Civil unrest and chaos reach a crescendo in the United States. Bullets fly in many American cities. A deadly virus continues to run rampant with no end in sight. Black bodies are shot, crushed, hanged from trees and disregarded as they have always been. Immigrants are subjugated and deemed not worthy of decency and basic human rights. Examples of white women weaponizing their whiteness and their privilege to further stoke the flames of racism serve to deepen the racial divide. 2020 has left us angry and exhausted. Remarkably, there are still 177 days, 16 hours and 50 minutes until the end of the year with many of us praying that 2021 isn’t this year’s even uglier twin brother.

And yet, in the eye of a storm unlike anything this world has ever experienced, if we sit quietly and listen carefully — not to the fear, anger and the lower vibrations of the world, but to what’s going on inside our hearts — we may find peace. Some will dismiss the idea of awakening the consciousness of this world through the lens of peace, but let’s not continue to fool ourselves. Hate and fear aren’t working. They never have and they never will. What’s missing from the chorus of voices rising against the tide of despair is peace. No, not to give up the fight against the racist ideology we’re up against and lull all of humanity to sleep. On the contrary, it’s time for action but from a place of love, not from a place of fear and hate.  

The idea that we can quiet the noise and drop in at any time to reclaim peace from within allows us to advance the movement with calm, focus and clarity, not an incessant swirl of anger and confusion.

Reclaiming peace by no means erases the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Elijah McClain and countless others. It doesn’t cancel the Black Lives Matter movement or minimize the power of the protests taking place across the country. And sadly, it doesn’t make the man in the White House sane or decent. It doesn’t bring back the more than half million people who have died from COVID-19 worldwide. It doesn’t eradicate the collective shock and depression society has been grappling with. But if we take a few moments to drop into a place of non-reactivity each day, we may begin to feel something many of us haven’t felt in a long time — peace from within.

Leslie M. Gordon

If we pay close attention, we’ll learn to feel and embody peace daily. Dropping in regularly allows us to get out of our heads and into our hearts. It supports us in quieting the stories we tell ourselves about the hopelessness of this world. It guides us in stepping away from the despair and anger reinforced non-stop by social media and headlines that fan the flames of violence and disregard for human lives.

Dropping in and listening to what’s going on inside my heart is something I’ve been doing for a long time. It helps me keep rage, anxiety and depression at bay. As upbeat and optimistic as I am at my core, I’ve experienced a great deal of suffering from the double bind of racism and the lack of moral leadership in this country. I’m someone who moves in silence, disrupting and hacking systems and processes that perpetuate racial injustice and micro (and macro) aggressions against people who deserve opportunities, equity and equal rights. Currently, I’m fighting the fight within the confines of a corporate structure. Honestly, I’m tired and I know I’m not sitting in the land of mental and emotional exhaustion alone. When do we give ourselves grace and the time we need to process how we feel rather than what we think about what’s going on in the world? Taking time to sit and bear witness to our feelings, whether these quiet moments are met with anger, tears, grief or all of the above, helps us move into a place of calm and acceptance, and arms us with the energy to get out there and fight another day.