I remember years ago telling this to a friend of mine who was moving across the country. She was so stressed out and overwhelmed, and subtly beating up on herself for not remaining calm and zen about it.
I reminded her that trying to force a feeling was just adding to her stress, and that being zen may be just being with the stress of the situation, because it's what was real. Instead of trying to make it something else, just acknowledging what is there, right now, in the room. Now THAT'S some zen shit.
Here's a phrase I use all the time, and it works like a charm...
"Good or bad, right or wrong, this is how I feel. This is what I'm thinking. This is what is happening."
When I can be with what's real, I can deal with it, accept it, and there is often a clarity or breakthough available the minute I stop resisting by "trying" to "stay calm."
PEACE is not about being calm. It's about being with what is. Peace IS sometimes calm. Sometimes it's whitewater rapids. Sometimes shit is messy and stressful. Sometimes there's drama. Sometimes there's joy. Sometimes you laugh so hard you shit your pants.
PEACE is not fighting the flow of life. The ups and downs. The guidance & terror. The bliss and the hell.
Nearly all suffering comes from resistance. Resisting ourselves. Resisting a feeling. Resisting a change. Trying to make something happen, hold something back, or keep something locked in place.
Flow is NOT always easy. Sometimes, when you're in the rapids, flow is scary as shit. But you're still in the flow.