Written by Genesis Baraza

Exploring how peace shows up in our daily lives

-Peaceful World Foundation

“My nature is peace, I am peace” Sister Elizabeth’s voice rings true and in perfect synchronicity with Sister Kyoko’s live harp music as we come together to explore how peace shows up in our daily lives. In celebration of World Peace Day on September 21, seventeen of us had hopped on a Zoom call the following Saturday to reflect and dive deeper into our experiences with peace. 

To lead the conversation, Heidi and Marcus were joined by Sister Elizabeth from the Anubhuti Meditation and Retreat Center in Novato, CA. Before breaking out into smaller Zoom rooms, we meditated on:

What’s an experience or story where you experienced deep peace? Where were you? What strengths or qualities came up to you in that peaceful moment ?

How are you using those qualities in the present ? What is your vision of peace in the future? How would you use these qualities and strengths?

Yes, our Peaceful World Conversations are usually in person. As you can tell, that was not the case this time or the last. Instead on this day, we meet across three different time zones in search of some sense of continuity. It makes perfect sense that our current reality of the global pandemic and ghastly political climate shaped many of our reflections on the topic of peace. 

In my four person group, I found myself in conversation with Sister Kyoko and other new faces. Sister Kyoko has been experiencing deep peace as she renovated her home and practices her harp everyday. As a healer, she’s been using this peace to create new music and recharge her spirit.

Another participant, shared about how he likes to stroll near water and sea cliffs to experience peace and meditate on how to share his peace with family during these times. Despite my knowledge of the topic ahead of time, I still found myself stumped by these questions –

What’s an experience or story where you experienced deep peace? Where were you? What strengths or qualities came up to you in that peaceful moment ?

I suddenly realized that I had never truly identified peace as a feeling within myself because I had been categorizing my feelings in a false binary of good and bad. I am still working on unpacking that for myself. 

What I was able to process was a memory from my honeymoon that had been top of mind since the day I experienced it. It was a memory of my partner looking into my eyes and saying “I love you.” Super corny – I know! Even cornier is the fact that I travel to that memory almost everyday in search of comfort, in search of what I was suddenly able to label “peace” – just in time for me to answer the prompt during my turn. 

When we were all back in the same Zoom room again, I was surprised to hear how frequently and easily my peers experienced peace. Elia from Creative Canopy shared the adorable owl plushies she sews, others reminding us to find peace after a good joke, calling us to recognize nature’s peace already flowing through our veins, it became clear to me that peace is not a rare commodity. 

Looking into our group’s vision of peace for the future, many people expressed that they would like to continue using this time of social isolation to connect with nature and cultivate peace internally as fuel for connecting with their families, friends, and other humans- especially given the current unstable political climate. 

“Everybody on the planet wants to be respected, loved and feel safe- the root of conflict is fear. When we don’t feel safe and at peace we act very differently” 

-Participant

  “the hard part is the creation of peace where there is no peace, you have to find something in common for a continued relationship. The point is not to make your opinion, it is to influence them and heal the harm.”

-Participant

After two beautiful poems from Marcus on peace and Elia on hope, we wrapped up our Saturday afternoon chat with virtual air hugs and a funny sense of relief in the fact that there was no event cleanup this time. 

Since our conversation, I’ve been curious to tap into this ever present peace my peers referred to. Is peace really within my reach at any moment? In my rush to escape the abuse I faced as a child, did I forget to stop running and experience peace and freedom?

The other day, I was sitting in our studio apartment with my partner and our cats. Nothing particularly stood out about that day, it was just another day at home, my water bottle was full, plants blooming, sun coming in through the windows and the cat litter had been freshly cleaned. And there it was, peace – and here it is again.