Jennifer Bonadio

It can be easy to associate peace with the absence of something like conflict, noise, or chaos, or being at a passive place of remove from world events or everyday demands. The practice of peace, though, is an active choice, and can be intentionally woven into the flow of your days, a part of how your energy expresses itself, how you receive life. Expanding our consciousness of peace, and learning to choose it in our perspective, language and energy, has never been more important in our world. We are steeped in a polarization highly reinforced in media and our education. But there is another way…

What I have learned is that peace is a choice, a way of thinking and being. There are elements of peace that we can choose to weave into our perspective and our behavior and thinking. The first of them is willingness, being open to acceptance of this moment as it is, a willingness to learn and to set aside what you think you know, is the beginning. As soon as there is an opening, there is the possibility of shifting from positionality to the second element of peace – curiosity. Curiosity invites us to stretch beyond ourselves to what is possible, to perhaps see and learn something new, to another perspective. Curiosity brings us into this moment, gathering our attention from the projected and expected to a more direct experience of now. Curiosity is interested in truth rather than just opinion.

Curiosity brings us the the the next element of peace, patience. Patience is often considered as a process of ‘waiting’ for something, but it also is part of openness, it is an allowing, a listening for something to be revealed. Patience asks us to invest in the process, to pause our tendency to blame or the push for a solution that simply mimics the past or does not address deeper needs. Patience in turn builds the next element of peace – compassion. Compassion is a willingness to feel, to hold space for ourself as well as another. Holding space refers to presence without judgement, respecting vulnerability and the tenderness of truth without rushing to a fix or solution. Learning to hold space for yourself is foundational for peace, for we cannot respect another’s human vulnerability if we dismiss and gaslight our own. Learning to love ourselves without condition is the foundational for peace.

Compassion leads us to the next element, detachment. Detachment can often be misunderstood as indifference, but here I mean releasing thoughts of the future and past and dropping an attachment to a dearly held outcome or a particular timing. Detachment allows all the other elements to unfold, holds all of the pieces in an open hand. Detachment is committed  to living fully in the moment and taking full responsibility for your own energy, without blame or excuse, noticing how our thoughts and choices take us closer or further away from peace. What we say and think and do does matter, what we choose to take in or share makes a difference.

The practice of peace begins with a deep breath, right now, in this moment, this body. This practice invites us to stretch our precious hearts wide enough to hold all of our humanness, the full spectrum of sorrow and joy, without turning away from the beauty and fragility of life. The practice of peace invites us to our natural habitat of Love. Let’s all choose and cultivate peace in our own hearts, welcoming in an ever-expanding consciousness of peace, that we may cultivate peace in our world together. Thank you !