It's that time again. The annual Blog Blast for Peace when bloggers from around the globe take time to send a wave of prayers for and thoughts of and about peace out into the Universe. This event is the heart child of Mimi at Mimi Writes.
What to say about peace in a world that seems so hell-bent on its alternative... I'm find it hard to find words for the jumble of thoughts that are churning around in my head.
As anyone knows who visited my blog during the elections last year (and any time since), my otherwise mild mannered self is rabidly political. I find it hard to maintain my sense of peace and live-and-let-live in the face of people whose views seem so counter moral to me (as I'm sure my views seem to them). I don't understand levels of greed that allow people to leave others homeless so that they can have more money than any one human being needs. I don't understand people who think that if they have health insurance, that's all that matters, that the inconvenience of having to wait a day for coverage trumps waiting a life time. I don't understand people who feel that they have a right to legislate someone else's morality. I don't understand people who claim to be Christians yet ignore things like "even as ye have done it unto the least of these... and do unto others... and judge not lest ye be judged and... my list goes on and on." And I find myself becoming the thing I hate, feeling judgmental and cranky and anything but peaceful. When I listen to the Glenn Beck's and Limbaugh's, to the Ann Coulter's and Sara Palin's I have a hard time living my own ethic. I know that these are wounded souls on some level, but they speak hate and live to spread fear and discord. They prey on ignorance and the ugliest aspects of the American Spirit and thought I try to send love, I find myself often drawn into the vortex. Peace will come, I hope, when people like me don't get drawn into that vortex but rise above it, when we stop giving it power and put our energy into being for equal rights and healing rather than against petty dark souls who really aren't worthy of all the attention that they get. I still struggle with finding that capacity for peace in my own small life.
It's much the same, it seems to me on the grander international scale. I have often bemoaned the fact that the leaders of Israel and Palestine leap at any excuse to fight. One crazed lunatic blows himself up and peace treaties are thrown away for over-the-top retaliations that breed more crazy lunatics. It makes my head spin and it makes me sad. But aren't I the same here in my tiny kingdom? I let the hate mongers make me foam at the mouth.
I'm still carrying a lot of anger about what was done to my country over the past years, dragged into a war that should not have been, dragged into the moral perversity of torturing other human beings and imprisoning them without trial in conditions that are less than decent. I'm carrying a lot of anger that those who supported this horror are still fomenting fear, obstructing putting these mere mortals into American prisons (like we couldn't handle them... what are they? Sorcerers? If they were that powerful they would have escaped already...).
I don't like wars but I have less certainty than I once did about what's right and wrong. Is it peaceful to give over the people of a nation to those who kill people for disagreeing with them, who abuse women as a matter of "faith," who have perverted a peaceful religion into an instrument of mass murder and suicide? I have always believed (and still do) that violence begets violence. And yet I don't know an answer to hate as a faith. I don't know the answer to it on the world scene or on the local scene where there are those who think my friends shouldn't be able to love each other because they are both men.
I am grateful for our new president. He hasn't proven to be Superman. Hasn't leaped the Republican Party in a single bound, fixed the broken economy with a snap of his fingers, or gotten jobs for every citizen in 10 months. He has taken steps, though, at home and abroad. He has opened doors to talk with others about the issues that divide us. That alone has shifted the energy of the whole planet. Yes, I want all the guns beaten into plow shares and I want everyone to have a home of their own and a high paying job and more than enough to eat. And I want it yesterday. But change takes time. People who visit me regularly, know that I have had a major miracle in my life. A year ago in July, I wrote to an organization that helps people like me and asked if they could help me get a ramp to make my home easier and safer to get in and out of. For months I didn't hear anything and I figured that I hadn't made the cut, but then about 6 months after I applied, I got a call saying that they wanted to make a house inspection. Turned out that not only would they give me my ramp but a new bathroom with a walk-in shower and a more user friendly kitchen. I couldn't believe it. I was excited but then it seemed like nothing was happening... 5 months passed as paper work and applications and drawings were made. And then suddenly tons of things happened. For two months my home was in chaos with people hammering and pounding and painting and working... and "suddenly," my home is a new paradise of sorts with an entry I can use without panic. I can take a shower without wondering if I'm going to live through climbing in and out of the bath tub, and my kitchen... what can I say about having storage and counters and a sink I can reach? What can I say about having my washing machine where I can get to it? Thank you, for one thing. But my point (yes, I do have one) is that change and miracles don't always rise up in an instant. Like most things, they grow and evolve and then suddenly - like a flowers blossoming on a tree - they are miraculously there.
I practice gratitude religiously. Years ago I learned a Hawaiian adage: energy flows where attention goes. What we pay attention to, we bring to ourselves. I start and end my day giving thanks for all my blessings, by name. I give thanks for water when I drink or when I shower. I give thanks for the life force of the food I eat. I give thanks for my friends and my cats and for money to pay my bills (even when I don't quite have it). I think I want to remember to give thanks for world peace in the days to come (even though we don't quite have it yet).
This is long and rambly and I'm not sure where I'm going, having dragged anyone patient enough to read through all these words. I guess where I'm winding up is the belief that peace starts within. I don't think we can sit around hoping it will come to us. I think we need to generate it. I think we need to radiate it from our hearts and make the effort to generate love even to those we find despicable. (Limbaugh? Bin Lauden? Ugh.... I didn't say it was easy, but...)
And maybe first and foremost we need to generate it towards ourselves. I know I'm not going to always succeed. It's too much fun being pissed off sometimes and enjoying the wit of people like Jon Stewart to give up on crankiness completely. But still, I commit myself here and now with this post, to add my thanks for societal and world peace, to be grateful for every word spoken in peace, every step taken to stem violence and rape and murder, to give thanks for the Mimi's of this world and all of us who have participated in this blast for peace.
Peace be with you. Peace be with us all.