All children want to live in a peaceful world. I know I did.
Throughout my life I’ve been grateful for that. I’ve even felt guilty for the privilege. Not every child in this world is as lucky as I have been. Growing up in a country that had just received it’s independence, raised near lakes and wild forests, breathing clean air, eating real food, enjoying all four seasons with no risk of natural disasters. A dream for many.
War was something my grandmother used to know. It was in the history books and on TV. I’ve never even touched a gun or wielded any weapon other than a kitchen knife, mercilessly hacking carrots.
Still, war is deeply familiar to me.
Ever since I hit puberty and tried to make sense of myself in society with no control over how my body changed, this war has been raging right here. Inside my shame-filled self, I have not been in peace for more than twenty years.
What should I wear? I can’t go looking like this! Shit, did I say something stupid?! What will they think of me? I’m such a idiot! I will never have the courage to do something really important. I’m just not pretty or talented enough. I should just give up while I can. If I don’t say anything, at least I won’t look like a moron. Giving up hurts… but failing would probably hurt even more. How about some chocolate?
Just writing this right now makes my heart ache. My inner dictator, fighting with poison and prison. All to keep me safe from the others. Safety – the holy grail at primal core of each war, inside or outside.
All my life I had wanted to be safe. To belong, even if I didn’t. To have the perfect ken-doll boyfriend who would always take care of me and never want for anything except to love me. The ideal job where I would always be fulfilled and balanced, bestowed with financial abundance.
I wanted the airbrushed body of a teenage model, the perfect figure, the perfect skin, no body hair except for luscious thick curls on my head and just the right amount of freckles. Because that would get me all of the above, right?
But my ass was too big, my hair too straight, skin too white and my nose was just plain weird. But not half as weird as the curdles in my brain. ‘You are ahead of your time,’ a colleague pointed out when I talked to her about changes in management practises. ‘Great ideas, but not for right now.’
I was too different. I didn’t feel safe. So I fought bitterly to be someone else than…this..
Until I couldn’t anymore.
‘Can you agree that the stakes you’ve set for yourself are meaningless?’
Trying to make myself invisible, I sank deep into the cushion at the corner of my transpersonal therapist’s office.
‘No,’ I said, looking for the exit. ‘My goals are all I have. I don’t know who I would be without trying to fix what’s wrong with me. As long as I try, I feel useful, as if I’m contributing to myself. If they are meaningless, I am too.’
Truth was always my last line of defence.
See, this is how I really am. Don’t ask me to change. Change is death, right?
‘How does it feel?’ She asked, curious. Small and sinking, it felt like death.
‘Like I’m losing everything I ever wanted.’ I finally admitted.
‘Great, stay with it. I got to pee.’
She left the room and left me with myself. Losing my own war.
She was right. The stakes were meaningless. I wasn’t truly longing for some perfect ideals for my life. I was longing to finally come home, to come to peace within myself. That’s what I had sat down for.
As I heard the faint noise of my therapist relieving herself, I felt peace settling in. I can give up. I can choose surrender. I can accept that nothing in this life can ever be truly, perfectly safe. I did not come here to be safe, I was born to–
To die, eventually.
Life is short and our prime years even shorter. There is just so much we can experience here.
Why did I ever imagine I should waste it fighting?
For what end?
Why does anyone choose to spend their precious living on fighting any of those wars?
Well of Peace will be our tiny spot for finding that space of calm inside and inspiring others to let go too.
We can all be open and vulnerable, mischievous, hopeful and safe at the same time. Even if we end up fighting in ourselves, we can let go of the fight of the fight itself. Surrendering our power to acceptance, forgiveness.
Peace in the world starts right here.
There are no others.