Peace, Power & Love
I sign all my letters, my emails and blogs with these three words. So, it seems fitting to begin 2023 writing about it. What do I mean when I sign: Peace, Power, Love?
For those who have spent a lifetime working for peace, that word may seem obvious – freedom from war. But when I think of peace, I start with inner peace, because without that, we can’t have peace in the world.
Peace is our connection to our inner spirit and that which helps us stay in a connected, grounded place. It is the connection to our heart, that internal voice or light as we Quakers would say. It is our connection to spirit (however you define that), our connection to the earth, to other living beings and to each other.
I do believe we have to stand in our personal power to build collective power. I have seen organizations fall apart over people not having personal power. We are especially vulnerable when our internalized oppression from constant systemic classism, racism, sexism or homophobia tells us we are less worthy or not good enough.
When the white supremacists scream names at us, intimidate us and even kill us, that is something we can stand up to. But when an arbitrary and biased legal system throws young men of color particularly, and women of all ages and races, into jail for months and years for minor infractions or before even being tried for a crime, we can’t stand in our power. While a woman who has an abortion is now being threatened with jail for murder in Louisiana, and many other states are passing laws to punish women for abortion, we can’t stand in our power. While classism and racism keep people in poverty, denying them healthcare, housing and good jobs, we can’t stand in our power. And while education still closes doors to us, making us feel stupid or undeserving, we can’t stand in our power.
Until power is built that can overcome the systems of hatred and tear them down, until we build power based on justice and equality, we can’t build a world for all of us.
And Then There is Love
When I started Spirit in Action, it was about how can we build a movement for all the issues we work on, for all the different constituencies, based on vision, love, spirit and power.
It was also about what does it look like to build an organization based on love, to have meetings based on love? How do we tap into our natural love for ourselves, for each other and for the earth, so that we are so strong that nothing can pull us apart?
That is what we explored over more than two decades at Spirit in Action. We learned from lots of people working together, many who have become lifelong friends, supporting us. I can say with confidence, that those questions – with answers – have become infused in our larger movement.
People now freely talk about the importance of visioning, connection and love in our movement. Not enough, but more and more. Because love is contagious.
Time to Move On
Last but not least, with a new year on the horizon, it is time to let go of despair and hopelessness and move toward a new vision – a vision of hope.
In this age of great global crisis, we are still stuck in our old story of survival and domination. We need a new story, a new vision, a new definition of power and leadership.
We must go toward a new model of love and cooperation on our small and quickly dying planet. The world needs us to imagine, define, and lead us toward a sane and sustainable culture. A culture of love. A culture that values life more than war, people more than profits and hope more than despair.
I love everyone who has been on this journey with me and Spirit in Action. I wish I had the words to thank you, for all the ways you have continued to take our work into the world, for all the ways you have supported me personally, supported our organization and our work. I can never have enough words to describe how I feel. So, I end another new beginning with
Peace, Power and Love. Thank you.