I find myself feeling despair, grief, and fear rise as I listen to the news of shootings, racism, hate crimes, discrimination and innocent lives lost. In my silent moments I question God. What are you up to? Why is this happening? Are you watching this? Are you allowing this?
Then I remember, I have always been a firm believer that everything that happens holds a blessing if we look a little harder and deeper. Sometimes it requires some time and perspective for the blessing to be revealed, but eventually it becomes clear. I try to figure out what the blessing is when innocent people get killed over and over and over again.
When 9/11 attacks happened in New York City, one of the most horrible moments in my lifetime, I saw as a result an outpouring of love, a rise in a sense of community, a return to values that had been lacking. Our entire country united with the rest of the world in the aftermath.
While the recent events are all so recent we haven’t had time to discover the blessings, I remain hopeful that these tragedies are waking us up to some serious wrongs so that we can fix them. And, rather than “an eye for an eye,” we realize that we are being asked to raise the bar, to make some big changes. But just like trying to turn your car around in a tight space, you may have to make a five point turn, moving forward and backward in the wrong direction before you get it going the right direction. Maybe we are just uncomfortable in the midst of the tight turn.
The truth as I see it is that we cannot contribute to world peace if we are not, ourselves, peaceful. We cannot expect blacks or whites or police or gays or Muslims or…whoever…to get along if we are not getting along with our own spouses, families and neighbors. We cannot get along with our loved ones if we are not valuing and respecting ourselves.
As the world seems to be getting crazier by the moment, we need to amp up our personal practices of peacefulness, love, compassion, understanding and responsibility.
Here are some possibilities for restoring your own inner peace and love:
Clarify what you believe in and question what you think you know. Your beliefs dictate your words and actions and lead to the results you receive. Carefully question and choose your beliefs so that the direction they point you is where you want to go.
Have integrity. Dig deep to identify what you stand for. Take the time to question what actually matters to you and evaluate how well your life reflects that commitment. Do your words, actions, and beliefs align? Do you do the right thing when no one is looking?
Recommit to or develop a personal practice for peace, or simply peace of mind. Do you meditate, walk labyrinths, journal, sing, play an instrument, listen to music, read uplifting books, or magazines? During times when fear and hopelessness is quick to rise, we can combat these feelings by growing the wise, still, place within. Restoration of peace, faith, trust and responsibility requires a conscious practice.
Treat those around you with respect and kindness. We are all horrified by how strangers are treating other strangers, but forget to notice how we are treating our own kids, our spouses, our elderly, and ourselves. Peace starts with each of us, in each of our own relationships.
Practice random acts of kindness. Do unexpected kind things for others just for the sake of doing good things. This will spark hope in others and become contagious.
Teach acceptance and responsibility. Lovingly redirect your children, friends or family when they speak or act unjustly, judgmentally, or with prejudice.
Ask for help. It is my belief that angels, spirits, God, our fairy grandmothers—whoever is watching over us—cannot actually intervene unless we ask for help. Unless we ask, there isn’t really an open door through which assistance can come. In these challenging times, let’s collectively ask for help.
Explore the blessing. Look for the lesson and the opportunity to grow.
Bring back the peace sign gesture of two fingers up. Perhaps, if we all greet each other with a peace sign gesture, we will subtly say, “I come in peace” and remind others to do the same.
If each of us aligns with peace, love and kindness individually, we raise the vibration of the world at large. This may actually be the point and the very thing that will lead to the blessing we seek—the emergence in the emergency.
What are your solutions?