Choose Peace

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Letting go of grievances can, at the best of times, be a struggle, however hard we may try. Each time we recall what happened, we experience the pain as if it were afresh. We feel wronged, and at times, with good reason to be. But whilst we may feel justified in holding others accountable for our unhappiness, it rarely, if ever, serves its purpose. Instead we render ourselves immobile, incapable of moving forward. Grudges and deep-seated resentments not only effect our lives and the lives of those closest to us, but they also wreak havoc with our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Thoughts of: “If only he’d change; if only she hadn’t treated me that way; if only my circumstances were different, then my life would be so much happier…” – only serve to prolong our pain and misery.

There is a famous quote believed to have been said by Buddha that states: “Holding on to anger is like drinking a cup of poison and expecting the other person to die.” It is we who suffer, not they.

Today, may we find that sacred space in our hearts, that peaceful place that frees us from the binds of non-forgiveness.

In love and light,

Hayley

Be The Light

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There are some things in life we feel are simply unforgivable. So horrific, in fact, that we question: What kind of a God would allow this to happen? We question why a loving God would allow countries to be at war and people to die of hunger. But as Marianne Williamson reminds us: ‘Thirty-five thousand people a day die of hunger on earth, and there’s no dearth of food. The question is not, “What kind of a God would let children starve?” but rather, “What kind of people let children starve?”

So are we to direct our anger away from God and towards our fellow brothers and sisters instead? As purging as this may initially feel; to vent and blame and shake our fists at all the darkness we see in the world, will only add to the hatred and misery in it. As we express our rage we further mar our planet with our own discontent.

To penetrate the darkness, we must become the light. But what if the darkness is too overwhelming to bare? Then we must pray that we will find the courage to be the light amidst the darkness, and that others will find the strength to do the same.

A Course in Miracles states: Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.

Our goal, therefore, is to illuminate our corner of the world, however small that corner may be. To shine our light on all with whom we meet so that they too, can feel safe to do the same. It is our light, not our darkness, that will make a change.

You may have heard the tale of The Little Soul in The Sun, by Neale Donald Walsch, the story of a little soul who announces to God: “I know who I am!”

God smiled and said: “Who are you?” To which the little soul replied; “I am Light.”

“Yes you are,” replied God.

But the little soul, living amongst others who also shone with the perfect brilliance of God’s light, felt like a candle in the sun. Amidst the beautiful light of which the little soul was a part of, it could not see or experience itself as it really was. The little soul yearned to experience itself as Light.

And so one day, witnessing the little soul’s yearnings, God suggested: “Little Soul, if you really want to see yourself as you really are, then you must call upon the darkness. You must separate yourself from the rest of the light so that you can experience yourself as light amidst the darkness.”

“What is Darkness?” the little soul enquired inquisitively.

“That which you are not,” replied God, and the soul understood.

And so the little soul did. It separated itself from the light and experienced all sorts of darkness. At it’s deepest despair it called out to God, “Father Father why hast thou forsaken me?”  poor_little_soul_

God replied, “I have not forsaken you. I stand by you always, ready to remind you of who you really are; ready, always ready, to call you home. Therefore, be a light unto the darkness and curse it not. And forget not who you are in the moment of your encirclement by that which you are not.”

Little Soul in the Sun is a timeless parable which serves to reminds us that without darkness, there can be no light; without fear, we could never know love; without up, we could never experience down.

Let us not forget ourselves amidst the darkness, and may we always remember that we are the light.

In love and light,

Hayley xx

Forgive. And dance.

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So many of us struggle to let go of grievances; she did this; he said that; she didn’t do this; he failed to say that. We hold grudges, turning a blind eye to the affects our deep-rooted resentments have on our lives and the lives of those around us. We justify our unhappiness and hold others accountable for the way we feel; if only he’d change, if only she hadn’t treated me that way, if only my circumstances were different – then my life would be so much happier. But when we view life through the lens of non-forgiveness – we give our power away. We become powerless.

Here, I tell the true story of a brave woman named Satta Joe; a story of immense courage and forgiveness. Satta lived in Sierra Leone during the civil war, a time of great upheaval and uncertainty. When the rebels attacked Satta’s village, she became the victim of gang rape. Her husband was shot dead and her seven year old son slaughtered before her very eyes. Curled up in a broken heap on the floor with her newborn child, Satta was left for dead.sattajoe

The man who had led the attack was Nyuma Saffa, a blood relative of Satta’s who had once tried to force his love upon her. Fueled by his grievance over Satta’s rejection and by his new allegiance to the rebels, he unleashed his attack upon Satta and her family.

Once the civil war had ended, the rebels returned to live in the village. Satta recalls feeling powerless: This was very hard for me, but what was I to do?  And that’s when Fambul Tok (Family Talk) arrived, a community led reconciliation program. They called for a meeting in the village and asked for those who had experienced suffering during the war to speak up. Satta bravely stepped forward and told her story. Fambul Tok then asked that Nyuma Saffa come forward to admit his crimes against Satta and her family. Finally, he confessed.

As part of the reconciliation ritual, Satta and Nyuma were asked to dance together as a way of forgiving the past. Understandably, Satta refused. She couldn’t bear the thought of holding Nyuma’s hands – the same hands that had raped her and killed her family. Though, after much encouragement – she bravely accepted. Satta states: As I took his hand I was sobbing, not out of despair but a sense of relief that perhaps now we could move on from this terrible pain in our past. I didn’t expect it, but they succeeded in making peace between us.

Satta Joe is one of many heroic people who, under horrific and seemingly unforgivable circumstances, have chosen the path of peace.

Forgiveness does not mean that what the other person did was ok. Forgiveness is choosing to shift our focus from one of pain, to peace. We forgive because we want to feel good. And holding onto resentment prevents us from feeling any peace within ourselves. It prevents us from moving forward.

If Satta Joe can forgive this man for inflicting terrible crimes against her and her family; if she can choose peace over pain and sorrow; forgiveness over bitterness and revenge – then isn’t it time we all cleared the floor and danced?