February: A Month of Peace

I’ve been stirring up a lot of trouble in my brain these past couple of weeks—of the mental ping-pong, roller coaster variety. And so yesterday I got to thinking—making January into a month of creative play really helped me expand my mind, how about designating February as a month of peace?

I instantly liked the idea, and as it went with my month of play, my sub-conscious was already one step ahead—I started a collagraph series based on peace just last week. You may remember my peace collagraph post? Well, I decided to do a whole series of them—12 small collagraphs including the word peace. Here’s the start of this project:

I’ve made these three collagraph plates so far. You’ll notice the words are backwards so that they will show up correctly (in mirror image) on the final prints. I thought that these 12 little peace signs could be kind of like little prayer flags—like little prayers for peace—for oneself or for the world. I know that making them is my way of praying for peace in myself.

I have been struggling with this idea for some time—realizing that if I could just let things settle {be peace}, everything in my life would go a lot more smoothly. But how? I constantly wonder. I hope to find out a little bit this month by making peace my top priority. And yet I know even in how I’m describing this here, I have a lot to learn—my favorite quote on the subject (which I’ve shared here before, but I think could and should be repeated a few billion times) goes like this:

“There is no way to peace, peace is the way.” –A.J. Muste

I think of this quote often. I repeat it to myself over and over. I try to wrap my head around it, and the most beautiful thing is—you can’t. It defies thinking—it is all about being. You see, I like to try and think myself in and out of things all the time, and that’s why this concept is so beautiful and difficult to me—you can’t make it happen through thinking. This is how I know it will revolutionize me if I can just breathe it for a while.

And on another note, I betrayed my biggest challenge just above, a challenge I wrote about in my journal this morning, ” I must let myself fail. Let it be OK to fail. Love myself no matter what happens. Peace for me is most about being at peace with myself—to stop criticizing, judging, and getting angry with myself.” And really, isn’t that the cornerstone of peace for us all? I hear again and again—once you can be at peace with and love yourself, then you are at peace with and love all the rest {every person, the world, life}. And yet, this is the thing I struggle with most—I try to strong-arm myself into peace—I get angry when I get angry because I want to be peaceful. So, this month is really about acceptance. I’m not quite sure how you can be peaceful about being angry, but I’m going to give it a try. And as my sense of play trickles over from last month, I will be sure to use my creativity and play to help me along. Really I could use as many tools in my toolbox as possible to help me along.

Speaking of which, I could use your help—how do you go the way of peace in difficult situations (when you’re upset or angry and in conflict)?

{P.S.: stay tuned for more posts on peace as I find my way and have you all hold me accountable!}


9 Responses to “February: A Month of Peace”

  1. 1 artproject2010 February 1, 2011 at 9:41 am

    When I get upset, I remind myself to try to adopt an attitude of “non-resistance, non-judgment & non-attachment”. It doesn’t always work, but viewing my emotional responses as “pain-body” and “ego” does help put things in perspective and calm me down. Good old Eckhart.

  2. 2 Era February 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Nice post, well written as usual. Even in conflict you are a great communicator.

    Recently I’ve been having waves of panic rush over me when I think about “all the stuff I have to do.” My first reaction, and the one that is the most essential and useful, is to take a deep breath. When the panic hits my body reacts by tightening and closing up, I can feel it actually happening. So taking a deep breath helps me fill my chest, push my heart out and my chin up, and physically feel better prepared to tackle that particular challenge. (It also helps to carry around a tiny notebook to make lists in :)

  3. 3 Amy February 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Oh man, this is such a good post. And I want to answer your question somehow, I want to participate in the conversation and share my thoughts, but I’m not even sure I know how. I do know that peace has been a little easier to come by for me over the last year or two, and that has a lot to do with increasing physical and mental wellness (hooray for acupuncture!). I have moments now where it suddenly just dawns on me that I’m okay–that really, everything is fine. And that’s been a new and very wonderful experience. But the other patterns of thought are there, and it’s still a struggle sometimes. Which is ironic, isn’t it? Anyway, I have far to go, but I can’t wait to find out what you learn during your peaceful month.

    And failing–it’s so important, isn’t it–at least allowing yourself the *possibility* of failing? And horribly, I have much more trouble letting myself fail at things I care deeply about. Which means I have so much more trouble progressing at the things I care most deeply about. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, and considering whether I’m at a point where I can somehow learn to let it go.

  4. 4 Kerri February 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Aah, when you’re old like me you’ll be so much more peaceful! I don’t know if peace can be learnt by people like us, as in those of us who have obsessive thoughts. I wonder if peace is something that happens to you, a gift from life when you’ve suffered through years of pondering about your path and yourself, like we have. If I tried to make myself peaceful it would never work. I need movement to find peace. Go for a walk and on the way there tell yourself all the things you’re bothered about. Tell yourself the same thing 10 times if you need to. On the way home look around you and notice all the beauty on offer, and drink it in. It always helps.

    And as for learning to be kind to yourself and letting yourself fail . . . well I have about two thousand things to say about that. You wanna come over tomorrow for a cup of tea and a good discussion?

  5. 5 Geoff M. Pope February 9, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Pastor Geoff here (don’tchuh juhst luhve me? ; ).
    I think — believe — peace is a Person with a cap-
    Will you forgive me for publically preaching that
    as for being simultaneously angry and peaceful,
    the other day one of my Psychology-majoring students
    indirectly led me to the last interview with Ted Bundy.
    I sensed that the interviewer was both peaceful and
    Okay, you’re probably thinking, “Geoff, that example
    doesn’t even come close to applying to my life.”
    Yeah, I know, you’re right; but what can you expect
    from Geo7:15ish a.m. ; )

  1. 1 Call for Peace | African Mango Trackback on February 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm
  2. 2 Personal Power « blue bicicletta Trackback on February 7, 2011 at 9:24 am
  3. 3 The First Peace Print! « blue bicicletta Trackback on February 16, 2011 at 9:57 am

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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

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Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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