Thursday, November 24, 2016

Let There Be Peace, And Let It Begin With Me

When I was still young, I thought I understood what peace was. I was convinced my world was a pretty safe place. In my early twenties, I used to work in an area of downtown Toronto I didn't know was dangerous. I just walked around like I owned the whole neighborhood. No one ever hassled me on my short walk to the subway, or on the train either. I thought it was a peaceful commute. And it was.

But these days, there are a rising number of unsafe places. And far less peace than I remember. But maybe my understanding of peace has changed? Let's check...

  1. 1.
    freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.
  2. 2.
    freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.

Yup, that's pretty much what my definition is as well.
So why is there less of it? Is it, as a friend on the phone last night suggested, because fewer people care about the effect their words and actions have on others? Perhaps.
There is more violence today, more war, more judgement and more hatred. Using the definition above and physics, when there is more violence on the opposite scale, there must be less peace. Like a glass that's filled with water. More water -- less air space. 

My phone call with a friend last night was enlightening. At some point in the conversation, my friend said, "It comes down to one thing -- is that person's choice to do what they want with their body harming me in any way? Will it impact my life if a woman chooses to have her baby even if that baby is a product of rape? Will it impact my life if you choose to love someone of the same gender?" So why aren't more people asking themselves these kinds of questions before they judge others? Maybe it's too much work. Maybe it's easier for them to judge before trying to understand? I don't have the answers. But I'm mighty glad that I and my family are out here in the bush!

Some of you might remember that I can go on for hours about Ravelry, the knitting/crocheting/weaving/fiber website. Today, one of the hot discussions was the upcoming world-wide knit-in for peace. The event was born from one simple comment about the potential for peace if a few hundred knitters all decided to knit for peace. From the concept creator, Christina Campbell,

"Last year after conducting the first “peace-along” I jokingly said “if we could get knitters around the globe to focus on peace for 21 days we might create world peace.” At this point I say, no joking, what have we got to lose?
I’ve created a cowl pattern that has a bit of a soothing stitch pattern. It’s a 4-row repeat. Knit 1 repeat per day and at the end of 21 days (or close to it) you’ll have a peaceful cowl. Optional i-cord edging."
What’s a peace-along? There will be a daily tip on how to infuse more peace into your life. These tips will be available on my blog each day from December 1-21. They’ll be simple things, some from me and others from a few guests.  

So obviously, the idea spoke to me as a knitter. And who knows if we'll change the minds of angry people afraid of those who look or act, or pray differently. But in the 21 days that we'll be knitting that cowl, we will be thinking and talking about peace. And if the teachings of Buddha are correct, we'll cast peaceful ripples out into the world around us. And that's not a bad goal!
Each of us needs to do what we can to promote peace, no matter if that's knitting, writing poetry, peaceful protests, letter writing, feeding the homeless...we can all do a little something to reduce the mistrust and judgement and hatred in our world.
Maybe it won't start with a flower, or a stitch, or a knitted cowl...but it might.

Here's some music to help get you in a peaceful frame of mind.

"Let there be peace, and let it start with me."

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you.
After a difficult week I needed to read this. And to remember that MANY of us want peace.