“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”
― Etty Hillesum
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were all able to work towards inner peace to such a degree that it resulted in global peace? It seems too far-fetched to imagine, yet still we must continue to strive to find that place within ourselves, as Etty Hillesum did in the midst of the holocaust. Etty was determined not to let hatred take over her soul, and to learn to see the beauty that remained.
I am learning to let go of hatred and to instead focus on love. I am learning that love is free, and hate always comes at a price. It takes precious energy to hate, investing in memories from the past in order to keep it going. In order to maintain the darkness of hatred, we must deny the cracks of light that penetrate that darkness. The small acts of love that surround us, even in the midst of this hatred, can sustain us if we allow ourselves to see and experience the true essence of our being. Indeed, I want to be the person who choses to take the path of love in each moment.
As Etty learned after being taken to a concentration camp, love requires a certain amount of discipline and practice when surrounded by hatred and savagery. We can always find a justifiable reason to hate, but don’t forget, we can just as easily look for a reason to love.
“I know and share the many sorrows a human being can experience, but I do not cling to them; they pass through me, like life itself, as a broad eternal stream…and life continues…”
― Etty Hillesum
In October, I took a rowing class. It was harder than I thought it would be, but also quite fun and a great way to get exercise while being out side in nature. I am looking forward to getting back out on the water in the spring, and will continue with some indoor rowing this winter. Here is a short clip of one of those rare moments when we were all able to be somewhat in synch with each other.
“It’s ok if things unfold differently than the plan. I learned that the business is just part of me, but it’s not who I am. It’s just what I do. ” – Emily Maynard
I came across this quote from an article in Forbes, How This Founder Reinvented Herself and Her Business to Find Happiness. How easy it is to look outside of ourselves for happiness, and how futile that search can become.
I’ve been doing some soul-searching lately after making a career change that hasn’t exactly been a good fit for me. I’m slowly working through this dilemma and recently met with a career coach who is helping me figure things out. In the meantime, I am learning more about myself and my need to seek outward affirmation of my worth. My work has always been a big part of my drive for success. Ultimately this type of approach leads to a feeling of emptiness and not being true to oneself. The older I get the more I realize I only have so many days left on this earth, so I need to expend my energy on finding a peaceful balance between my inner and outer worlds.
I’ve never forgotten this line from the movie, Out of Africa. It says it perfectly:
“I don’t want to live someone else’s idea of how to live. Don’t ask me to do that. I don’t want to find out one day that I am at the end of someone else’s life.”
I saw this on Mallory Mead – Swim Seven Seas and thought it applied to all of life’s situations.