Thoughts on International Day of Peace

Today is International Day of Peace. It is a day that the United Nations declared as a day of non-violence and cease-fire. A day dedicated to strengthening the ideals of peaceful coexistence. We know that one day of no fighting won't do anything towards true peace. I quote from the UN website "It requires the building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish. It involves creating a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race."

Many have dedicated their lives to working towards peace and coexistence. But somehow none of this work seems to have had a real impact. The same conflicts that have been going on for decades, have still not been solved and flare up every few years when the pot boils over.

In my twenties I wanted to be a force for peace. I studied the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and all that is connected with it, and graduated with a Masters Degree in Diplomacy. I volunteered in Peace organisations, and I was convinced I had something to offer. I felt that I embodied the peace that was possible between these two peoples. I felt that my family history, and its multi-cultural background was proof that race and religion didn't matter.

I still think that the last part is true. But what I know now is that it takes a lot more than outer appearances to make an impact. That is true for world politics and those within my family. I know now that my family has so much baggage and non-peace, if you will, that it cannot possibly be an example for peace. I have learned that with all the idealism of my younger self, there was deep seated pain. There are struggles that have only unearthed in the past years of my 30s.

I did become disillusioned with the world of politics, and believed that peace was a hopeless and unattainable goal. But I don't believe that anymore. I still believe it's possible. The difference in my approach is that I realised I need to learn to embody it first before I can even begin to spread it. Furthermore, I now think to know that the wars of this world, the hatred, suspicion and ultimately fear, is a human disease that will take many generations to heal. It's part of our story. It is an opportunity for us to step in to our human grace.

It all starts with the individual. It starts with a choice. Not a single one of us is without raging inner battles and strifes in our immediate surroundings. Are we brave enough to see our own demons? Can we face our own inner battles? Can we make peace with ourselves?

Training to become a yoga teacher is my way of helping people to find their own peace. A healthy mind, body and soul connection is key for this purpose. If I can't make peace in the Middle East, then I will attempt to do it one individual at a time.

Follow along, if you want to hop on the Peace Train (to quote Cat Stevens). I'll be starting to offer yoga movement, meditation and breathwork classes in the upcoming months (free to begin with as I complete my training).