Monday, June 13, 2016
PEACE IS A COURAGEOUS ACT
There's a place in our house that I return to over and over again when life seems overwhelming. When the events of the world or the space within the walls in which we live are just too much for me to bear. This particular room is small, dark unless intentionally illuminated, and quiet. I generally find myself curled up on the floor, forehead pressed firmly into the carpet beneath. This is the place where I cry out to the benevolent God I so often can't understand. My prayers come out as cascading sobs, angry release, and desperate pleas which all seem to culminate in a stillness so still it seems irreverent to breathe.
More and more of the world is being lit with holy places for me. The more I seek, the more I'm able to find thin spaces. Places where heaven and earth settle into this divine dance so subtle it's easy to miss yet so immeasurably powerful it's life changing. In these holy expanses or momentary pauses in time, the beauty is almost too forceful for my body to hold. I begin to understand what it means to collapse in the presence of God.
So there's these moments.
And then there's moments that send me to my closet, stunned with fear and grief and pain.
The recent news has been riddled with a story of hate and violence and prejudice and death. It's too much to hold. Too much to carry. Too much.
And so I collapse at the feet of The Magnificent and I plead for courage and love and forgiveness. I beg for hope and for peace - for me, for you, for all. I allow the pain in - the fear, the grief. I let it do its work in me. I cry for us all but I also cry for all of those places tucked within my body and soul that harbor prejudice and hate, fear and grief unexpressed.
I let it out.
Because if I don't let out these malevolent thoughts and feelings, they grow. Subtly over time they expand and push and begin to take over. They begin to color the way in which I see the world and people. And then one day a small, seemingly insignificant thing flips the switch and unleashes a furious storm.
But I let it out. I say all the vicious, cruel things I hold inside. I admit my fears and angers and observed injustice. I yell and scream and rant and cry. I release it all. Every last thing within me and then I collapse into the arms of Grace. Into the protective lap of The One who created me and calls me tov, good.
I let peace wash over me, compassion fill me. And then I get up, wipe my nose and eyes, drink some water and open the door.
I let the light in and then I go out.
This is my act of peace. This is my response to that which I can't control and understand.
Grace. Hope. Peace. Love. Compassion. Courage. Forgiveness. Surrender.
These are the weapons I choose.
Rather than responding to fear and violence with fear and violence, I work to accept them as teachers. As instruments that can tear me open, refine and remold me, and stitch me back up again - stronger, deeper, more whole. And then I turn all this energy towards healing and peace-making, using the unique gifts I've been given.
I paint. I meditate and practice yoga. I teach. I write. I raise my kids to bring sunshine and beauty to the world with determination and endurance. I cook. I look into the eyes of the people I meet and I smile. I get my hands dirty with the goodness of earth. I paddle board and swim and play games. I laugh and cry and celebrate this breath right now. I show up in the lives of those I care for most in the ways I'm able. I walk in the grass and water and sand. I snuggle and read to my girls. I enjoy time with my husband. I eat outside and dance in the rain. I swing and watch the clouds.
I do whatever I can to cultivate peace in me, hoping it flows out to those around. And then I surrender to The One, the ultimate provider of peace.
May you find a space to call holy. A space where you find yourself face down, confronting the depths of your being. And may you have the courage to go in. To go in, get messy, do the uncomfortable and painful work necessary to release and to grow.
And may you emerge alight with the power of peace.
*Namaste means the Light in me sees and honors the Light in you.