Peace Begins with Us
I dream of a world in which all humans are valued by society and self in total equality. I dream of a world in which diversity is appreciated, and each individual’s gifts are recognized and cultivated to their highest and brightest potential.
I also dream of building a self-sustaining village and spa retreat where doctors and specialists from all disciplines practice for the highest good.
Those are my ultimate dreams. I am nowhere close to either. The second one is an attainable goal. The first will take collective movement of massive proportions.
On June 18, 2015, I had just been granted a divorce and I was about mid-way on my journey to wellness. Before work, I read the news that a 21-year-old white supremacist walked into a church the day before, then shot and killed nine people during a prayer service. Because they were black, and he was a racist full of venom. Because it was an African Methodist Episcopal church, a house of worship and a historical one.
He opened fire on people who were there to make peace with themselves and their maker. He murdered community leaders who worked to create a culture of safety and equality for their people.
I was angry. I felt helpless. I hadn’t found my voice yet, so I changed my Facebook profile photo to a drawing of an indignant Wonder Woman with her hands on her hips. It wasn’t enough, but doing something felt better than doing nothing.
I found myself at the gym on the elliptical machine. As my heartrate increased, I broke a sweat and burned off energy, I asked, “What can I do?”
I listened for the answer. None came right away.
“What should I do?”
“Breathe,” came the answer. “Love yourself.”
“That doesn’t help others. That is helping myself.”
“It does help others. Heal yourself. Your power to change anything for others is limited until you change yourself.”
I didn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of it, but I knew it was the answer.
I continued on my journey, exploring and practicing self-love in everyday choices. Collectively, the choices added up to massive change in my life. My health in all areas improved, and so did my ability to generate power when I needed to. I grew in status and freedom. I loved myself healthy.
And still I asked, what can I do for the world?
You can’t force peace. You can only foster it. How does one person foster peace?
I have to find peace within myself. I have to make peace with everything about myself, my past and my present. I have to fill my spaces with love, from self, to self, all around and through self.
I have to walk in the light no matter how comfortable the shadows seem. I have to be courageous enough take a well-lit look at reality.
I have to speak what I see. I know it’s uncomfortable for many people. It is for me too. I love nothing more than living quiet days at home, forgetting about the world out there.
Humanity cannot afford to have anyone retreat into silence anymore. If we don’t talk, we can’t possibly help the situation get better.
And we have to do more than talk about the realities we face, we have to spread peace while doing so. The compassion you show another may be the first time they have received anything like that. You can help people find their own peace. Your compassionate action can change the world for those crossing your path, and you never know who that might be. We can generate peace.
Who wants to create world peace with me? It’s too big a task to do by myself. Especially if I am going to also create a sustainable spa retreat run by a village of healers. Really, I need help. Who wants change also?
Lucretia Robison is a licensed massage therapist, Emory University trained health coach and blogger. If you have a personal story of awakening that you’d like to share in Walking Each Other Home, please contact [email protected].