"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." Mother Teresa
This was my Facebook status today. We're all in this together. All of us. Our President's words two nights ago brought tears to my eyes, as it did for many. It set me to thinking how fractured we are as a whole, our very foundation is cracked and bleeding. What to do?....I am only one woman. You are only one human being....what to do, indeed. "Let there be peace on earth an let it begin with me"....that's a good place to begin, and it all begins with us, darlings.
I don't get mad like I used to. I can get fired-up, to be sure, but I don't get mad anymore. Big victory. My "peace" depended on other people, what they did, (or usually didn't do) governed my day. I wasted a lot of years being defined by outward things...people, places, events. I prided myself in thinking I was "different", that I stood apart, that no one understood me.....and I chased peace like a dog chasing it's tail. I was exhausted most of the time too, I mean bone weary exhausted. Somehow the words from my childhood...."Let there be peace on earth....." were lost along the way. If only we could be aware of the disconnect as it's happening! What is it that makes us splinter off from the rest of humanity? There are the biggies....childhood abuse, bad relationships, stuck in a dead-end job, bankruptcy, betrayal, death....yeah, those can do it, but how do we get our "connection" back? How do we make sense of those among us that spiral off the deep end and then take it out on society? A key thing I've learned is that, when you have been broken open.....stay open. When you're down on your knees asking, praying.....stay there. Metaphorically, of course. My cosmic brain surgery, as I like to call it, was only able to take place when I allowed the brokenness of my life to lay wide open. It gushed, but then it staunched, and it began to see the light of day.
My friend growing up was a little girl named Janet, she lived right near me. We played most every day after school, I could reach her house in 45 seconds through the field outside my back door. Janet was killed by a drunk driver in 1970. This was before all the "don't drive drunk" banners, before MADD, before being a "designated driver" was the responsible thing to do. And it was before Oprah.....all the shows where she interviewed people who came back from devastating experiences. So what I saw within Janet's family was extraordinary. We saw them crack completely open.....and in that depth of pain, they embraced the drunk driver. They testified in his defense. He did time, absolutely, but he did most of it in rehab and with counseling. They told us later that they couldn't see him as "different", they couldn't see him as "apart" from themselves. Janet's dad recounted his own stupid days as a young man.....driving drunk sometimes. In their determination to stay connected to this man who killed their daughter....and my best friend.....they healed their pain. This is an extreme example of staying connected, and I don't know how many of us could actually do that, but the point is this:
We are all one
We are connected by our very human nature. I am connected to the fisherman in his little boat on the sea off the coast of Italy. I am connected to the Chinese woman begging for money on the streets of Suzhou. (I remember her vividly, her eyes, her hands...open, pleading). How many times have I held my hands open, pleading for an answer in the deep darkness of night? I recognize myself in everyone, everywhere. I am connected to the old couple yesterday at the grocery store.... griping at each other unkindly, acting as if they couldn't stand each other....ha! Been there! I recognize the darkness in a human being, because if truth be told, if we didn't have a check on ourselves, if we weren't semi-sane, we just might allow events in our lives to make us spiral off the deep end and then take it out on society. Maybe it's a fine line between sanity and insanity. Maybe. But what do I know?
But we are all one.
I feel much more at peace with myself and the world when I look straight into the eyes of all I come across in the course of a day, and say a silent "Namaste". It only takes a second. Even the people that seem to irritate me are placed there so I can practice my "practice". The little tests, the little annoyances, and the big things that hit you right between the eyes, they're all there to help us see the connections. At least that's my humble opinion.....for what it's worth.
So, Namaste. And peace. And thank you.
Until next time...blessings upon your heart.