Most of us are pretty appalled by the warring ways of the world. Many of us think, “Can’t they find another way to work this out?” We boldly claim we want world peace. Yet, I don’t think this planet has ever seen a single day of peace. I’d venture to guess certainly not one single day since human beings have been in existence. I don’t know about you, but that's plain sad to me and I think we ought to do something about it.
The classic sentiment, “think globally, act locally” makes a strong case for looking a little closer to home (literally) than the Middle East to see if we can bring peace to our own backyards, before expecting others do so in theirs. Has your neighborhood had a day of peace? Your household? Your relationship? Your own heart?
Violence comes in a myriad forms other than war, assault, or physical harm. Regardless of what we were told as children, sticks and stones break bones, but words, looks, gestures, and thoughts break hearts.
Violent behaviors can make an even more subtle presence in our homes and hearts. We inflict harm on others even with our silent thoughts, criticism, and control. It doesn’t matter how nice you behave, or what sweet words you utter. If you’re thinking mean and nasty thoughts about your loved ones, or neighbors, or employees, or coworkers, the energy of those thoughts will speak louder than your words. There is an energetic exchange even with nothing said that we can feel. We can tell when someone is giving us dirty looks from across the room—before we even see them.
Even the act of talking behind someone's back or rolling your eyes as they walk away is an act that inflicts pain, shame, and separation.
The 60’s suggested we make love, not war, but I’m afraid even the beautiful act of making love can be a violent assault on another when they are not participating by choice. Certainly, love is not what is made when anger, resentment, or numbed resignation are the predominant emotions.
And then, there is the harm we inflict upon ourselves with our negative self-talk, doubt, and judgment. We inflict harm upon ourselves when we don’t say no when we need to, take time for ourselves or when we pummel ourselves with judgment.
The invitation is to see if you can, we can, for even just one day, take 100% responsibility for aligning our words, thoughts and actions with love, peace, harmony and compassion. Start with just one day. If one day is too much, start with one hour and work your way up. Spend even five minutes being mindful of the impact of presence in the world.
See if you can pray for someone or offer to help them, instead of judging them. Practice acceptance, instead of tolerance.
Take responsibility for your words, and think before you say them. Take responsibility for your thoughts, and question whether they are accurate or if you are reacting to a story that you are making up, rather than the truth.
Take a deep breath and check in with yourself. Say yes when you mean it, not when you don’t. Give yourself credit where credit is due. Thank those who serve you. Catch people doing something right and let them know you noticed. Look for the goodness in others. Look for the goodness in yourself. Start a revolution of kindness. Or revive one.
Most importantly, journey into your own heart, find peace, and bring it back out into the word.
Let’s start a movement: Peace Starts Here. Right here. We are the antidote to war. Let’s wage a peace. Let’s boldly claim peaceful hearts and peaceful homes and see how powerful we are.