I’m learning to tolerate peace. I’m shocked as I see myself writing that, which takes me right out of peace. You see, my identity is so wrapped up in being a Peacemaker that it’s a Giant Step to admit that peace very often in my inner life has often been missing.
I’ve been a Peacenik my entire adult life. My credentials are impeccable. I became an anti-war activist when I discovered the realities of the Vietnam war. I organized an anti-nuke installation using little tree-farming cones to demonstrate insane levels of nuclear warheads in the early 80’s.
When I had kids my interest turned from imagining world peace (or whirled peas) to teaching peace, to bringing peace home to my life as a parent. I studied conflict resolution, wrote a book about Making Peace at Home, traveled around the country and worked with parents, teaching and learning practical skills.
But as hard as I worked to create peace for others, I didn’t have a lot of experience with inner peace in living my life, despite lots of meditation and yoga. It just wasn’t translating when chaos hit my outer world.
The last couple of years the dramas in my life have become less pressing. There are days that I rest in the inner calm, when I bathe peacefulness, inside and out.
And then there are the days that I notice there’s a lot to worry about in the world, a lot to fix in my life. Mind sometimes goes into conflict and stress without a good reason, except that’s the way it’s been wired over the years. This takes me right back to the practices that keep me sane, enabling me to extend my ability to tolerate a world with less drama. When I’m aware of that choice.
And when I’m not, there’s always another opportunity to breathe into frustration or compulsion, to refrain or to retrain this recalcitrant child of a mind. To question a mind run amok. To increase my tolerance for peace.