Friday, November 8, 2013

Closure Sails in on a Musical Flow

Recently, while I running errands, Orinoco Flowfrom Enya's Watermark album played on my playlist. I normally don't like to listen to Enya while driving because it relaxes me too much. Her music takes my imagination on journeys that aren't necessarily conducive to driving. As I listened this time though, my heart felt lighter. I couldn't force myself to change the song.

I felt a sudden appreciation for the first time I heard the song. I awakened in a room I didn't recognize with the song playing in the background. I realized it was the first full night of sleep I'd had in a long time. I was alone. While it was morning, it was too early to get up so I went back to sleep. My life was in a bad place at the time, and I struggled to make sense of everything around me. Somehow the simplicity of the song, the message of "sailing away" soothed my chaotic mind and heart.

I often equate the song with the beginning of a relationship, loosely speaking, that wasn't what one would call healthy. I've long considered the relationship in a very negative light for myriad reasons that overshadowed any good moments it brought to my life.

Interestingly, as I listened to Orinoco Flow recently, those good moments came back. It's not that I've forgotten the bad or want to reconnect with the person who introduced me to Orinoco Flow. Simply put, I finally found it in my heart to appreciate the person for being what I needed at a time when I didn't know what I needed. He listened to my story without judgment. He offered me a place to get something in short supply - sleep. He gave me space by not asking me to give what I didn't have to give. He showed me fun even if I stood on the sidelines rather than engaging. He never tried to change me. He came along at a time when I thought love and even friendship were all about pain and betrayal. He never tried to change my thoughts on the matter. He was just there and not there at the same time. And, oddly, thinking back, perhaps that truly is what I needed then.

Even the bad stuff may have been exactly what I needed at the time. He pushed me against my boundaries until I could no longer stand in the shadows and stood up to him. Perhaps intentionally or perhaps he was just a jerk. I've long thought he was just a jerk. He often bordered on being disrespectful but then he'd be very tender and caring. He played games with my emotions, but I was too numb to really notice. He vacillated between being overly attentive and incredibly dismissive. He didn't care that I didn't care.
Somehow this relationship, while incredibly unhealthy, also gave me a relatively safe place to be self-destructive until I discovered a reason to want to live again.

Sometimes we know longer know we're holding on to negativity until that moment when some benign moment, like a song, releases it.

As Orinoco Flow flowed from my speakers, I felt a peace about that time that I'd never felt before and
along with it I felt an appreciation for the role that person played in my life even though it still seems a bit strange to feel that appreciation.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem translated to English is Grant Us Peace. I love the idea. If only it were so easy... Peace isn't a gift another can bestow upon us; however, peace is a gift we can join in bestowing upon the world.

As I think about what peace means to me, I find my heart racing and my breath becoming ragged. Peace isn't as much as about avoiding war and violence as it is about finding connections to one another. Peace comes when we learn to celebrate our differences rather than use them as excuses to hate. Peace breathes when we learn to acknowledge what we have in common with the person we consider the "other" in this world. Peace happens when we reach out helping hands to not only those we love but to those we deem as enemies. Peace spreads when we learn there is no such thing as an "other" because we all inhabit this Earth together.

Peace requires we take action. We can look for ways to resolve our problems without needing to exert our power. We can accept that while different we are all equal. We can judge people based on their actions and not our misconceptions. Or better yet reserve our judgment by realizing we may not know the whole story. We have the power to give others a chance to be their best selves as we strive to be ours. That is the power of cultivating peace.

Cultivating peace may not be especially easy, but we make it harder than it needs to be. Peace culminates when we put love into the world when hate feels easier.

Peace lives in my heart because I love enough to invite it in.

What does peace mean to you?