The more years I spend on this beautiful blue-green planet, the more I understand that we are all born explorers. We are fascinated by our world, by each other, by ourselves. We long to make sense of the mysteries we see without and within; we long to add our own part to the dance of life. And we all have so much power, to see the world as we wish, to tell the stories we want to tell. To create the world we dream of creating.
But we live in a time of wind storms. Change swirls around us constantly; the more we learn, the less sure we are of our place in the world, the less sure we are of ourselves. We all long for more love, more peace, more beauty. Sometimes it feels very near to us–we feel ourselves loved and loving, whole and safe. At other times, we feel ourselves lost at sea, desperate for comfort, desperate for home. We see these storms in the world around us–war, famine, poverty, economic upheaval–and in our daily lives–anxiety, illness, isolation, depression.
When our lives are going well, it is easier to be aware of joy and happiness. The greater art lies in finding love and beauty even when storms are raging. As an art, it is a practice that must be studied, practiced, cultivated. We all have the ability to create peace, in ourselves and in the world. It begins when we learn to find peace, not only in times of rest, but on a windy day.
I have spent most of my life practicing peacefulness. Those who know me might say that I was born naturally calm and balanced; that by nature I am unruffled by the world around me. I feel otherwise–there have been many times when my equilibrium has been disturbed by something as minor as dry weather or as major as a lost job. But it is true that I have always been someone interested in cultivating peace. In other words, I have practiced, I have studied the ways found by others, and I have sought to learn more about myself and what keeps me grounded. When life sends storms, I seek my center. At times it seems that the stronger the storm, the easier it is to find my way back to myself, because at those moments there is no other choice. It can be the minor disturbances that prove the most challenging, and require the most practice.
When we are calm and in a place of peace, we are at our most effective. Our energy is not fragmented by fear and doubt; we are not so busy juggling a million thoughts, a million emotions, a million tasks that we miss what is right in front of us. We can face adversity with quiet strength, able to know what it is we should do and how we should do it. Our peace, our balance, is a gift not only to ourselves, but to our world.
Our world is crying out for emissaries of peace. But we cannot create without what we have not cultivated within. And to do that, we must continue to practice the ways of peace, to believe in the power of harmony and balance, to value calmness and patience. We must believe that we are capable of becoming the peace we want to see reflected in the world.
The ways of peace are many, but the simplest paths are often the surest. It is my hope that the practices I have learned to be the most reliable will be a guide for you on your own journey towards joy.
May you discover the beauty that lies in harmony.
May you find peace on a windy day.