How to declare peace

Dear guided friend -

We are calling for peace among nations, today more than ever.

We are calling out for peace, and we are hearing our call echoed across the lands.

How do we “declare peace” instead of declaring war?

I was born on May 29, 1969. That’s the same weekend John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their bed-in for peace in Montreal.

When a reporter asked Lennon what he would tell then-president Richard Nixon to do about the Vietnam War, Lennon replied quickly, “Declare peace.” He made it sound easy.

John and Yoko created posters saying, “War is Over (if you want it).” They printed thousands of these posters and distributed them. They took out billboards in cities worldwide, and full-paged ads in newspapers.

This poster is available in 300 languages, if you'd like to print it out for free at warisover.com

To me, the important part of their campaign is the second line, "if you want it."

This you is a singular you - speaking directly to me.

Let's look at this sequence:

  1. Peace in our hearts
  2. peace in our homes
  3. peace in our streets
  4. peace in our neighborhoods
  5. peace in our cities
  6. peace in our countries
  7. peace in the world

Where’s the starting point?

Peace in our hearts.

When I feel angry, everything goes wrong. Does this happen to you, too? For example:

  • I catch my sleeve on the door handle.
  • I trip over the shoes my child left in the hallway. And then I shout.
  • My food tastes worse.
  • The book I’m reading is boring.
  • I re-play old arguments (from decades ago) in my head

When I notice this pattern of anger, I can stop it.

How?

I say, sometimes out loud: "I declare peace."

I sit very still. I breathe in and out. I give myself a hug.

Sometimes, this moment of self-compassion makes tears pop out of my eyes.

Underneath the anger, there is fear. Sadness.

I'm really at war with myself, aren't I? The other circumstances, the other people, are triggers for what's off-balance within myself.

I can’t control The Big World out there.

I can manage and soothe, if not exactly control, the little world, inside of myself.

A note on synchronicity:

As I sat down to write this story to you, I jumped onto a Focusmate call with a co-worker in the UK, someone I'd never met before.

When we stated our goals for the hour, she said hers was, “to design a workshop for refugees. We're creating new housing in an empty shopping center,” and I burst into happy, grateful, emotional tears. For the second time today!

There is indeed good in the world, my guided friend.

As Amanda Gorman said in her poem at the inauguration of Joe Biden:

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we're brave enough to see it

If only we're brave enough to be it

Today, I wish you Peace on Earth. And first of all I wish you peace in your heart. You are brave enough to declare peace. You are brave enough to be it.

Love,

Shan

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