Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 2 - A season for nonviolence

2 -- Today, I will look at opportunities to be a peacemaker.

Okay, on first blush, this one doesn't look so hard. I just have to look at the opportunities, right? Not actually do anything? Maybe I'll work up to action by day 34 or so...

In truth, this one is difficult for me. I don't think I'm unusual that, as a female, I feel at times like it's my sworn duty to make peace between people around me; often, this is unhelpful for everyone. It's not a long path from trying to be a peacemaker to trying to please everyone, and I have come to realize that I've made a lot of relationships more difficult than necessary by doing just that. Being a peacemaker may be more of a tightrope act than I've realized in the past. Too much action or effort often decreases the peace, yo. (It had to be said.)

As a grad student, I don't get to interact with a lot of other people on a daily basis -- I'm holed up in a cave, just me and my laptop and my well-worn copy of Unix for Dummies. It's not hard to make peace with or between people who aren't there. I'll probably get my opportunities to practice this after I go home, since my mother-in-law is currently visiting us. I'm going to do my best to listen to her, and be with her, with a clear mind. I'm going to try not to listen for negativity or criticism, and try to hear what she really means, as opposed to fixating on the words she says. She and I have different native languages and different ingrained cultural assumptions, so I'm going to work on giving her that space to be who she is and not judging her according to my own history and assumptions. I'm going to try.

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