On Positivity, Peace, and not Politics (Not Really, Anyway)


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photo credit: Zeljko Stjepanovic Maybe it’s another drill via photopin (license)

I tried to hop back in the news cycle over the weekend.

Not a full-fledged jump, but just a peek, just a bit of what’s going on in the world beyond the scope of my new glasses frames. I’m out of practice, the as you know. I’ve traded in my NPR loves and headlines everywhere for audiobooks and meditation.

Y’all’s world? It’s nuts.

I haven’t felt that lost since … well, any math class I’ve ever taken. Severe lack of comprehension. I didn’t recognize the hashtags and references, the shots and pans. I saw little room for light and peace.

That, I could recognize. Noise, wall to wall.

So much vitriol and angst and self-cherishing. Before you nod your head and point to your enemy – I’m talking about you both. Not that I’m the model of Zen. I have more tranquil moments than tortured, but it’s all still in the mix.

Elements of what’s possible

For every random act of kindness, there’s me, parking too close to a neighbor’s work truck in retaliation of him audaciously taking my parking spot.

I’m reminded of a post from 2015, in the A to Z Challenge. It’s on Christine London’s blog, entitled P is for Possibilities, and my response has percolated since. This post isn’t about politics, although politics gets rolled into the portions of our existence that this affects.

It’s about our existence, the interconnectedness that we often don’t see – or refuse to see. It comes with a simple set of parameters, in love and in compassion.

Love, as defined as the desire to want the best for someone else. Compassion, as defined as the desire to see the suffering of others diminish and end.

I love the sentiments of this. I love the idea that this is all just a process, that what feels like a toil is building blocks. In a world where so much is hinged on impossibility, love and compassion are all about what is possible.

In Christine’s post, I learned about the late Dr. Robert Schuller. I knew his face already, and you might too. Flipping through channels late at night might have seen his televangelism. Wisdom isn’t restricted to a dogma or ideal, it turns out.

I’m writing about the man behind the Hour of Power, on a Sunday, after an incredible experience at a prayer for peace meditation service at a Buddhist center. Maybe that’s testament to the oneness at play, the elements of what’s possible.

Toil and triumph

I struggled to write this post – not because the words came slowly, but that there were too many. I’ve written, re-written, and fallen asleep. I texted a friend in Utah in the small hours of the night because, for her, it wasn’t the small hours, just late.

She asked what I was writing and I tried to sum it up. When you have a cracked phone screen and need glasses, you’re necessarily efficient with your words.

Me: Possibility in the face of impossibility, if that’s not vague enough. Possibility thinking, it’s called. Happens so much in our universe. It’s doing what we’re prepared or even made to do, no matter how insignificant it might seem. That those experiences are building blocks.

Her: So little things we do every day without thinking much about it can set us up for a possibility in the future that may seem impossible at the moment?

Lauren and I also bantered about the intrinsic value of kettle popcorn vs. movie theater popcorn, but she was exactly right, I said.

Possibility doesn’t mean we pour out all that’s possible on the rug and lock them together like LEGOs. Possibility is in opportunity but it’s also in toil. It’s in triumphs and struggles, strongest when it’s built from the most molecular levels.

It’s possible one of my girls can play on the U.S. Women’s National Team, isn’t it? But what will it take? It will take that toil and triumph.

It will take the initial steps, the conscious decisions interlocked with those unconscious, those moments that happen out of circumstances, discoveries and conversations and the patience to listen, and not always default to speech or even to action.

Just beyond our sight

To love and to feel true compassion, even – especially – for those people and situations we perceive as the very obstacles that make our visions feel impossible. Wait. Possibility makes everything feel like it’s contributing to a greater good.

It’s a balance between that lean toward what we want – reform, rebirth, reclamation, redemption – and the ability to pivot to paths opened along the way. We don’t relinquish our convictions or desires because those propel us toward specific possibility.

Like a jelly donut or a Tinder date, you might not know what’s inside until you get there.

I wonder how much of this will make sense. These posts are always more challenging that stories of my girls, the recounting of antics and what they say and what they lead me to think and believe. That’s the essence of this space.

Mixed in that, though, is this place we all occupy in the universe, this polarity of uniqueness and sameness, of everything and nothing at all. We can’t force world peace upon the world.

We can’t expect to fight oppression with oppressive actions and language.

We can’t even wish peace upon others if we’re not at peace with ourselves. I’m keeping the audiobooks playing, and focusing on the cherished conversations I have with you and also the simplicity of the birds coming to the new feeders we hung last weekend.

I’m still thinking, though. Always with that mantra of “as you better yourself, you better the world.” That goes for all of us. Check your outrage. Pause your anger. See things closest to you and ask yourself, what’s the peace close to me?

And how can I be an instrument for taking it just beyond my own sight?

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25 Replies to “On Positivity, Peace, and not Politics (Not Really, Anyway)”

  1. Comparing today’s craziness to a math class–brilliant! I might also add the way I felt when I took Physics for Society as an elective in college and wondered if I’d pass:). I also keep reading my inspirational books, listening to podcasts–and know just enough about the news cycle to make me dangerous. Ugh.

    1. It’s the same dizzying effect, Kay! I’ve had that feeling only a few dozen hundred times since.

      Focus on the positive. What you can do where you are, within arms length, then as far as you can see. Like-minded people will join you. Not to fight, but to live and love.

      1. I couldn’t agree more! Every time I wonder if my tiny little actions make a difference, I think of all the other people out there doing their own tiny little actions. And what a tidal wave those actions can become for changing the world. Glad to know you are one of them!

      2. Thanks, Kay. The beauty is, our tiny actions put us places not only to do what our heart feels, but to learn what others’ do, too. I feel like I have pretty good answers. I don’t have the perfect answers. I need to learn from those who agree and those who disagree, if we can manage the discourse without nastiness.

  2. For a second I thought, “A picture of a laptop? That’s weird. Where’s the stormtrooper?” Then I saw the sticker and all was right with the world once more! Well, more or less, as your post emphasized, but probably no less than it ever was. All this dysfunction is nothing new. It crests and recedes, but it’s been there since Cain murdered Abel. At times like these, I put my trust in God, knowing that he has already conquered evil, and when I’m trusting like that, I don’t have to be afraid, and I am freer to love. If that doesn’t inspire possibility, I don’t know what does, for in Him, all things are possible!

    1. Glad you looked a little deeper, Lu. That was a subtle one. I’m going to take more of my own pics for these.

      Sometimes, I have to challenge those things that come naturally.

      I think when we try to do God’s job – not His work, but his JOB – that we bite off more than we can chew.

      1. Agreed! What a wonderful way to put it!!! I’m going to remember that one. It’s clever, and witty, and it cuts right to the point!

    1. Thanks, Cindy. It’s been brewing a while, and I wasn’t really thrilled with how it came out when I first finished – it felt like a cake that was too dense.

      Working for sure outshines wishing, doesn’t it?

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