Letter: Right here, right now

Right here, right now

Editor of the Reformer:

The political and social atmosphere is highly charged right now. That's something most of us can still agree on, regardless of whether we plan to vote for Bernie, Trump, someone else, or not at all.

Some compare recent public speech and actions to the 1930s. Others compare it with the 1960s. Everyone can feel it: the air as thick as on a summer day just before a thunderstorm. Where will the lightning strike? While many of us hope and pray it won't hurt us, we also know the rain is badly needed. When the storm of war strikes, no one remains unhurt. What, besides hoping and praying, can we do right here, right now, to contribute to a better outcome?

We can vaccinate ourselves against the virulent infectious agents that trigger the disease we call war. We can learn how to keep our immunity up, and teach others to do the same. Every war begins in the human mind, in the human heart, in the ancestral depths of the human body. Every war begins with someone concluding that someone else has done something so terribly wrong, so immediately threatening, that they merit violence. Every war begins with someone concluding that they are the victim, or potential victim, of someone else's carelessness or cruelty. Every war begins with someone choosing to turn their pain into a weapon with which to wound in return.

These behaviors are common to all of us. They occur routinely in every day life, when we imagine ourselves to be at peace. They occur in families of all kinds. They occur in schools. They occur in every workplace and in every other human gathering. Therefore, we've learned that they are normal. They've become so habitual we rarely notice them, let alone inhibit them, or look for a more pleasurable alternative.

In other words, war is going on now. Right here at home. Right now. It's not a matter of preventing the storm, preventing the lightning strike. It's a matter of stopping a storm already raging. A storm that's been raging for generations. Since every one of us has been or still is a combatant in this war, every one of us is empowered to stop it. Right here at home. Right now.

Every one of us has these habits for good reasons. Ancient reasons, reasons programmed into us by the force of biology. These are habits that helped us survive to this day. Nonetheless, these habits now threaten our ability to survive here. Worse, these habits impair our ability to thrive here and now, in the only moment we ever truly have. These habits inhibit the flow of love and joy for all our relations. Right here, and everywhere.

Who among us is good at helping us recognize and change such habits? We must ask this question, for none of us can change these habits alone. And if we truly love peace, we must change these habits. Radically.

None of us can do this alone. May all of us find the help we need nearby, as well as within. And may we remember to thank all who offer it.

Iyanifa Lisa G. Nash, Putney, June 8


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