Peace Prize

>     Everything runs in cycles. There are our biological body cycles, called circadian rhythms, the cycle of global weather patterns, even the cycle of life and death. There is also the cycle of violence. It seems that one has come around again. Gaza is on fire.  
   Like all cycles, the cycle of violence comes and goes…meaning it periodically escalates then de-escalates. And like fire, we can fan it or starve it of the vital elements it needs to maintain it’s destructive force.  The media loves to fan fires. So they are at it again.
   I am not saying that what’s happening in Gaza isn’t important. I’m a Jew and as such, care deeply about Israel and the safety of its inhabitants. I am also a human, and care deeply about the fate of us all. 
   What I know for sure is that feeding hate and giving it attention is no different than fanning the flame. It gives the destructive force power. It feeds the beast.
   History teaches many lessons so we get to pick the one’s we want to learn from.  While I hear many commentators likening Iran and Ahmadinejad and Hamas to Hitler and his intended move across Europe in a quest for extinction of some and domination over others, I prefer to look back and see that in at least 5000 years, aggression and violence haven’t solved anything. While they may produce a temporary cessation of conflict in one part of the world, because we’re all one, sooner or later the lessons taught by using force in one place surface elsewhere to be applied by someone else. And so on and so on. For 5000 years.
   Because we can pick and choose our lessons from history, and have the freedom of choice to participate in co-creating our own, I think we’d be best served to try a different approach.  
   I have an example of one I’d like to suggest.  
   My husband and I are very different. Not just in personality, but in our social and religious backgrounds. We also love one another. Periodically, those differences cause us to have a few recurring arguments over the same topics. We each have a tendency to dig in and become more rooted in our position until it escalates through anger all the way to cold silence. We eventually get past it and move on, although they’re not so much resolutions as capitulations to emotional exhaustion.
   This week one such difference raised it ugly head again.  Our “cycle” began, and as I watched it…it occurred to me that a new approach was necessary as history finally taught me that “digging in” or imposing my view was not a long-term solution.  So instead of focusing on our differences, I decided to see what was the strongest point we had in common. It took me about 15 seconds to find the answer. Harmony. I knew we both wanted harmony in our lives. 
   When my husband came home from work yesterday, I said I wanted to talk. I am certain he was readying himself in a defensive posture. I simply said, with conviction, “I am your best friend and you are mine. More than anything, I want harmony.”
   That was it. Pure and simple. No aggression. No argument. No defense. Nobody going on and on solidifying their stance. He just put out his arms to embrace me. 
   Our differences didn’t disappear. In fact, it’s the diversity of us that makes us unique. But what did occur was that we found common ground…higher ground…from which the view was more beautiful and the air was cleaner.
   It may not be that simple in Gaza or Iran. Or it may be. 
   It has to start with individuals, one on one. They have to understand that we are all one. And they have to set their intention’s and their vision on the highest good they share and communicate that to one another. It will likely be the same in any language. 
   Shalom or Salaam. 
   The answer is peace.

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