Today is Peace One Day. It’s an international project and you can find out more about it at http://www.peaceoneday.org
Peace is not merely an absence of war. Many of us do not live in peace even though we’re not implicated in any kind of armed conflict. I know so many people who are caught up in fighting right now – fighting their governments and corrupt systems, fighting to save badgers, landscapes, homes, to protect rights. There are too many people whose work life is a constant battle, or whose home life is fraught with danger. We kill each other on the domestic front all the time. We die on the roads. We end our own lives in pain and despair.
Peace is about all of these things. It’s an issue of not being at war with the planet, and not practicing genocide on other species. We don’t even have a word for that, so far as I know, but we should.
We don’t get real peace by ignoring the problems, or by ceasing to fight over matters of life and death. The only kind of peace of any value, is a peace that works for everyone. While we buy into the idea of competition being preferable to co-operation, while we put the gain of the few ahead of the needs of the many and refuse to even think about the long term survival of our species, we can’t have peace.
I’m very tired today. These last ten days or so have left me bruised of heart and mind, and ill of body. I am painfully aware of a need for some personal peace right now. I’m going to take some time out today and sit in a hill with friends, and think about what we could be doing to make things better. Where to stand and fight and where to let go. When to step forward, and when to walk away. Small and finite resource that I am, how can I deploy myself to best effect? Where will my voice make most difference? I don’t know.
The last few days have brought me face to face, repeatedly, with everything I like least about myself, everything I fear may be true of me in terms of my insufficiencies. It’s funny that I get people, both online and offline, who see me as someone who needs taking down a peg or two. I’ve never figured out what it is that I do to come across as arrogant and self- important, aside from simply having this willingness to speak. I only keep doing it because there’s an ongoing stream of feedback from people who find me useful. I figure, if one person finds my words helpful, it was worth sharing them. And yes, there are indeed plenty of days when I share my latest critic’s concern that this makes me some kind of audience-hungry imposter, somehow lacking in some needful inner quality. There is no peace at all in that kind of despair and self-hatred. The only door it opens for me is the one that leads to death. There are days when that seems like the most productive contribution I could make. There are days when I write about peace because I need to believe there is some point, some reason for hope.
For those of you who find me acceptable and useful as I am, thank you. What you give, in doing that, is beyond measure for me. Peace in your hearts, peace in your homes, and may Peace One Day as an idea bring you something good.