Finding Peace

With one day before the deadline for this article, I can’t think of anything to write about. So, I ask one of Peace House Community’s members what topic I should tackle. “How do you find peace?” he responds. Philosophers, sages, mystics, and self-help gurus have been pondering that question for centuries, and I’m supposed to cover it in 500 words?!

It’s a good question though. Peace, tranquility, stillness … whatever word you want to use, it is an elusive but vitally important quality. We all need to experience it at some point to stay healthy. Many of us need a lot of it, while others seek it out only when they have a migraine, but either way, it is indispensable.

I think humanity has spent so much time thinking about peace, in part, because finding peace is such an individual endeavor. Each person has to discover their own ways of settling themselves. More than that though, each person has to develop new ways as their situations change. Sometimes finding peace involves sitting quietly and meditating, but sometimes, ironically, finding peace involves raising your fist and yelling (as Alice Cooper sang) or gloriously losing one’s temper under the right circumstances (as
June Callwood wrote). Keeping things in, denying one’s feelings, saying the turmoil isn’t there, doesn’t lead to peace. But expressing those feelings in destructive ways doesn’t do it either. Each individual, in each different situation, must find their own way to peace, hold onto their peace as long as they can, and then find their way back to peace when it disappears.

Obviously, finding peace is easier in some situation than others. It’s almost impossible when another person deliberately provokes you, wanting you to share their misery and turmoil. When one faces a significant life loss, peace may take a vacation and not leave a forwarding address. But even though peace and good times are transitory, we have the hope that turmoil, suffering, pain, and loneliness also pass. At some point each one of us will have the chance of finding peace again, even if only for a few minutes.

by Marti Maltby, Director Peace House Community – A Place to Belong

This article originally appeared in “The Alley,” the newspaper for the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.