In search of a personal peace

dove

In the wake of the terror that has struck at Paris, but will strike elsewhere in an equally senseless manner, I’ve been really struggling with how to go about my life while being inundated by news of horrific realities?

I can’t stop thinking of fearful innocent children and babies, their heartbroken mothers and fathers, and the desperate, confused, sick and elderly all trying to survive in what is amounting to hell on earth.

I can’t stop seeing that photo of a little boy’s body, like a doll’s, prostrate on a beach. I can’t escape the photos in social media and on TV of life rafts bulging with desperate humans, or soldiers in Belgium with automatic weapons who must be wondering about every single person walking towards them and whether they are who they seem.

I was in a shopping mall the other day and I saw a Muslim woman pushing her child in a stroller. I felt sad thinking about what it might feel like to be her. I wondered if she was fearful just to go shopping knowing that even though it’s Canada, there is that ignorant plague who haven’t bothered to educate themselves, and never have. Their reactions always predictable when confronted by any type of difference regardless of its manifestation, whether indigenous, homeless, or immigrant.  We all know them.

All of this going on and yet I still have clean sheets. I wash my dishes. I have the luxury of safety in my living room.  I eat chocolate. I watch TV. I go about my small little life and feel comforted by familiarity. I enjoy some of the nice things that I have purchased – and grown attached to –  on vacations in foreign places. So many people have had that small luxury of attachment ripped from their reality. Or they never experienced it in the first place.

So when I hear Canadians call into radio shows and say, “But we’re just not ready to accept 25,000 refugees,” I want to laugh at them and their wariness in a world that is begging for heroes. Who said anything about being ready? Just like those fleeing, ready or not has become the new reality. Our risk, however, is so much less than the risk refugees lived with ever time they left their homes, when they had homes, before their homes were blown to bits.

And don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just about the newly power hungry. Don’t let recent events lull you into ignoring the West’s role in this, the actions of Superpowers, and who armed who and which side is backing the others and learning a least a little bit about what contributed to how we ended up here in this mess.

If not now, then when? If you’re not willing to have your small little life disturbed just a little, for the sake of others in desperate life and death need, then when? Stop living as if he or she, they, those foreigners, have nothing to do with you because they’re there and you’re here. If you live in Canada, you won the lifestyle lottery through no effort of your own.

What strikes me overwhelmingly in the frenzied din of all those media producers beating every Think Tank for commentators is all the new terminology. There’s that word: caliphate. Whenever I hear that word, I am offended. It’s as if I’ve entered some medieval video game that I never wanted to play in the first place. And then at complete odds with that ideology, we have a term that I just heard today in a different context – pathological hopefulness – which I think is a perfect fit for all those naive enough to think that, in this instance, prayer is going to make a difference.

I don’t want this new ugly knowledge as the warlord of my consciousness. It’s like a strain of bacteria that has mutated and is well on its way to becoming a Super bug.

Suicide belts and caliphates and all that other ridiculous boy toy, war game craziness feels like some James Bond film in which the virtual reality has managed to leap from the screen.

Given all this, I find myself wondering how to integrate what is going on in the world with the peace that is my own reality, the peace I have only ever desired be available to every soul on the planet.

So how are you feeling these days? Do you find yourself asking similar questions? What kind of touchstones are you finding any solace in? I’d really like to know.

You as Peace

whiterose

In a world where some men appear to have gone mad and I use the word men intentionally because too often I read newspapers that use the word “people” when in fact it is, unfortunately, men who are perpetrating most of the violence in the world. Let’s be specific.

We listen as allegations of astonishing abuse rise against men who were once revered and who have now fallen from grace. We hear today about the evil and heartbreak perpetuated by some men whose humanity and reason have left them and where rationalizations will never explain because there can never be rationalizations acceptable for what we are witnessing.

There is only one possibility for me. That is, to acknowledge the victims of the atrocities in my heart and then to turn away to refocus on beauty and small graces and the awareness of nature’s cycle that is imitated via human destruction and resurrection.

To keep my own heart returning to a peaceful place, turning towards the light even on those days when I feel a desolation, when I feel battered and angry but knowing that is the time, especially, to find a way back to love, for myself first and then spreading that out throughout my own connectedness as best I can.

It’s so easy to become unconscious of mood and seething and worrying and the turmoil in one’s inner self in a way that turns us away from awareness of how we’re coming across in the world, how we’re infecting our own small space in energy and spirit.

The other day I went with a friend for a walk out of Stanley Park’s Nature House. The topic was Solstice and traditions but it meandered from identification of tree species to Norse mythology to rituals. It reminded me of the time I gathered some friends, made them each a little boat out of the bark of a tree found on the ground on the path around the Lagoon. I glued a tea light to each small piece of bark. We gathered on the shores and I handed out their lights and I said some sort of poem that made sense. We each then spoke of something we wanted to let go of and afterwards, we kneeled and pushed our floating tea lighted bark into the water and released as a symbol of letting go. It was such a small event but it was so fantastic. It reminded all of us of how far away we can move away from rituals that uplift our hearts, recognize our own impermanence and the inevitability of change heading towards the ultimate letting go.

It’s the time of year when I am most reflective. The season of winter is meant for that. An inward transformation bubbling from the quiet, a brook in a cold winter stream, easily mistaken for a static time when in fact so much is happening inside.

Reflecting. Assessing. Planning. Hoping. Dreaming.  Our inner selves on high alert, welcoming transformation.

We have come into a time, maybe a time that’s never not been, where every one of us, must become the peace as the change we want to see in the world.