I am approaching the ten year mark for becoming a peace activist. That is a big chunk of my life and probably worthy of some reflection.
Working with groups of women to create public messages that cannot be missed and are memorable has been a big part of my life over the last decade. I became involved in working for peace, which is distinct and stands apart from being anti-war.
Working for peace has allowed me to find my personal power and true convictions. My search for peace and how I can help create a more peaceful world for my daughters and granddaughters has opened areas of understanding about my personal and family history and indeed about culture and humanity that I could have missed had I walked a different path. I have found meaning behind phrases. The courage of conviction means much more to me after facing adversity and knowing that truth and goodness backed me up. It is not a zealous fervor, rather it is a calm peace.
Working for peace, for me, requires being peace. After years of involvement I can now see themes and threads within the cloth of the movement. The patterns repeat and can prompt questions about the very notion of progress. I’m not sure that things ever really get better. Overall things just change. We can have some influence over the aspects of our lives where that change occurs, however. We, as a culture, can change the areas where we direct our focus. The places we focus our attentions are the areas where we put our practice and the areas where our visualization of goals can change outcomes.
I like the birth of movements and strategies. Small numbers of newly energized people more easily focus on large unifying goals, and differences have not had time to become entrenched. Ten years down the road that is less likely. The differences between the Democrats and the Greens, for example, in the ranks of the women’s peace movement are more evident as tactics that clearly frame different belief sets become the focus of disagreements within the larger group. There is a reason beyond simple financial considerations as to why 501c3, also known as “nonprofits,” steer clear of allegiance to particular political groups.
I love working for peace and pressing progress towards the area of peace. I dislike internal, fracticious divides as to who is more left or right. I dislike absolutes. I dislike oversimplification. I dislike the internal absolutes that divide people who should be working together for advancing overarching principles. Whether these divides are political or religious, we sometimes have to look beyond the differences to commonalities. Where can we work together? This is the question we should be asking ourselves.
I have no room for division. We can only advance toward common goals. You can call these goals progressive or conservative, but neither is accurate, we can only move toward preservation of our best aspirations as we move forward in time. The words of a woman who lived 150 years ago echo in my thoughts as I write this. I will listen for her voice in the messages that I hear this week I will align myself with the women who echo her message in calls for present and future action. That is all I can ever do.