2020 served as a year of pop quizzes.
At every corner I felt my resolve, resilience, and at moments my integrity being tested. The isolation amplified a nagging voice in the back of my head – I was merely modern day Don Quixote chasing the windmill of peace. I didn’t like that voice. I knew that for me to step into my power – every cell of my body needed to believe that peace is possible.
2016 was the first time I publicly ran the warning bell. The US was off the charts when mapping early detection warning signs for an escalation of violent conflict. And this was before Trump was president. Four years later, being right did not serve as any consolation as I stood in an extremely polarized and divided nation, trying to survive a global pandemic.
I pushed myself to pull on my decades of experience working internationally. And so, I turned inward. I felt my desire to put on the armor I had just spent years shedding, and to grab my social justice sword and shield. The urge for self-defense forced me to remember why I created Across Red Lines in the first place. My goal was to shift that “fight energy” towards a focus on self-love, the right to pleasure, and the transformative energy that happens when a people are allowed to show up in peace, pleasure, and whole. These were essential fuel to feed the movements for long term sustainable change.
Peace is hard work. It cannot be conditional. It is hard work of compromise, healing trauma, building trust, and finding viable solutions that may have eluded communities for decades. It is the belief that despite all facts and circumstances that try to prove otherwise – peace is attainable through nonviolent means. Not an easy sell during an age where strength is defined by military budgets.
Moreover, peacebuilding can be lonely. The need to manage your own opinions, thoughts, and emotions are more crucial than ever. The power lies in being able to hold space in the middle for the conflicting parties to meet. The quickest way to sabotage a peace negotiation is to attack the person and container being created. As such, creating and protecting that space for convening is an incredibly draining exercise that can only be sustained through constant replenishing. Love, joy, and pleasure are key high impact energies that can revitalize a soul to stay focused on their life purpose.
My past mindset – I will adopt peaceful means when the system represents me – was a trap that had sent me running in circles and burning energy while the system stood stubbornly erect. I decided my ultimate act of revolution was to adopt peace no matter the circumstances. That was when I truly felt liberated.
Peace is possible when we navigate back to an open heart space. It starts by remembering what we love and value. From this place, I launched the LetLoveIn campaign – a platform to create a cohesive call to action – by sharing out intimate and powerful moments of love, joy, and pleasure we ground ourselves in the power of love to lead change.
The LetLoveIn movement is our commitment to unleashing love’s transformative energy to create positive change. The power of the collective and the need for structures that help us all thrive are undeniable, as is the love with which we approach ourselves and each other. The LetLoveIn campaign speaks to this truth: true peacebuilding starts from within.
Love love in,
CEO and Founder, Across Red Lines and LetLoveIn
In the last months of 2020, we realized that many of us want to listen, but we do not know where to begin. If you are ready to work toward peace, we encourage you to use our guide. We spent months curating this guide to provide each of our neighbors with the tools to listen deeper and listen better in 2021. We are organizing a Conversationalist Series that will accompany this project. Each month, we invite you to attend our online conversations as we bring ourselves one step closer to sustainable peace.
Our partners at Over Zero have spent the last three years designing a “resilience-based” approach to preventing political and identity-based violence. We hope that their tools will provide all of us with direction as we work to de-escalate political violence and polarization and work for our shared future.
Are you worried about disinformation and misinformation? PEN America’s Media Literacy Toolkit is a good first step to reassess how we engage with the information in our networks. Take a look and tell us what you learn!
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