Sometimes when people ask me why I host podcasts for conversations that amplify peace, I ask myself this question: “What is one possibility among an infinite number of possibilities that I would love to experience more than anything else in my lifetime?” My answer is always peace. Peace for myself. Peace for those I love. Peace for all.
I’ve given consideration to many ways that I could experience peace. I could be kinder to myself and take a bath. I love the sound of the tub filling with water. I am amazed that the water stays hot for as long as I am willing to sit there. I especially enjoy putting my ears under the water, nose just above the surface to breathe and listening to the muted-ness of life when your ears are plugged by the water. I once spent time in a sensory deprivation tank and I think that putting my head under the water in the tub is reminiscent of that experience. There is a place in me that is perfectly still in the bathtub. No thoughts, just simple weightless enjoyment of the body and the warmth of the water on my skin. This is peace for me.
Another way I experience peace is when I care for people in my life. I love cooking a special meal for a family member or friend. We all are so busy working, talking on phones, dashing from appointment to appointment, driving here or there, figuring out plans for this weekend, executing on those plans and fitting in as much as we can in 24 hours in a day. Sometimes in all of this doing, getting, and going we forget to eat, we stop at fast food restaurants for a quick fix, we grab something from the vending machine and sometimes it goes to the extreme sense of food urgency known as “hangry”—the delicate place between hunger and being angry, if we don’t get food soon.
There was a time in my life when I had an alter ego named the “Hungry Brown Bear.” In medical terminology I might have been known as hypoglycemic. If I allowed too much time to pass between meals because I became distracted or too busy to stop and eat, I would develop a feeling in my body where I knew I had to get food asap. If I didn’t find food (any food!) fast, I became irritable, people around me would feel my intensity rise and my patience would fall. It was a time of distress for me and everyone around me, too. Often this would lead to a migraine that would last for days.
One day after 26 years of this pattern, I finally got in touch with how unpleasant of an experience this was for me and those around me. I desired with a white-hot intensity to move this “hangry” feeling in to my past. After a year of trial and error, I finally got it figured out that I was allergic to the foods that I was eating on a daily basis. That specific allergy manifested in toxic digestion in my body which caused my brain to send signals that I needed to eat frequently to digest more and then those signals ramped up my anxiety and subsequent anger. I no longer eat the foods that are toxic for my body and I no longer experience “hanger,” migraines, or drops in blood sugar.
This leads me to where I started talking about cooking for my family and friends. I love to see the joy on their faces when a meal has been prepared in their honor. Someone has taken the time to think of the menu, to go to the store and shop, to lug the groceries from the car to the refrigerator, to take out the pots and pans, to prepare the ingredients. Someone other than them. They have just experienced all of life’s hustle and bustle that day and someone else has prepared a meal for them to sit down to and take part in. I love the feeling that I get when I see my guest look at the dining room table and see that there is a place set just for them. I love placing something fun in the middle of the table for my guest to look at, like a twelve-inch tall rainbow colored spiral glass statue, or a three-inch tall snowman on ice-skates. I love witnessing my guest smelling the aromas of the food, seeing the anticipation in their eyes of a meal, pre-digesting through their physical senses the food about to be eaten that is quite often unlike anything they serve themselves or even will find out-n-about in a hangry moment.
When we sit down together, they enjoy being in the moment of receiving their plate and the delight of diving into the food. I enjoy giving the gift of the preparation and the little moments that all connected to arrive at this single moment for them. In the end, it has nothing to do with the food and everything to do with the opportunity to be surrounded in the feeling of being loved. For my guest there is peace in this moment. For me there is peace in this moment.
As for the world, when I think of all of the possibilities that are available in an infinite number of possibilities, I imagine that we truly are ONE. I can experience myself as the young mother in Kenya I met once, who had a three-month-old child nursing from her exposed breast, beautiful red, blue, yellow, green and white beaded earrings dangling from her ears and a matching necklace five inches thick resting on her décolletage above the baby’s head. Twenty-three years ago when we were there, the village had just learned that if they cut holes in the roofs of their dung/mud huts, the smoke from the constantly burning fire inside would rise through the hole and eliminate the possibility of smoke inhalation and sudden death that the young ones had been experiencing in the village for countless previous generations. I could see the relief in her eyes for her child. Even now I can imagine that baby as a twenty-something moving about the world and returning to the village with even more living-giving solutions.
I often consider that the conversations we are having on peace are one way of bringing us closer together in this geographically diverse world. The idea of continents divided or floating among the oceans with vast miles between us is a concept of separation that is easy to indulge with our senses. Yes, it still takes more than a day’s airplane ride to get to Africa from where I live. No, that does not mean that we are separate. I can think of the young mother and her child at any moment. I can feel the love and optimism she had for the life of her child. I can even imagine that young child grown and doing greater things now. That is what I mean when I say that we are ONE. I can think of them, I can send them love from where I am.
Hosting conversations with an emphasis on peace allows me to have a greater awareness of all of the life that is going on everywhere on this planet and how much we are all doing to make a difference in the lives of others. I love hearing about the contribution that each person is making within themselves and in the world.
For me, conversation is one of the greatest opportunities we have for conveying to others the possibility for all of us that peace is present now.
If this is one possibility that is available in an infinite number of possibilities, then I choose peace for myself, peace for those I love, and peace for all.