The ocean this morning was as calm and as quiet as I have ever seen it. The surface was like glass and the waves come in quietly making only a noise as it hit the sand. This was a perfect day to clear the mind of all whi9te noise and listen to inner voices. What came to me quickly was the song lyric, Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. My thoughts this Christmas have not just been about Kathy Strieb's contest of my favorite Christmas memory, it was a lot of memory that can in quiet waves this morning. I grew up in a loud and angry household, at time chaotic and potentially dangerous. There was a lot of anger in my upbringing and those thoughts came to the present in seeing so much anger in this country. As this pirate looks at 70 I can't remember this much anger and polarization, even the the 60s.
The problem is it is too often directed to blame, to accusations, and to extreme thoughts of being right. Any reading of neuro-science will tell you we are still have prehistoric brains controlled by fight or flight on the basic level of our brains, then tied to emotions, and in lesser quantity than you think, critical higher level thinking and functions. For me, anger is always just below the surface, and when life often overwhelms us, it comes out in negative ways. Our job is to figure out where this comes from, how it mutated to the present emotions, and how can we deal with it. On this respect, the lyric comes into sharper focus. Peace begins with us and how we control or empty ourselves of destructive emotions and behavior. Electing new politicians don't do it, demonizing groups without nuance just because they are different doesn't do it, nor does waiting for every one else to change does it easier.
Have you ever noticed how approaching someone with a smile changes their behavior? Happens every day on the beach and a smile and good morning comes back to you. Do we ever analyze why someone reacts to you in a bad way rather than just giving it right back to them the same way? Maybe something sad has happened to them and maybe instead we should ask them has something happened to you where I can help? Peace begins with you and may affect people in profound ways even if you don't get a chance to see it but maybe you do. Maybe we should strive to create The Butterfly Effect where small changes can create larger changes and that smile is like the flapping of butterfly wings that keeps going. Most importantly we need stillness in our lives, we need quiet time just like this morning in the eerie silence of the waves and just maybe something new will occur.
Something new happened this morning. There were large stretches of shells 6 to 10 feet deep. As the water came over the shells and then receded back to the ocean, the force of those small waves made the shells connect and a clinking sound became clear. it was a soft and beautiful sound that I had never heard before. maybe the reason I hadn't heard it was I was just to full of anger or comsumed by emotions and didn't listen. What a shame it would have been had I never listened and heard it. Maybe that was the beginning of a Butterfly Effect.