Peace- Thankvember Nineteenth

 

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Peace- Thankvember Nineteenth

As nations in another part of the world are massing for a war, while saying they will do anything to prevent violence against their people, it may seem a little odd that my gratitude today is for peace.

I’m not unused to being called odd. In fact, I kind of like it.

What I have noticed, in this conflict, and in most others, is that doing anything seldom means attempting to resolve the disagreement peacefully, and even less frequently seems to include an honest assessment, on either side, of how they have contributed to the friction, and how they might make restitution for it.

Violence is never the way to peace.

Yes, I said never.

Violence and war are the antithesis of peace and love.

We know this – but,when our passions are aroused,we tend to forget.

People will tell children that fighting doesn’t solve anything – and then they will support a war.

Wars are insanity; they are jagged broken places in humanity.

I am not anti-war.

I am pro-peace.

There is a very large distinction there.

Being pro-peace, the first and most important change I made was within myself.

It is one thing to say I am pro-peace. It is a very different, and much harder thing, to strive to live peacefully myself.

I was not raised peacefully, and, as a child, I had very few examples of peaceful living to aspire to. Perhaps that’s why Star Trek and especially Spock resonated so powerfully with me, and why they still do. Striving for peace is easier when you see others also striving for peace, even if only on television, at first. Seeing a community living in peace, or at least aspiring to, provides a lot to learn from, even when it’s a fictional one.

I am very fortunate to have made some very dear friends who also truly strive to live peacefully. Many have become chosen family – inspiring, uplifting, entertaining, passionate people who think I am pretty cool, too.

I get to interact with these people in a way that I cannot with most others. It’s not common, in modern American conversation, for all parties to be mutually respectful of one another, especially if they disagree, or if one or both stands to gain or lose in the interaction. It’s more common, on the whole, to find people insulting one another rather than looking for positive traits in one another.

But that is how it is, in most of my life, now. I have chosen to spend my time interacting with people who live the concepts of peace, who seek fulfillment over power or money, who sparkle with joy and vitality, whose minds are open to new ideas and opinions.

I see peace in action on a daily basis, in how these people are in the world, and it gives me an example, and advice when I need it, and an ideal to aim for.

As always, though, there is another side.

I have let go of some connections for reasons that include:

  • The relationship was too toxic to work toward or allow for peace
  • Respect was demanded but not given, where
  • There was physical, verbal, and/or emotional abuse
  • Manipulation, shaming, and/or guilt were used as a means of controlling the relationship
  • I felt consistently censored and prohibited from expressing my honest opinions, choices, needs, and/or desires.
  • I felt that being myself was somehow suspect or criminal in the perspective of the other.
  • Old relationship patterns were still playing out, even when I attempted to change my approach or deal openly with the problem.
  • It has been demanded that I refrain from talking or writing honestly and openly about incidents in my life that may alter someone’s opinion of other involved parties.
  • I have been expected to meet someone’s emotional needs and/or heal their emotional wounds out of a sense of obligation, especially when little or no regard has been given to the wounds the other may have caused me.
  • I am not yet able to avoid frequently responding in reactive rather than conscious ways when in conflict with this person, especially if there is frequent and/or simmering conflict in the relationship.

When I realized that relationships that meet some or all of these criteria cannot be healthy or peaceful, I began to realize that this is true in any case, for me – even if the other party is a parent, sibling, or long-time friend.

The above are what I suppose Dr. Phil would refer to as “deal-breakers”, for me. I have tried, for most of my life, to forge peaceful relationships when some of these factors have been involved.

It has never worked.

 

Spock mindmelding with the Horta- a silicone based life form who murdered human miners as retaliation for the unintentional slaughter of her young. Spock was the instrument of peace between two species who misunderstood one another.

I need relationships that are mutual, striving for peace, respectful of all, honest, and do not put image above substance.

I need real, multifaceted connections, and not dog-eared scripts I memorized as some younger version of the woman I am today.

I need bonds that sustain, not chafe; that delight, not shame; that support, not ridicule.

I need people in my life who see who I am, and how who I have been is a part of that, but only a part.

I need relationships that are real and endlessly shifting, where everyone involved is there by choice, and where everyone brings themselves wholly and willingly.

By asking myself what I need from others, I opened myself to deep kinships that feed me in way my former connections, born of a grasping need to seek happiness through others could not. I have released some relationships, but always with the hope that, someday, the situation will be different and healing might begin.

And I have found a new level of peace and personal fulfillment, which I strive to pay forward into the world in my interactions…and to ask myself and others, on occasion, the most important question of all:

“How can I love you better?”

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