Imagine the world without anger, without greed. We have the power, the tools, the skills and the resources right now to build a peaceful world, where people live in harmony with the Earth and each other. This blog explores ways we are doing just that, one post, one change, one day at a time. Join me. Tell your stories. Ask for help. Spread your ideas for making the vision real and, well, ordinary.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring in the plaza, in our hearts and a hot flash of rage

Spring tree leafing out at City Hall
March 10, 2012, Stand for Peace
© L Kathryn Grace, all rights reserved
With the greening of the tree across the street from our standing spot, my heart seems to be greening and waking up as well.

When I first began standing for peace several years ago, I thought I was standing for Peace on Earth.

I was. I am. I do. What becomes ever more clear, each time I stand, is that when I stand for peace, I change me. I am greening with hope and peace as surely as the tree greens with the new life of spring.

Saturday was a special day. Not only did Sharon and I stand for peace at City Hall.That night, we participated in the worldwide Moment of Peace, joining others in our time zone to stop what we were doing and sit in silence for one hour, or as near to one hour as our activities permitted.

The next morning, when a woman I love ignored my boundaries and invaded my space aggressively, I experienced a familiar irritation. At first, I attempted to include her in my activity. When she responded with even more aggression, pushing me aside as though I were invisible, I felt my Irish temper flare hotly.

Instead of reacting in that (self) righteous fire, I suddenly remembered the calm of our morning stand the day before, followed by our hour of peaceful contemplation that evening.

I stopped, took a couple of centering breaths. At first, I thought that would be enough, but my sense of displacement, and the anger I felt in response, increased as my friend continued her invasive behavior. At that point, I quietly left the room and found a spot where I could center and calm myself in private. For a few moments, I clung to the need to lash out in rage, even as I breathed through it and prayed for a calm, loving heart. Then the utter peace of the night before washed over me. Simultaneously, I felt my anger and that gentle peace and calm. Oxymoronic? I know. It happened just like that. I accepted my anger, my hurt feelings, embraced them.

In the past, I would have felt guilty for my potentially volatile reaction. This time, I loved my anger for its protective power. Loved that it showed how important the activity in which I had been engaged was to me. As soon as I acknowledged my feelings in this way, they dissipated.

Much sooner than I might have even a year ago, I opened my heart to trying to understand the other woman's need. She is a member of my circle, a family member I cherish. I do not know if I will ever fully understand her need to be invasive at times, and to ignore boundaries. She is not one with whom I could open a conversation about that. I suspect her behavior comes from a place of insecurity and perhaps from fear.

Had I not had the grounding of those two hours of silence in the name of peace the preceding day, I doubt I would have responded as quietly to this incident as I did. I am grateful for the inner peace that grows within me, for the peace that is, perhaps, beginning to leaf out all over my body. I pray it is so.

For more on the Moment of Peace, visit their Facebook page, where you will find comments, photographs and videos from people who participated all around the world.

We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.


kario said...

What a beautiful post! I love that what you've set out to do for your community is affecting you in such a profound way, too. The ripples will continue to spread outward and I suspect that even without engaging this other woman in conversation, the change in you will help her to change over time.

Sharon said...

I like how you describe your experiences here. Your post shows clearly that it does make a difference... making time to focus on peace, peacefulness, peaceful behaviors and change and challenges. Let it begin with me... this is how.... let peace begin with me intentionally. One by one in peaceful thoughts and actions... that's what is changing the world.

Dee said...

Dear Kathryn,
This post enthralled me for it truly illustrated to me how welcoming peace into our lives can change the way we respond to others. Thank you for reminding me of this.


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