Loras College held this school year’s first monthly Holy Spirits and Biblical Brews on Friday, Sept. 23. The speakers were Stacia and Dave McDermott on the topic “finding peace amid chaos.” Stacia is the Campus Ministry and Peace and Justice Coordinator at Loras, and Dave is the Youth Formation Coordinator at St. Anthony Parish. They discussed how to maintain peace and happiness in the busy and chaotic environment of the modern world. Observing that by their age many people seem haggard and tired, they stressed that the first step to avoid that haggardness is at college, saying “This is where you start setting the tone for the rest of your life.” They emphasized that it is up to you to find peace and to create an environment and community that maintains it.
Dave and Stacia discussed that not having the option of doing certain things can be freeing – it causes you to stop doing what you would always do and make different choices. The example they gave was that not being able to go out to eat at a restaurant made them more creative about cooking.
They also shared some of the best ways to calm yourself. Access what is causing you stress and weed out those stress-causing activities that you can. Breath and stay in the moment because the moment is all we have. Do one thing at a time, practicing presence and mindfulness. Set aside certain places in which to do only a certain type of work. They also recommended the website calm.com.
Stacia and Dave’s advice on living simply is to focus on your wants versus needs. Cut down on the things that you simply want rather than need, and recognize that your choices are connected to and affect others.
When asked what advice they would have for college students in relationships, they said that relationships should always be freeing. Also, you should balance your time between your relationship and your friendships rather than letting your relationship take up all your social time.
To sum up the topic, they closed their talk with a quote from Thomas Merton.
“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”