Give Peace a Year posts are the notes from in person meetings aiming to transform the surprising levels of violence I found had crept into my everyday suburban life. I invited people to join me to Give Peace a Year. We started in February 2016 and ran for 3 years. Many surprising transformations to our stress levels, health and relationships were had. You can read the whole story of how it all began with my hair conditioner here.
We have now given peace a year!
Our group has been meeting fortnightly for a year.
For our 24th meeting we looked back over the year to see how we’d got on. The big review is complete.
Upon reflection we see that priceless things have been happening.
For which we say thank you, and MORE please!
We have decided to carry on and are going to give peace another year. Give Peace a Year²
The priceless things and how the first year went
We started on the 11th February 2016 and it’s been quite a year in the world.
We started because I’d been shocked at my hair conditioner stating it’s intention to fight signs of dryness!
I started gathering up examples of where violence or violent language had crept into our worlds without us spotting it.
Then to transform it into what it is I’d really like to have happen. Starting with my hair… soothing, smoothing and moisturising… not fighting…better!
We’ve brought a wide variety of things to our meeting for transformation. And enjoyed ourselves hugely doing it. And the most surprising thing is the effect on things we didn’t bring to work on directly. This aim for peaceful, ‘do no harm’ ways of being has spread without any effort, to other things.
-Family situations turning out so differently from the fighting norm.
-The habitual impulse to criticise in response to criticism usually strong and biting, barely a whimper.
-No effort or hard work but simply the benign presence seemingly dissolving conflict amongst a business group.
These weren’t situations that we worked on directly at all, or even talked about but they turned out differently.
It seems that through the intention to find peaceful nonviolent ways of being, and working on specific situations, has had a wider reach than we imagined.
The qualities we have, that which we are but is often buried and not seen or felt, has been held gently and given the conditions to grow.
And now its presence is being felt.
With no efforting, no doing, it simply is there. Being.
I cannot tell you how happy I feel about that.
Sometimes when we met we were looking for ideas of how to change things, other times it’s been empathy we needed, for the shock of finding violence in what we thought was a relatively peaceful life.
The most effective thing, as far as peacemaking goes, and most appreciated, has been having the space to think. A space where it feels safe to bring anything, even things that are distinctly not our best moment, and being heard without judgement. That acceptance, rather than ideas or suggestions for what to do, has been what brought us most peace.
This, about light, from David Spangler of the Lorian Association for incarnational spirituality, rings true for what seems to have been happening as we have been gently giving peace a year.
“ Light does not attack or contest.
Light evokes itself within a sytem. It’s not so much that we send light to someone or someplace, as it is that we evoke through resonance their own Light or the light of that situation to emerge and to make itself known.
Light operates by changing the environment.
If I step into a dark room and switch on the light, the light doesn’t start fighting the darkness and forcing it to retreat.
The light simply is, and where it is, darkness cannot also be. Light alters the environment whether we’re talking about physical light or sacred Light.
In a strict sense there can be no warriors of Light. Rather there are light bearers, those who can bring into and evoke from a situation, potential for sacredness in expression.”
Extending this kindness towards ourselves, the space to be heard without judgement has been especially appreciated, and resulted in a growing presence of peace within us… it awakening…coming more to life.
Does that feel pretty stunning to you?
It does to me…
Absolutely fan bloody tastic!
It seems that, in these instances, we are being peace.
Being peace bearers.
No-one’s looking for a sainthood or polishing their halo… it’s in small, human, day to day life situations we’ve found the increased presence of peace, and there are many, many situations where things aren’t peaceful at all.
And, that the presence of peace has grown in any way, because we gave it our attention throughout the year, we are happy. And declaring that worth it.