What’s a peacelight to do?

What's a Peacelight to do?
by Joumana Rizk

I am deeply moved by the work of TalkIslam, a group of young Muslims from Australia. One of them, a poet, when faced with the horrors committed by his own people, dove into his wave of creativity. In response to the killings of innocent civilians in the name of Islam, he lit up his peacelight very brightly with the amazing video above, Nothing to do with my Prophet. When we watch the video, we feel his pain tearing him up inside. We also feel his profound love of his religion, of his prophet, and of all beings. When we share these emotions with him, we are united with all of those who are suffering, and with those who have been led astray.

People often ask me what I do. When I tell them about my organization, Peacelights, they ask me the following question:

In the face of the atrocities committed by groups such as Daesh and Isis, with the loss of so many innocent lives every day, what do you believe should be done? Should we fight the fundamentalists, attempt to destroy them all, or reach out to them? What’s a peacelight to do?

I’m not a political leader and gratefully I don’t have to make political decisions between diplomacy and war. My work is to light my peacelight, time after time, no matter what is going on. I believe that everything and everyone in this world are interconnected. When we do our peace work, we are contributing in both small and large ways to attaining peace on earth.

I was recently feeling overwhelmed after the string of terrorist attacks last month. I was also drained by personal conflicts at home with my teenage kids. When I realized that my peacelight was dimming, I decided to research other peace organizations to see how they were inspiring people. On the Facebook page for The International Day of Peace, this is what I found:

When you do nothing you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.

Maya Angelou

She said it so beautifully.

Dear friend, please don’t allow overwhelm and powerlessness to settle in. Get involved. Whatever most upsets you, act on it. At Peacelights, we organize our work around 4 Waves:

The Wave of Inner Work

The Wave of the Feminine and Masculine

The Wave of Creativity

The Wave of Relationships

You can read more about the waves here.

Last week, I realized that my Wave of Relationships needed some work. I took strong action with my teenage daughter, which was hard for me emotionally. But I had to get involved or we would both have remained stuck in the limbo of overwhelm. I ferociously remapped my relationship with my daughter by sending her to a boarding school, appropriate to her situation. In doing so, our relationship changed completely. I am no longer trying to act as her savior or to control her actions. I now see her as capable and free, and she sees herself as responsible and having choices. Remapping my relationship with my daughter last week freed my energy, and began to light up my peacelight.

We often feel somewhat numb when we hear about bombings around the world. This numbness is normal. If we actually related to the pain of victims and their families as if it was our own trauma, we would have trouble getting up in the morning and living our lives. We all need some distance at times, but protracted silence can be deadly. In her landmark book Trauma and Recovery, Judith Lewis Herman makes a compelling argument that in order to heal, trauma victims need a community that cares.

Worldpeace.org, an organization that truly cares, offers daily communal prayers. They suggest repeating the mantra, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” Last month they prayed in community for the people of Belgium, Pakistan, and Iraq. It was such a simple act, and yet it was impactful for those who prayed together and for the victims. Prayer and positive thoughts have proved to be very effective in helping people heal, as the Dalai Lama never tires of telling us.

So, going back to the question posed to me, faced with atrocities, what’s a peacelight to do? As Maya Angelou says, get involved.

Some people pray while others organize demonstrations or start a movement. Some send money. Some people immerse themselves in politics, while others enlist in the army. Some resolve their conflicts at home like I did, and still others create spoken word videos about the peaceful nature of Islam.

Perhaps you could look at the 4 Waves, determine which one is calling to you, and dive deeply into it. What will you do to light your peacelight today? What action is calling out to you as you read this? Please share with us below.

Feel free to post your personal stories as well as opportunities for people to get involved with a group of likeminded people. If you are a new reader, please consider subscribing to our mailing list to receive updates from us.

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