Practice Peace

In these deciding times, it is imperative for us to decide, to commit, to make a concerted effort to reach out in ever-expanding circles of affinity and embrace. Now is the time to create healthy, functioning networks in recognition and in honor of our mutual state of being and our common fate.

Because there really is still a chance for peace. And it is ultimately up to us, each one of us, all of us, individually and together, to create the kind of world in which we want to live -- to be the change we seek -- starting right here, right now.

I have an outgoing message on my answering machine that doesn't even say, "Hello." It just starts right in with, "You know there really is still a chance for peace and that chance will definitely increase if we each do our piece. So let's each do our piece and make peace -- in our homes, in our own hearts, in our relationships, in our communities, in all of our dealings and in the world. Peace be with us all."

Much to my surprise, the very people whom I never would have thought would respond favorably have. The overwhelmingly positive reactions that I have received from workmen, telephone solicitors and service personnel has been an important lesson about the necessity to reach out beyond the boundaries of our biases, assumptions, comfort zones and expectations.

But why was I surprised? People are just people, after all. When you think about it, all people are of a like-mind when it comes to living a life unthreatened by hatred and violence. The urgency for war only seems enticing when it is waged elsewhere. Ask anyone. "Do you want bombs and missiles to blow up your house?"

Every parent has the right to put her/his child to sleep each night without any risk of that child being shot, trapped in the midst of some hostile crossfire -- be it in Afghanistan, Syria, The Congo, Palestine, Paris or Chicago. No one wants to live and work in a war zone.

One by one and all together we must learn and practice the ways of peace, cooperation, compassion, forgiveness and understanding. We must put our spirit into action and be the change we seek -- in our hearts, in our homes, in our relationships and in our communities. Surely, this is the humble but firm foundation of Peace on Earth. We are the world, after all.

The way I see it, we are at a crossroads in our evolution. Either we will figure out how we can all live together on one planet without violence. Or we won't. We are modern dinosaurs and it is up to us whether this meteor storm that rages around us creating devastation in its path will drive us to extinction.

I have just been reading Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss about the original Siamese Twins who were, in fact, from Siam, Thailand today. Here were two men, fraternal twins, a double-boy, physically dissimilar and with radically different and antagonistic personalities who lived for 64 years connected to each other at the chest by a five inch long band of muscle and cartilage which housed their single stomach.

They married two sisters and had 21 biracial children between them -- this, in the constrained society of the Victorian American South. These twins managed to make an awkward, untenable, sometimes unbearable situation work because they had to. They couldn't walk away or hurt the other without suffering that same harm themselves. They learned how to live together because they had no choice.

Can we do less?