Pods of peace are not green, and we cannot eat them, but they are good for us.
Some days — many days, lately — it seems we are surrounded by anger, expressions of hate if not hate itself, intractable wars, wanton killing, threats and acts of violence. One solution may be to stop watching the news and cocoon in the safety of our locked homes.
I do not recommend it because at some point the consequences of doing nothing will reach our door and we will be helpless.
Nor do I recommend running into the fray arguing, lecturing the “others” on the error of their ways. Besides exposing our ignorance, we then become what we most want to change.
As we know well, Mahatma Gandhi advised the opposite — to become what we want the world to be.
I have a friend who advises that we make change by role-modeling behavior that demonstrates solutions can be reached through constructive ways.
I agree with these esteemed teachers, but how well does one individual do with an intentional yet subtle approach amid groups of people who cheer the degradation of innocent persons or groups?
One way is to form a pod for peace and plan on expansion.
One pod of peace
We all need a sanctuary, a place to go to get out of the stresses of daily life, to take a deep breath. It may not be a quiet place, but it is a peaceful place.
Husband Paul and I have been living in our sanctuary or cocoon 24/7 out of necessity due to his hospice and my caregiving status, but we have not turned off the news. We continue our engagement, however disturbing the news may be.
We do, however, insist on peace in our home. We still can irritate each other especially when we are both tired but after decades together, we move quickly through it. We are helped by a common set of values and orientation to life.
And we try to surround ourselves with people who care about our well-being.
We can control this pod of peace, unless we count the cats who despite my kind lectures about keeping the peace continue to taunt each other.
But where do we grow from here?
Disturbing the war
We know not everyone is so lucky. Hope does not always survive living through environments of chronic tension and empty of affection. We call these families dysfunctional.
Yet, there seem to be some of us, enough to form a political party, that wish to live in a country of chronic tension and empty of affection, a dysfunctional country. Familiar, but not very smart.
The leader of the political party is promising — out loud, with specifics — to dismantle our democracy that he defines as an evil “deep state.”
Many people I know live loving, productive lives. We, they and many more that I do not know are coming to the realization that our loving, secure way of life is under threat.
We will not be complacent from the comfort of locked doors or pods of peace.
Once awake — yes, woke — to the consequences, thousands upon thousands of pods of peace can disturb the war on democracy with peace. Our response will be more like firm determination and tough love than strident speech, anonymous cowardly death threats, and weeding out the “undesirable different.”
We will insist on peaceful coexistence. We will spread peace greater than hate. Like minds will expand the pods of peace.
Do I describe a fantasy, a film from my own imagination? I do not think so because I cannot believe that people want to live surrounded by chronic tension in a neighborhood empty of affection.
The best things in my life have come from love and working together for a common purpose. Despite irritations, we all made it because it was important that we did.
Why would I give that up now.
I watch my husband work hard every day to do his part of staying alive. He cannot walk but he can use what strength he has remaining to transfer his body without my help. He still shapes what is left of his life for love and for a purpose.
He is a role model for me. I feel gratitude for him.
Then, I think how grateful I am that I can walk from room to room and outside.
Happy and much thanks giving from our pod of peace to yours.
Bertha Cooper, an award-winning featured columnist with the Sequim Gazette, spent her career years in health care administration, program development and consultation and is the author of the award-winning “Women, We’re Only Old Once.” Cooper and her husband have lived in Sequim more than 25 years. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.