Activism and inner peace v.2

activism inner peace child hugging tree

It is complicated to maintain peace within while being overly active outside. The more I am active outside, the more I need to take time out to restore the balance within. If activism is peaceful and within fields of humanitarian help, charity or education, it is easier to remain calm. Some time ago I already wrote a blog post on that. More agitating is working actively against injustice and stepping into conflict situations in order to lessen someones suffering.

Expanding city and expanding greed

Lately I have become a passionate advocate for a green island that is a place for allotment gardens with over a century old history. As the greed, expansion and economy of the city grows, it is planned to introduce traffic, roads, bridges and skyscrapers there. It is the fate of many allotment gardens not only in this country, also elsewhere. I could regain my calm if only I let the whole idea that something like gardens need to exist in the center of the city, but I feel like we need some fresh air and peace that they provide.

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Embrace impermanence: four simple ideas for your daily life

impermanence, faded flowers, death, decay and change

I am always happy when something desired starts or something undesired stops. Yei! Same way I am unhappy when something desired ceases or something undesired starts. It is a very natural reaction to the impermanence of things. Thus, spring time is double dose of happiness because the cold winter months are luckily over. And something beautiful is about to happen. Later double unhappiness comes in the fall when warm days are over and cold days begin. So, yes, I can have double fun right now and then six months from now knock on the door of my therapist and cry in despair – where has all my happiness vanished. Instead, I can take a wiser approach and see the natural cycle of birth and death as unavoidable and beautiful.

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How to open your heart: lessons from “boundless” marriage

Boris Lurie No!art protest compliance show truth vulnerability shock art

I never thought that an intercontinental marriage would teach me so much about power, empathy and boundaries that we invent. But here we are. Five years down the road – learning a lesson that love, inclusion and empathy is a choice. We have different cultural backgrounds and we are from societies that are governed by powerful structures. This situation opened my eyes and showed how small each of us is. I have seen the strength of traditions, history and bureaucracy. Despite that, this union helped me to see that we are interconnected through the web of love. And we can choose to be bigger within us and reach as many human beings as wide open our hearts become.

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Tādāsana: on integrity and mountains

integrity

Some days it happens to me that I naively navigate into waters too deep. Or I open the wrong can, the can of worms. Or even worse – take that bite, just little too big. In all those cases nobody really dies, so did I. One morning while cross-legged on the cushion the thought of integrity came to my mind. Yeah, right! Where do thoughts like that come from at all?! I let it go as I do with any other thought. After that, a quick body scan and couple rounds of deep and satisfying breath. As I was done, I sat there and let the thought of integrity return. The meaning of the word was not clear to me at all. The more I thought about it, the further I drifted..

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My review of book “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel A. van der Kolk

body keeps the score

It was a late July day and the clocks were striking noon again and again. That was the right time of summer – sun was high, waters deep and warm. Ripened wild raspberries and blueberries were abundant in the forests. The labyrinths of cemented sidewalks and melting asphalts of overcrowded cities were leading to suffering those who did not find a way out and flee. Therefore, I got a ride to a faraway town on countryside and settled down for few days with my friends.

I had no expectations for my visit, so we just sat in the garden and talked for hours. Made some lunch and talked more. In the summer the twilight dwells almost till midnight and by the time it started to get dark, our stories got deeper and shadier as well. Facing the statistics of trauma in everyday so-called normal lives we had a lot of stories to get into.  A lot of my friends are fixing their anxieties, depressions and other conditions, and going through various therapies as well as books.

Everyone can be traumatized

So, the remaining days I spent reading a book from my friend’s library – The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel A. van der Kolk. That was an antipode to the chill lounging around the garden; eating sour cherries from the trees and sipping the occasional bottle of beer. The opening passage of the book is inviting yet frightening: “Trauma happens to us, our friends, our families, and our neighbors. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that one in five Americans was sexually molested as a child; one in four was beaten by a parent to the point of a mark being left on their body; and one in three couples engages in physical violence. A quarter of us grew up with alcoholic relatives, and one out of eight witnessed their mother being beaten or hit.”

The statistics in our post-soviet corner is as gloomy as that. That is to say, if not worse. Both World Wars stomped back and forth over this tiny piece of land. All our grandparents were involved in war and our parents grew up under occupation. We were thrown in the beautiful capitalism and globalization as if nothing had happened. Indeed, a lot did happen but not enough was shared and understood.

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