Peace Begins with Me

The news over the past few weeks has given us much to digest with the removal of the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina capitol building, discriminating comments targeting Serena Williams much deserved Wimbledon victory, the Iran nuclear arms deal, more evidence revealed on Bill Cosby’s rape accusations, Baltimore’s spike in crime and on and on and on.

I find myself and my staff looking at different outreach efforts in Baltimore City to help youth and businesses most impacted by the Baltimore riots. Yesterday, I was at an SBA mentoring meeting and when I came out of the building, I stood across the street staring up at the building for a few minutes. I was thinking, are our efforts to help futile when politicians are more concerned with election or reelection than really listening to the people’s needs and getting their hands dirty to fix the problems in the city I call home?

I want peace, like we all do. Often times, the constant flow of information is overwhelming to the point where it’s easy to say “why bother or who cares”. It’s an easy short term choice yet I know in my heart that every little bit helps. There was a time when I did not fully understand the grassroots efforts or that category as activists. As I have matured, I’m proud to call myself an activist because I’m passionate about seeing that fairness goes across the board for every human being. Now I speak out more than ever and support efforts that are passionate to my soul.

This week I was in a meeting where there was discussion about the chaos surrounding all of us. In that moment something came over me. The idea that peace that I want to see really does start in my own heart and soul. When I feel most challenged for whatever reason I need to stay very present by actively blocking out negative influential noise or commentary. It’s important to distance myself from people who are committed to complaining without any intention in identifying solutions. Armchair quarterbacks are the subject-matter experts of negativity.

So for today I am disconnecting from the chaos around me while I am working at staying in a compassionate place. Where I might feel like snarling at a nosey neighbor or a crazy client, I’m working on making my choice based on fact, not my feelings, and letting go of someone else’s chaotic behavior. It’s hard at times, yet it’s these times that have me practice peace because when it starts with me, it trickles into the universe as a happy face.