PEACE (n): 1) To stand serenely in the face of explosions that happen that you don't want to happen; 2) To stand serenely in the face of explosions that do not happen that you want to happen; 3) The condition of no less than 73% consciousness, as opposed to 73% open-mouthed-breathing; 4) To stand serenely with a beatific grin on your face, looking kind of high, actually. Hands clasped so that fingers form a horny-looking diamond that juts out from your peacefulness, a Bermuda Triangle inviting all others to be pulled into your contented mellow.
Peace. Miss Universe wants it. So does Miss Wichita Home Heating.
Do any of us know what peace is, though? Because the moment they inform Miss Wichita Home Heating that all the machine guns in the world have been plugged up with daisies, all those soldiers standing there will be left to ponder the fundamentally distressed state of individual humanity.
And they will freak right out.
Legions of empowered women lyricize empowerment. Just the same, legions of peace-seekers lyricize gratitude and self-worth.
Every now and then I consider joining in but then imagine what I'd write and it sounds like something a 73 year-old woman would yell off her front porch, punctuated by a PFFFT. The expressions of all those sentiments are heartfelt and have their place, but I've got foundational hesitations about what's assumed.
Like the assumption that gender makes us something—or makes us need something—by default. Or that we should all strive to get to a place called peace, walking faster towards a horizon that dangles on the end of a stick.
Hunger and clumsy wanting and risk and uncertainty and exposure, god, the exposure. It's uncomfortable. Envy. Not the kind that would have you wish any less for the objects of it, but the kind that has you lean in closer as though you might gain nerve by osmosis. Fitful nights and a racing mind. Consumed. Never enough time. Never enough of anything.
It's how you feel when you've got big ideas or when you're strapped or unhealthy or lonely or in need of some formative experience or change or big bloody ZAP. This is a natural state almost more human than the fear of death and the loathing of taxes.
On top it all? I should be more peaceful/present/grateful.
A few well-meaning people said how wonderful, you've found your peace or congratulations or I'll never get there as if being perceived to have peace or not have peace is a measure of intensity or pain or sheer will.
To aspire to peace, in my mind, is to aspire to that glossy stuff you put on your hair to make it look shiny and smell delicious. It makes you look shiny. It makes you smell delicious. But it's not a return to some inate core of shiny deliciousness.
We are always stirred. We are varying degrees of knuckle-biting turmoil which is in itself 73% exquisite. Distress serves a purpose. It helps us find the shape of what's important. It amplifies things that go right. It is aspirational. Nothing is ever enough.
Nod to the hungry animal of you.
1. Quit trying to find inner peace.
2. Quit trying to try to not find inner peace.
3. Remember that the concept of inner peace is a racket designed to sell self-help books, Dove soap, organized religion, and rescue remedy.