Sending love to the world (again)

Image by the fantabulous Caroline Chappell
Image by the fantabulous Caroline Chappell

Trite and hippyish as it may sound, sending love / loving kindness / metta etc isn’t easy.

Sometimes, it can be hard enough to wish ourselves well let alone people we see as ‘other’ or worse. It can be really challenging to see people we disagree with and attempting to send compassion and loving kindness rather than judgment.

I mean, who does that (be it ploughing into innocent people crossing a bridge and stabbing a policeman or boiling a prisoner alive… I could go on with horrors from just this week but won’t)?

And then, of course, there’s the judgment about how we ‘should’ all react. As if we could legislate our feelings even if we wanted to.

Over the years, I’ve learned that allowing myself to feel whatever I’m feeling is the best way through it. Judging myself for crying more over London than Mosul (I was born there, lived there for years, am in every week and passed through on Wednesday) wouldn’t have helped anyone.

Far more lives were lost in Mosul this week and I consciously feel guiltier as ‘our side’ is responsible yet, I can’t control what I cry over. Similarly, my tears for London  were different to my (more intense) sobbing over the murder (and lack of his murderers being charged) of Darren Rainey in Florida  and Timothy Caughman in New York.

I feel compelled to state, aloud, that (I hope!) most people who look white DON’T think like the awful white supremacist who killed him. I also feel rage at the injustice that as a white looking woman, I’m not expected to have to speak out against that in the way that, for example, peace loving Muslims are expected to denounce attacks that extremists undertake.

I feel hopeless when I think about terrorists but I don’t feel as afraid of them (nothing – that I know of –  I can do to control or even influence their actions) as I do about a certain English woman who is passing off her hate speech on US telly as the norm for (diverse! Inclusive!) London.

However we feel, whatever our reactions – to global or more personal tragedies – we have a right to our feelings.

The more we give ourselves a bit of time and space to process and grieve and heal, the less likely we are to mess things up even more badly by lashing out at people we disagree with.

This is something simple, though not easy, that we can all do (should we want to) to contribute a teeny bit towards creating a safer, more peaceful world for all of us.

What might you do to be extra kind to yourself today?

Feel free to share below.




Finding personal peace in 2013 and beyond

????????????????????????????????????????????????????When I first went freelance in 2004, my plan was to write about some of the amazing activists I’d met and heard about. I’d been involved in the peace and women’s movements for years and was regularly overwhelmed and awed by people’s courage, intelligence and more. I figured even though I could never go to such places or do such things, I could at least help braver souls than me get the word out.

Looking back, the year before, I’d been depressed. If memory serves, I realised something was wrong when I could no longer hold in my tears until I was somewhere private or even just crying quietly at my desk but was openly weeping simply walking through the office each day. I couldn’t stop imagining the devastation caused by our bombs and policies in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere (my name’s Eve – I used to feel personally responsible for everything).

When I told my boss I thought I better see my GP, she looked beyond relieved. I was in complete denial about all my own stuff at the time but knew I felt hopeless about the world and my ability to impact it. Rather than wondering why I was so upset, I couldn’t understand how everyone else wasn’t. The doctor signed me off for a couple of weeks and prescribed medication I knew I would never even fill the prescription for – I knew that I needed to change my life rather than popping pills.

I’d already started training as a complementary therapist and coach and going freelance while setting these businesses up made me feel more hopeful. Naturally, it was MUCH harder setting up than I’d ever imagined (and totally worth all the struggle).

My first ever press conference was at a conference in New York with Eve Ensler, Sally Field, Jane Fonda and activists from Iraq, Afghanistan  and other places. (I couldn’t resist telling a startled Eve Ensler and Gloria Steinem that their writing had saved my life.) But, while I wrote about it for a couple of titles, mostly, the editors who were commissioning me wanted me to write about wellbeing.

Eight-plus years on (including a gazillion hours’ training in various wellbeing related disciplines and, of course, client hours later), I understand that world peace (feels embarrassing to type it but I DO still crave world peace) has to start with personal peace.

When we’re at war with ourselves, we’re cranky (angry, hostile or worse) with others. I know in my own life, when I’ve not been looking after myself, I’m that bit shorter with others. By taking responsibility for our own energy and doing the things that help us feel strong, centred, calm, loving and secure, we’re able to negotiate better with others even when things feel quite volatile.

So this new section of my blog will focus on some of the small but effective ways we can all (everything I write is still a reminder to myself to keep putting all this fantabulous stuff into practice in my own life) boost our personal peace.

We can all help make our own worlds and the whole world that bit more peaceful, kinder and more loving.

I hope you’ll enjoy it 🙂

Image courtesy of digitalart /