`Nobody can bring you peace but yourself`
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Something happened yesterday. It was Easter Sunday and I felt a sense of deep peace, such a sense that I hadn’t felt for quite a while. My Irish Catholic grandmother used to say that on this day, the Sun danced with joy at the rebirth of Christ. In my youth, through the excesses of a choc-coated Eastertide, I can recall sweet glimpses of not joy, but peace. Being spiritual but no longer Catholic, I can’t say if the deep peace I felt was due to the earth`s response to Christ`s resurrection, but I can say that as I walked around the perimeter of the macadamia plantation with my canine companions Pup and Buddy, I felt a balance between me and the natural world of this rich and abundant region.
The serene equilibrium stayed with me for the rest of the day and remained the next morning. Though not a Pagan per se, I do revere the beauty of the natural world. It nourishes and sustains my being.
If I were to define my sense of the divine it would be similar to Chinese Taoism; an understanding that all life is predicated on flow. Night effortlessly flows into day, sun into shadow, storm into calm and somewhere in the middle is that balanced fulcrum of peace. Strange to think that such a gentle and luscious part of the world was created millions of years ago by a violent eruption from the Mt Warning volcano.The eastern-most point in Australia, spread its mineral rich lava across the land, inseminating it with vibrant organic substance. Everything flourishes in this sub-tropical climate, including peace.
On Saturday afternoons when I was in single digits, my sister, brother and I would go to what was then known as `The Pictures`. In those times, cinema staff would meet their young patrons at the crossing and escort them across the road to the magical `Regent` theatre. No doubt parents looked forward to an afternoon of peace knowing that their offspring were off in a magical realm, well cared for. My favourite cartoons were Tom and Jerry and the occasional Mighty Mouse, my hero. Next on the programme, before the main movie, came the western. Roy Rogers and that beautiful silver steed, Trigger or sometimes the Lone Ranger and Tonto. One curious fact captured my young mind then. Before the men in black-baddies obviously-would decline in their behaviour and commit serious crimes, they would first break the law and be charged with `Disturbing the Peace`. Did this lack of equilibrium lead to further moral decline I later wondered?
Of course we still have laws to regulate the peace, like not being able to use a whippersnipper before eight am on a sunday morning, but there is no legislation which aims to protect peace in our souls. More and more we are encouraged to make maximum use of 24 hour trading to soothe our soul with things from food to cars.
The world has changed a lot since those days of innocent dichotomy between good and evil, often its the goodies or those on top or in power who can most influentially disturb the peace, that is the peace in nature and in our own souls. But I still tend to agree with Emerson, peace is a gift we can choose to give ourselves by paying attention to those sweet opportunities for breathing in nature before it all changes and we see-saw back to the changing extremes of life.
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