Several months ago, I wrote a blog about keeping the peace and what that phrase has come to mean for me. I feel the most peaceful when I remember that we are all connected in the deepest, most intricate of ways – each of us to every one and every thing, seen and unseen. There is not one thing we do or action we take or belief we hold that doesn’t affect the whole.
It’s all about connections – seeing connections, shedding light on forgotten connections, clearing out anything that gets in the way of them. I have found myself letting go of the notion that this process of seeing, shedding and clearing has to be calm and balanced, mediated and quiet, flowery and smiley, and all other adjectives that traditionally accompany the concept of keeping peace. Sometimes – most often – this process of reconnecting is uncomfortable, awkward, filled with friction and anxiety. Dissonance en route to harmony.
As I’ve carried this idea around with me these past months, I’ve come to remember that every time I’ve grown or shifted in little ways or major – every time I sought to undo what’s in the way of the peace that comes with deep connection – there’s been this dissonance. For me it manifests as that uneasiness of knowing something’s amiss and must be faced. Or the fear of not knowing how it will all unfold. There’s the awkwardness of walking around with a new awareness and the rubbing up against old patterns – how familiar yet ‘off’ they feel, the longing for their familiarity paired with the eagerness to let them go and be hurriedly done with the transition.
Time and again, despite its chaos and discomfort, that process of facing and clearing always has always led me to deeper connections. I’m so grateful for that. And if I’m grateful for the outcome, I must admit that I’m grateful for the dissonance. I not only practice sitting in the middle of it – getting comfortable with discomfort, as they say – to allow dissonance to do its good work, but I seek it out. I get excited when I feel it rising up.
There’s another layer of this that I’m anchoring now…just a slight two-degree-to-the-right shift in perspective. That is, I’m more willing to create this necessary dissonance. Not just deal with it when it comes or even seek it out, but actually be the dissonance that others may need in order to do their own questioning, remembering and clearing. Being authentically me in all situations with all people, not couching my words when they feel powerful and important, not shutting down or quieting when I sense others’ reactions in order to appease. To temper myself takes away the opportunity for someone else to see and that’s not my purpose.
When I feel dissonance, I need to move toward it and when I create the dissonance, I need to allow others the freedom to do the same.