In talking with Mary, I could hear her ongoing resentment of those she has worked with who seem to float to the next level while she is infused with passion but unable to support herself financially. Mary has been given many opportunities to train in various models to rehabilitate and restore justice where justice has gone wrong. I asked her if she could consider for a moment that all of those people who trained her and helped her were her PhD. program in life. The great thing is that she has no school loans--just the degree. She thought a moment and suddenly found a way to be grateful to all of those who had helped her go forward from the darkness she had been in.
The next time I went to Mary's she had created an appreciation collage filled with specific thank-yous to specific people. She had filled her board with hearts and puffy pink letters spelling out her gratitude. All of her jealousy and resentment had been transformed into something fresh with possibility. Both the act of creating the board and the act of rethinking her debt to these people had brought her peace.
One of the things I want to do with this weekly post (my goal for 2011) is to not just throw around pretty words suggesting we get along, but to show specific ways that we can achieve the state of peace within our own hearts and in the world. Peace is a state of being--not an action, not a thing, not even a process. It begins inside. If we were to break down major wars and violent events, we would find the seeds for that violence in single thoughts and patterns of behavior driven by thoughts. We need to learn to manage our own thoughts first. Who do we resent? Who do we direct anger or jealousy at? How kind are we to our own selves?
Just in the past week we had a shooting in a school in Nebraska and a shooting of a public servant in Arizona. People died. Violence is followed by more fear--and less peace. In both cases, we can find the roots of the violence in the thoughts of a single person. Sad. Who will help us manage our thoughts? How can we help each other manage thoughts that morph into action?
Be kind to yourself first.