TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I noticed peace. I had the most immersive experience with peace this weekend: We went to visit swans.
Ostensibly, this was closure for me. Around thirty years ago, a swan bit my foot while I was sitting peacefully on the edge of a lake. Since then, I have lived near swans a few times but never visited them.
We had to trek a bit to get to where the 100-ish swans live, along a path, through snow. Along the way, I picked up a swan feather and noticed the tip was still red with blood. More feathers were strewn nearby.
The swans congregate from November to March here in this marsh but they are not alone. We watched as two bald eagles joined them, swooping down to feed on fish while the swans, herbivores, unearthed their edibles and dunked under the water to eat.
Yes – Peace. We were mesmerized by the swans, eagles, and ducks — there was a harmony, a beautiful together and apart, tension-less but not boring. Was there a cougar in the woods nearby? I would not be surprised.
One moment, the two bald eagles flew in tandem toward us. Later, two swans took off together from the water, each down-stroke of their wings hitting the water left a bit of an echo. The trumpeting of the swans, mixed with the eagle cries felt musical.
Nature seems to appreciate peace, relish in its fleeting quality.
Nature appreciates peace. We, however, can make peace where none existed before. We have the capacity for reflection, awareness, understanding.
Try this, if you would like. It’s something from my daily practice that has been insightful over the years.
“What do you need to ask for forgiveness for? What do you need to forgive yourself for?” Write (or dance, paint, draw, sing, stitch) that out and then turn it around and say (or dance, paint, draw, sing, stitch) “And I forgive others when they do this to me”
I’m pretty certain that a lot of human peace begins with forgiveness.
Peace begins when we become unstuck, able to move with flexibility. Occasionally, an earthquake or tsunami happens. Something we can’t foresee or control.
Much of the time, though, peace breaks because we turn toward rigid, inflexible, stuckness and can’t get out until we’re broken out with force.
Understanding, reflection, awareness lead to actions like forgiveness, melting, giving, kindness, gentleness.
Is there an area in your body, family, community where things feel stuck, rigid, unbending?
Try stretching this week. Both physically and mentally…
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
Perhaps, if something comes up for you, try forgiveness. This article in Psychology Today helps suss out what forgiveness is and isn’t.
Here, from wikipedia, is a quick definition:
”Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance.”
It’s not easy, for sure. But forgiveness is a sure way to relieving stuckness and rigidity — and coming a bit closer to peace.
9. Hero: Braver Angels — Founders
Why? “Braver Angels seeks to depolarize American politics. Our work is rooted in grassroots organizing. From the grassroots however, our volunteer leaders (supported by a small staff) leverage Braver Angels programs and unique organizing structure to impact community life and American institutions.”
“Our approach is guided by the Braver Angels Pledge:
In politics, we support principles that bring us together rather than divide us.”
I feel like Braver Angles could be extended past American politics into other areas where we are polarized as humans.
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
Wild and Precious Podcast, the audio partner to 10 Things, is available everywhere you download podcasts.