Outwardly, the world occurs in disarray: Darker times seemingly tilt the balance of lightness and darkness. We witness the mass shootings of innocents in our schools and Las Vegas resorts. The new Cold War emerges in Russia’s global duplicity in the oppression of the Ukraine, and their political posturing with the United States and the United Nations. The President negotiates with puerile narcissist Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who disregards the human rights of even his own people, vacillating in his nuclear war threats. The United States seems deeply divided in partisan politics where neither the twain shall meet, so far. Inspired leadership alone isn’t enough to create lasting peace. War on different global platforms constantly looms in the balance. How do we reconcile peace?
In jaded weariness, we defer our concern for the possibility of war to when and if it happens. Yeah, the band-aid resolution. That might substitute for peace in the ‘glass half full’ globalized multi-platform era. Yes, we’re all about the number of “likes”. What is the possibility of peace for the next generation, for our children?
In Galatians 6:7:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Ultimately, we determine our actions and their consequences. My generation is responsible for peace for the next generation. Gandhi said, “Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”
We won’t discover peace outside of ourselves. We need to discover peace within. That might be a place to start.
On occasion, I discover my peace within. I meditate. I go to therapy. I write. I practice Aikido. O-Sensei said, “True victory is victory over oneself.” Peace is the internal game of reconciling me. When I love and forgive me, I can overcome me. I get out of my own way.
As a child, no one tells you that you needed to learn to love yourself, not being conceited or a narcissist. Love me in the sense of being okay with who I am and okay with who I’m not. The idea of loving and forgiving me was unspoken for my generation. That’s changing.
Loving and forgiving yourself might be the most important lesson that anyone gets. That’s what we teach children: Learn to love thine own self. Accept that you are enough.
Self-acceptance is the source of peace within. Gandhi said that peace doesn’t exist outside of us. O-Sensei said that peace comes from overcoming yourself: “True victory is victory over oneself.” Amen.
I’ve learned love and forgiveness for me on the less traveled path. My childhood could have been better. Yet, the people who helped create me like Sensei and Mom allowed me to become greater than I would have alone. Cheryl said, that I can take the bad that happens and transform it into “gold”. Really, I say how it goes. I choose who I’m going to be.
I’ve discovered my measure of peace within. I accept me. I forgive me, too. I look for the beauty in my imperfection. I dare to fail bravely: To become the greater version of me. That is my freedom to be more me.
Sensei Bobby told me years ago that it’s my job to make sure that students get the Aikido quicker than I did. We want others to become greater than us without going through some of our suffering. Pass on to the Youngblood: Become greater than they know yourself to be.
If I could offer one thing to the Youngblood: Love thine own self. Love you. My spiritual “Twin” Dolph Lundgren said, “Learn to love yourself.”
After morning aerobics class at the YMCA I was talking with my friends in the lobby. A cute little girl wearing her colorful swimming cap with a towel draped around her shoulders had the brightest smile walking with her Mom to swimming class. She gave me the biggest smile. Peace radiates from and within children.
I stopped at a crosswalk on the way to Islands for some grilled fish tacos. A cute little girl came running across the street right next to me. Her Mom following behind said, “Push the yellow button (on the crosswalk light).” I was about to, then stopped. I said, “Go ahead.” She smiled, jumped up on her toes and pressed the button. I said, “There you go.” Her Mom said, “Thank you.” Beautiful. Peace.
Peace matters for those girls, for all children. Both girls inherently know that they are greater than and so is the world. Eventually, like us they’ll grow older: experience feeling “smaller” and the voice in their heads that will says, “I can’t.”
Forget perfection: There’s no such thing. Trust that you’re always enough. You are greater than you know. When you hear that voice that says, “I can’t” listen to those who love you like Mom and Dad. Above all: Love yourself! We don’t get old as long as we can love ourselves.
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