? Take that deep breath. What are you doing right now, at this present moment? How does this make you feel?
If the feelings are negative, you can change it. Yeah. You totally can.
It is extremely difficult to change the way you feel. Most (if not all of us) will find this to be impossible. That's perfectly fine. What you can do is alter what you are doing and/or your circumstances.
When most of the general population are making promises at the "start" of the year (promises, I might add, that are practically guaranteed to find themselves broken by Groundhog's Day. Possibly sooner.), they should consider that being here...
Is far more powerful than making a pact with your future self.
So take a look around. Consider all of your options. Call on any patron saint, god, goddess, nymph, nun, or priest you may hold court with if any of these make you feel more at ease. It's perfectly acceptable to ask for help from the sidelines.
In the end, however, it will be up to you. In most matters. So make choices that you will not hesitate to back up when your bill comes due.
Thank you, Eirene.