We always have alternatives in life, even if we think we are powerless. Every day is a series of ‘either…or‘ decisions which, much of the time, we are not even conscious of.
‘Or,‘ though tiny, is a huge word, and a vast concept when you think about it. It came be used to intimidate, to offer genuine solutions and cut through the undergrowth and, thus, find an entirely new path.
November the eleventh: A day engraved upon the spirits of all still living – and nestled, a blood-red poppy, amidst the bleached bones of the millions who have fallen, slaughtered, upon battlefields both long gone and far more recent.
November the eleventh: A day upon which tears of remembrance fall and hope springs eternal that an end can be found to the dreadful ongoing cycle of too-early reaping and scything of young men in armies everywhere, and civilians the world over.
November eleventh: A day in which monarchs and ministers, presidents and civic leaders place wreaths of poppies upon monuments to the war dead; in which the world remembers.
But, here is my question for this special day: Does this remembrance each year pay forward in a meaningful way to the year ahead? Do we hold, ‘Lest we forget…’ for this day only and forget to open the petals of poppy hope for a far deeper humility and remembrance?
Can we, this November the eleventh, create peace which is more than that terrified pause between wars in which so many live their lives? Can we truly envisage a world which works for all, rather than the privileged and powerful few? Can we embrace those we find it difficult to like and approve of – as fellow human beings, if not friends? Can we stop our habit of pushing off the lifeboat of sinking world ship everyone who looks, thinks, believes and speaks differently to us?
Do we, actually, know what peace is? I ask because so many people have, over this past week, and in the wake the USA election, allowed the armour of war, the rhetoric of conflict, the xenophobic loathing of division to get in the way.
Fear, as I wrote in a recent post, is a huge motivator – and stumbling block. I have had to examine my own fear response in detail over the past weeks. But much of my fear, and that experienced by the world at large, often rests upon the square of FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real.
And what do we do, what have humans always done, in the face of fear and FEAR: Gone into Fight or Flight mode, usually the former.
I am going to suggest that the Amygdala should not be dictating world politics, nor should it be the trigger for wars and other acts of violence. If we genuinely want peace, and a better world for all, I think we have to evolve from the purely instinctive, the knee-jerk reaction to threat (whether real or imagined).
Our creative minds, with their huge scope and limitless palette of gorgeous colours, can paint a world which works far more accurately. Our fears are not creative. They are cyclical and stale. They envisage worst case scenarios – and none of those come anywhere close to peace.
November the eleventh: On this day, nearly a hundred years ago, The War to End all Wars stopped. On this day, rather more recently, I gave birth to a precious child. Death and birth. An ending and a beginning.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if this remembrance day could be an acknowledgement of the bravery and human loss of the past – and the birth of the precious ‘baby’ of true peace?
Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all put aside our FEAR and rhetoric and war-mongering and unite with blooms of red flowers intertwined in our joined hands?
Lest we forget what has been.
Lest we underestimate the wonders we are capable of when we pull together as a race.