Although I suspect each one of us can find different reasons why we believe it is true, I bet all of us agree with the directive: Be the change you wish to see in the world. It works on so many levels. First I believe it’s important to be authentic and that means walking your talk. And secondly, I think there’s always room for stretching – no matter how mastered we become at something, there is always a growing edge.
I suppose that’s why every year I return to the practice of observing the 64-days of A Season for Peace and Nonviolence.
I struggled for a period last year where I felt a great deal of animosity towards a group of people who were behaving in what I considered to be an evil, mean-spirited, and nasty way towards someone I hold in great love. This was such a hard lesson for me – I kept struggling with trying to suppress the anger and outrage I felt because somehow it didn’t fit with what I considered to be my spiritual focus. Rather than allowing the feelings to flow and clear, I kept stuffing them down trying to shape them into something more “acceptable” to me; with the result of them simply growing and becoming darker, more painful, and overwhelming. Ugh! So in the end it became a much bigger project to clear it all, to move into alignment, to find my balance. And while I’m happy to report I have indeed found peace with this; the lessons remain for me of the importance to honestly express feelings, to do the best one can to find workable solutions, and when it becomes obvious that can’t/won’t happen, to disengage and move on. For someone like me who often has the tendency to hang on too long, that can be quite challenging.
I’ve spent a great deal of time in reflection of all of it, and having done so, I feel like I’m looking at this year’s meditations on peace and non-violence with clearer brighter eyes and a new understanding. Life is like that – we stumble, we grow, and then once we’ve picked ourselves up, we’ve got another piece of piece of information we can use on our path forward.
Today’s suggested practice was on the topic of Contemplation. And an offered quote from Elizabeth Janeway is:
I admire people who are suited to the contemplative life. They can sit inside themselves like honey in a jar and just be. It’s wonderful to have someone like that around, you always feel you can count on them. You can go away and come back…there they are, just the way they were, just being.
I had to laugh in recognition of myself in that quote, and at the same time there was a bit of cringing too. I’m well suited to the contemplative life. Obviously too well practiced one might say, considering the guide word I’ve chosen for this year seems to be a counterbalance – ACT. While I’m looking for that sweet spot of balance between reflection and expression, it seems I have a lot of practicing of self-compassion to do as well. This also seems like an appropriate exploration in this Season of Peace and Nonviolence.
Is there something turning up in your life that is looking for healing or perhaps deeper understanding or expansion this Season?