Peace in your heart, peace in your world

PeaceI wish you peace. Do I mean peace of mind? Or do I mean freedom from coercion and violence? I mean both, and I’m not sure which is the more difficult to attain. I am sure, however, that you can’t have much of the one without also having a lot of the other.

Your own peace of mind is largely in your own control. But let’s be honest here. It is hard to find that inner calm while dodging bullets, figuratively or, worse yet, for real. On the other hand, world peace is something we all have to work for, one might even say fight for, even if fighting for peace sounds like the ultimate oxymoron. When we end up fighting each other instead, while thinking it is for the cause of peace, we have truly failed.

But no matter how many times we hear that peace must begin in our own hearts, those of us who have a certain level of impatience find that this process of trying to live a peaceful life does not seem like it is bringing peace into the world at nearly a fast enough pace. I’m part of this group, and I’ve had to accept that no amount meditation and deep breathing is going to make me feel otherwise.

taboojive1It is true that my own inner peace would be easier to hold on to if I stopped following the news. But I think that changing the world is a two pronged process. Yes, I need to be the change I want to see, just as Gandhi said. But I also need to know what is going on, even if some days what I see looks like one giant food fight in the cafeteria. I can refuse to join in. On some occasions, I can even laugh at the people throwing peas and carrots instead of crying about the food being wasted and god-awful mess they are making. Then other days the fight turns deadly, and I understand better the gravity of the issues with which we all must deal. That is the point at which is becomes real easy to get cynical and give up.

So it is always encouraging to stumble across others who are singing their own song of peace, if you will, in their own way.

This morning a friend sent a link to an article on politics in the New York Times called Beware Exploding Politics. It is written by¬†Thomas Friedman, a man who doesn’t particularly share my views, but what caught my attention was his reasonable plea for us to all stop throwing rocks at each other and to work together to find solutions to the world’s problems. It is short, funny, and worth the read.

hippiepeace5Then I stumbled on an old blog post from Cindy Knoke, a photographer I admire. I had saved the link months ago to re-post on this blog. She does beautiful work, but this particular one was her way of wishing the world peace. It is called Peace and is well worth the look.

Stumbling on two other kindred spirits was just the emotional boost that I needed. Yes, I will keep working on peace in my own heart. I want to sing that song as best I can so that others might hear me, too, and find encouragement to sing their song as they work harder to find their own peace within. It’s far too slow a process for my tastes. But I understand that it is and always will be the only one that will ever provide permanent peace.

 

 

Frustration

fractal 1Momma said that their would be days like this, or so the song goes. We all have them. Not just days, but weeks when both the big and the little annoying things of the world overtake everything.

I’m struggling with writing momentum right now. The plot for my latest book, d4, has spiraled out of control and I’ve spent a whole painful month reigning it back in. That’s way too long and I am so frustrated. Meanwhile my to-do pile is overflowing with real world problems like bills and taxes that I cannot keep ignoring. Breathe. It will all get done. My own job has been unusually demanding these past couple of weeks, so I can add a new chronic right shoulder and neck ache that is clearly computer related to my list of frustrations. Keep breathing.

As is so often the case when I am floundering, my immediate loved ones all have issues in their own lives right now that I cannot fix. There is a downside to having a very empathic nature, and as I turn on the news to relax, I know deep inside that isn’t going to help.I can’t explain why, but war anywhere frightens and depresses me. So does tyranny and repression. My heart goes out to the people of the Ukraine and Venezuela, both of which are now exploding. Breathe. You don’t help anyone by being agitated.

hippiepeace4We just finished a primary here in Texas in which candidates in my area battled each other to prove how each was more conservative than the other. The message was non-stop, delivered via unwanted phone calls and unavoidable fliers in the mail. The spiteful nature of much of the rhetoric was so depressing to a middle-of-the road independent like me. What to do, what to do.

Write? Work? Pay bills? Help my daughter move? Run for office? Go fight oppression in another country?

I think I’ll start by just putting some heat on my shoulder and breathing deeply. Calming down sounds like the best way to begin.

(please drop by and visit the Facebook pages of Fractal Enlightenment and Hippie Peace Freaks and give them a like for the images shown above.)

A short political rant (not mine)

I read a lot of blog posts by other writers. Some are funny, some are informative, and a few are full of themselves and more than a little annoying. None-the-less I learn about my craft from all of them and I am appreciative.

Today I stumbled on a blog by a twenty-two year old English major and aspiring fiction writer who took a few minutes to rant about the situation in Syria. I’ve been pretty conflicted about the whole mess, and I found her analysis succinct and worth repeating.

Why? This blog is not just about my writing,and my novel x0. It is also about the themes behind the book, including empathy and world peace. When someone has something worthwhile to say on those subjects, I am happy to reblog. So please, read on.

A short political rant.