Peace Begins with Me

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Peace Begins with Me

What does it mean to be a starting point?


As we near the holiday season, wishes for peace on earth abound, from traditional musical refrains floating over the airwaves on local radio stations, to a heightened awareness of the human condition, both locally and in locations across the globe. We always care. It’s just that at this time of year, we seem to care more. Or at least, we remember how much we do.


At the same time, the stresses of holiday shopping, family gatherings, and closing the 2014 business books can create a perfect and ironic tension with peace as an inner state of mind. Peace at home, in the nitty-gritty of our day-to-day interactions, can easily get lost in the end of year shuffle.


One of the tenants of Dancing Freedom, Peace Begins with Me, offers a useful reflection on the way our own actions, large and small, create ripple effects that either contribute to – or detract from – a larger sense of peace.


Recently, I found myself in a group of four women discussing peace, in relation to the recent events in Ferguson, MO. Not surprisingly, our views were as diverse as the response to the incident itself. Yet despite our different views on how to achieve it, the desire for justice and peace among us was palpable. It’s often like this, I think. We all want peace. We’re just not sure how to get there.


One of the women in our group suggested taking a look at ourselves, and checking on whether we were driven by a desire to get even… or by a real desire to create peace, alluding to the fact that the two approaches may lead to quite different kinds of action. While it didn’t prescribe one obvious answer, the comment struck me as a profound reflection on the theme peace begins with me.


This week, I invite you to ask yourself the question “what does it mean to be a starting point, when it comes to peace?”


In your movement practice, pay careful attention to your mind chatter this week. What are you frustrated about? What are you angry about? What has you feeling righteous? Rather than ignore it or stuff it down, I encourage you to literally do the opposite. Let yourself feel it. Dance it. Jog it. Exaggerate it. Running it through you in a safe, non-dangerous environment like your regular movement practice is a good way to get to know what’s there. In my experience, when we’re unaware, it tends to drive us underneath the surface.


Once you’ve had a chance to feel it all, ask respectfully for it to show you another way. Another path. Another version of the story. Invite a sense of compassion, and see what physically unfolds next. Here, subtle shifts in sensation or emotion may point to doorways that you hadn’t noticed before.


In life, notice the ways you perpetuate strife. Without judgment, take an intention to catch yourself in the act a few times this week. The ways are often subtle, and may not look like we expect. For example, in staying quiet rather than addressing an act of unkindness, we may judge ourselves more “peaceful.” Yet if we’re still boiling inside a few days later, it may be that the act of passivity directly contradicted your deeper desire for peace. Get the idea? As much as taking nasty action to get even with person who triggers you may perpetuate something other than peace… so may doing nothing but gossiping about him behind his back.


To say the least, this practice is far from black and white. Make use of your body sensations and deeper intuition here. What does it feel like in your body when you’re genuinely contributing to a legacy of peace.


Building your inner compass to detect subtle nuances is a great way to the starting point for peace.


Settling in,



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