Practice Peace

I’m never quite sure what to do with the emotion that rises after these violent attacks on innocent people. I don’t know how to help or how to grieve or how to return to normal life without feeling guilty for still having a normal life.

Another senseless act of violence. Another set of emotions. Another set of fear. Another set of grief for those affected.

Another reminder to love.

To love the people that are easy to love and also those who aren’t.

And most importantly, a reminder to love the person who’s the hardest to love.

You.

There is very little I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening in the world, but what about the violent attacks that are happening close to home—the violent attacks that are happening in your own body, expressed through your own thoughts and your own behaviors? I’d like to think that I’m not violent toward myself, but when I look closely at the dialogue I choose or the way I react to behaviors that don’t suit me, sometimes it can look like a war-zone. I’m not sure that I can go around wishing for world peace, when there isn’t peace right here, within myself.

There isn’t much I can do to prevent violent attacks on innocent people, but there is a lot I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening within myself.

To allow diversity. Different emotions. Different thoughts. Different moods. Different behaviors. And to accept each one as unique and special and exquisitely beautiful as it builds a colorful array of variation and rich culture within myself.

To accept. The light, the dark, the deep, the shallow. To accept these varying aspects of myself, and recognize that even the things that seem imperfect lend themselves to cast perfect shadows in order to allow the light parts to shine even brighter.

To release. Release anger, release fear, release hurt, release resentment. And not just to release it, but to transform it into something that will enrich my life. To learn from these things; to alchemize my emotions into something beautiful: from sorrow to compassion; anger to activism; envy to inspiration; and fear to love.

To love. Not just to love the parts that are easy, but to love the parts that aren’t easy. The parts that scare me, trouble me, annoy, or irritate me. There is something there, beneath them, and the only way to find the gift is to love through the shadow that engulfs it.

To learn. And if, despite my best efforts, an attack still occurs, I’ll learn from it. How did it happen? What led to it? Where was I not paying attention? When did I stop listening? How can I get in front of the assault; in front of the build up; in front of the mindless cruelty toward myself?

Practice peace. Peace isn’t a onetime deal. Self-love isn’t graduation. Acceptance doesn’t show up and then stay without being entertained. It’s ongoing. It’s practice. It’s patience. It’s trying again and again and again.

World peace starts with inner peace.

Will you try?

Maggie-Lochtenberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Maggie Lochtenberg

You’re Right Where You Need To Be

There will be moments in your life when you feel stuck.
Moments when you feel left out; lost; alone; forgotten.
Moments when there are no ideas, no direction, and no pathways.

There will be moments when you can’t stand the skin you’re in.
Your life may spread before you like a giant, starless sky…vast, dark and empty.
You will want to expand; explode, or implode…anything other than this.

These moments may frighten you.

They might make you question everything you know.
Burn it up. Tear it down. Start all over. Run away.
Maybe you should. Maybe you shouldn’t.
My challenge for you, when you encounters these moments, is to stay.

Just stay.

Sit in the dark for a while.
Maybe even accept it.
Maybe even find relief in the unknowing.
Breathe it in; breathe it out.

Because even though you might not see it yet, something is happening.
Birth is happening. Life is happening. Death is happening.
You’re like a whole galaxy of stars that glimmer and fade and glimmer again.

We sink into the dark so we can experience the exquisite return of light.
Your job is to allow the experience of it; whatever it may be.

And listen.

Listen carefully to the quiet unknown.
Listen to the dark.
Listen to the silence.
Listen to the feeling of being lost.

If you’re listening, you won’t miss a thing.
You’ll catch the next spark just as its being born.
The light will burst out from within.
And you’ll be graced with a new path; a brilliant idea; a fresh perspective.

And you’ll realize that you were never lost.
You are always right where you need to be…
Right here.
Right now.

RightWhereYouNeedToBe