Greetings to all who are reading! It feels like miraculous to be able to communicate through this unique medium to the community. Thank you for taking the time to check in with this Week In Peace! I was at the gas station yesterday, overhearing a young man talking to the cashier. "We just got word that schools will be closed until May 1st," he said. "The old me hated school. Now, I can't WAIT for it to open again." This snippet of conversation offers an enlightened view of our current situation as a people: We have a greater appreciation of the things we can't have right now.
I feel this myself on a daily basis. A large part of my work as a peace dancer is going out into the world to radiate joy, harmony and peace. I still do this work under the guise of "essential exercise" yet it feels like performing a concert in an empty arena. People are the magic element in dance. Their energy feeds my energy and vice versa. Where there was once hundreds of people passing on any given street in the space of an hour, there are now four people. Of course those four people count for a lot. It's the empty time between people, that's the tough part. Within myself, I know that the vibrations of peace generated by the dance have their own life. They flow into the world and reach people in ways that I may never know about. Yet what happens when there are no people? How can city folks cope with relative isolation?
I spoke to a friend on the phone. She said that her children only allow her to leave the house for 30 minutes a day to go running. "Last night it was so quiet that I got spooked and came home early."
"Why were you spooked?" I asked, hoping that no one was being weird or threatening toward her.
"We've lived near the freeway for years. Day or night, there was always traffic. Last night there was nothing. Total silence. It was so eerie that I went home."
Have you had similar experiences? Building a new narrative around our state of affairs is step one toward moving forward in a better direction. We can acknowledge the strangeness of our collective circumstances and pinpoint what we appreciated about our former lives. There are things we miss that we never thought we would miss, like traffic (which, for the record, I don't miss at all).
Crisis situations are much like the rest of life. We must learn from experience. Being in isolation is like holding up a magnifying glass to our lives. Little things become large. Earlier this week, I joined friends from Be The Change Yoga in a volunteer effort at a local community center. Before this experience, I would have described myself as a humble person. After just two hours of observing the hardship and sadness around me, I realized the position of privilege that permeated my life. The privilege of being surrounded by loved ones. The privilege of having enough to eat. The old me would have said, "Well of course I have those things. I've worked hard to acquire and maintain them, haven't I?" That's not humility. Humility is seeing everyone as equal. It's realizing that despite our circumstances we are really all in the same boat. Our boat is a spaceship called Earth. We humans are the crew and we all have work to do.
Here is one assignment that we can complete this week: Call someone. My friend in New York called as I was taking a walk the other night. I was feeling somewhat discouraged because my work of spreading peace hadn't seemed as effective lately. Her words of encouragement were like a balm for my spirit. She reminded me that this was no time to doubt my efforts, it was rather a time to double them. After speaking with her, I decided that I would randomly begin calling people and giving an uplifting message. She could not know how much her words changed my outlook for the better. Because of her phone call, I was able to see the gift that reaching out to people really can be right now. We don't know how people are coping unless we talk to them. Be the voice on the line that says, "Keep Going!" Using our power in this way benefits us just as much as the person we called.
Thanks and see you out there (soon!)
Khalilah will be offering weekly online dance and yoga classes via Zoom for the duration of the isolation. This will assist everyone in staying whole, healthy and in good spirits while we collectively heal. Info on classes & other peace offerings are available @thepeacedancer on Instagram and at www.thedanceofpeace.org