Last week, I attended a beautiful meditation for world peace on November 11th, 2015. Two days later the Western world was rocked when the terrorists attacked Paris (I only heard about the earlier Beirut attacks after that).
It was so difficult to wrap my mind around. Violence in the Middle East always seems so far removed, but Paris…. I grew up learning all about France, in school, in countless movies and books, through the food I eat and the wine I drink. I have spent time there, and since I speak French, I feel a kinship with the place, in a way I don’t always feel with the far flung reaches of the globe where I’ve never been.
The news of the attacks hit me, and a whole lot of people I know hard. I cried, and wondered how it could happen, why and how could we stop it from happening again? What can we do? I became more educated about what has been happening in other areas of the world, the things our media doesn’t always report and my heart grew heavier still. Then people began reacting in fear, with many condemning the people who need our compassion the most and my heart felt like it might break.
I refuse to let this harden my heart, or to change what I believe. I know that peace is possible, but we will never defeat darkness and hate with more of the same. Only light can drive out the darkness and only love can conquer fear and hate. This world needs more love, not less. More compassion, not less. More understanding of each others humanity, not alienation and xenephobia.
These terrorists use, well, terror because their hearts are hurting so badly that lashing out in anger is the only thing that might bring them some relief from the pain of their lives. How many of us can even comprehend suffering of that magnitude. Their pain is immense and must seem practically insurmountable.
I, and so many of the people around me are lucky enough to have lives filled with joy and love. Our basic needs are beyond met and we have the room in our lives for fun, and creative self expression. Heck, I get to dance for a living, and dancing is my living praying. It’s how I connect with all that is. It fills me up with so much love and joy that it just burst out of me.
I am lucky enough to be able to facilitate this joyful movement for others as well. In my Hoop Flow class last night, our theme was Dancing Your Essence. We were moving with the intention of expressing our unique light. We moved through several exercises, including Sway and some blindfolded hoopdance, and went into a 25 minute dance journey with a wide variety of music, allowing our bodies to move and interpret the tracks in whatever way authentically arose. We moved through melancholy, desperate, sad music into the hopeful, happy and joyful. You could feel the energy in the room shift, and the happier the music, the higher the vibration. People were grinning from ear to ear, myself included as I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for this kind of healing tool .
After a short rest, we concluded our dance journey with a song dedicated to world peace. With our intention, we filled up our hearts with so much love that it just couldn’t be contained, and then sent it out into the world around us. This was the track we danced to: https://soundcloud.com/revolvr/youve-got-the-love-remix
We can begin to change the world by starting with our own hearts. First emptying them out, through our movement, sweat and tears. Then filling them up with so much love and light that it just spills out of you. Then from that place of fullness, you can go out into the world to do your work. Obviously it isn’t enough to just pray and dance. There is work to do on the ground. This is how I start though. This is how I do my healing work for my own heart, filling it with love, music, movement, joy, compassion, community and gratitude. This is also part of my work out in the world. Helping others fill up their hearts, filling up their cup so it’s overflowing with love, so they too can go out into the wider world and meet all those they meet with love as well, treating each person with dignity, respect and compassion.
It starts right here, and begins with you. Paraphrasing the wise words of Gabrielle Roth, healing happens when you lovingly move through your pain, sweat your prayers and let go of the past. Once we have done this, our hearts are open, full of love and we can work together to create peace on earth.