“to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
-- Luke 1:79
She asked us to break into groups and answer several questions. Here are the questions and the various answers we came up with. Perhaps some of them will resonate with you.
Feel free to add your own ideas by posting a comment.
QUESTION #1: How can I create peace within myself?
- Start with reflection. Purposely choose a quiet time to reflect each day.
- Meditation is a time to receive – to quiet myself, listen, and receive.
- Forgiveness is an important part of creating peace. When I think about what upsets me – what other people do – I realize that forgiveness of self and others leads to inner peace.
- Seems like 80% of the time I feel great – at peace. But the other 20% of the time, I feel terrible. I guess everyone feels great some of the time, and not so great the other times. Maybe, realizing this is the human condition can make us feel more at peace with ourselves.
- We often feel less at peace when we focus outside ourselves upon the world. It seems as if things are getting more chaotic and violent, when in reality, we are just more aware of these things.
- Perhaps violence has always been present, repressed, and simmering beneath the surface. For the longest time, bigotry and hatred have existed, underling our way of life, but we have denied it. Only now that these things are is actually visible can we do anything about them. Perhaps it is a good thing that such feelings and behaviors are finally “getting out” so we can acknowledge and take action.
- Lock myself in the bathroom to escape chaos.
- Breathe in pace and breathe out anxiety.
- Go for a walk, be in nature.
- Practice gratitude. Thank what I and others have done that is good.
- Our culture encourages us to be discontented.
- Practice contemplative thinking while doing chores.
- Befriend yourself.
- Be thankful for my present circumstances.
- Be forgiving.
- Be a conscientious objector.
- Transform you own idealogy of a situation.
- Focus on the good and give others the benefit of the doubt.
- When I serve others, my attention on myself disappears.
- Work hard outdoors to forget unpleasant emotions and enter into.
- Ask for ongoing zeal.
- Create a deliberate plan – a disciplined time commitment to take action steps.
- Practice some of the observances of Rosh Hashana, such as Tashlich when you toss bread crumbs into water, symbolizing casting away your wrongdoings of the past year.
- Help churches to unite. Our faith seems so small. Why does it seem so hard to build peace between churches.
- We need to stop attacking other faith organizations that are trying to make a difference in homelessness.
- Communicate directly with the other party to seek resolution.
QUESTION #2: What can I commit to do to build peace?
- I can be more forgiving. I can be a model of a peacekeeper.
- We can tell others about peacekeepers, like the conscientious objectors of WWII.
- We can communicate our belief and act on them.
- We can be a witness for peace – saying out loud what others may be unwilling to say.
- Consider our circle of concern vs. our circle of influence. If our circle of concern is too great and includes things over which we have no real control, we will feel terrible. If we focus on what is within our circle of influence, we will feel better.
- Speak up to legislators about healthcare and background checks.
- Pray for people around us and for people that do bad things.
- Try to see the good in people even when you do not like what they do.
- Try to interact with people who believe differently than you and listen to them even when you do not agree with them.
QUESTION #3: How do we build peace within FCMF and the community?
- Plant a Peace Pole.
- Continue to be involved with FFH and Homeless Coalition – the economically disenfranchised. Perhaps we can move into the realm of those who are disenfranchised because of their gender orientation.
- Our group actions reflect those of the individuals within our community.
- We are a beacon of light. We need to keep doing what we are doing.
- We need to celebrate what we do individually and together.
- Remember that we don’t have to face things alone.
- Use our banners and signs, participate in MLK day.
- Plant a Peace Pole, host FFH families, work for justice.
- MCC works for peace and justice.
- Work more with the homeless and support the Homeless Coalition.
- Practice compassionate listening with people in the workplace and the community.
- Treat others as if they are loved and valued.
- Be a part of a broader organization (for example, DOOR, SALT, MCC) that is already building peace in the community and in the world. Don’t try to do everything alone. Partner with other faiths to make a bigger impact and build peace among religions.
- Recognize and celebrate similarities among other faiths.