What Does Peace Look Like?

Milo at peace

Milo At Peace…
A wonderful depiction of peace. Not just because he looks cuddly and happy, but mostly because I know he loves me unconditionally, and the feeling is mutual.


This is what I have been thoughtful on the last few days. What does it look like to me?
What does it look like to you? Does anyone truly know? Sure, we can philosophize about it, share quotes about inner peace (yes, even I do this), debate politics and religion on it, even sing John Lennon songs about it. But, when we look deep into ourselves, do we really perceive what peace should and does look like? Is it different for most if not everyone?

As I stood outside yesterday and today, in the midst of a very challenging task, feeling overwhelmed and defeated, I asked this out-loud. I stood alone out there in the yard, watching the rain come down, my body feeling heavy and tired, and I actually said it out-loud to no one. What does peace look like?

The concept of peace has been pondered by philosophers, politicians, the religious, many leaders, and any person ever finding themselves in the middle of utter chaos.

This is what I find myself in now…utter chaos. I am facing the monumental chore of going through a ton of my stuff, most of which has been packed under tarps and plastic outdoors for the better part of two and a half years. Long story, suffice to say, I moved 3000 miles, lost my home, many family members, life as I knew it, and am starting over. As I sift through the destruction that was much of my belongings and life, I am facing mold, bugs, stinging bees, blazing-hot sunny days, rainy wind-swept nights, cold pouring onslaughts, northern west coast harsh and fickle October weeks, sogginess, mud, decay, and loads of memories and time lost to me. Its a gut wrenching experience. I started this task with optimism, strength, and a willingness to just get through it. As I get toward the latter end of this grueling work, my energy is low, my spirits deflated, and my body hurting. But on I go, getting the job done.

I stared at one of the piles yesterday for many moments, feeling like it was never going to be done, buckling under the pressure of my time and weather constraints, and I asked the above question to the open air…the universe, if you will. Mostly, I wondered how to find it.

Another day in the muck and mire done, I dragged myself indoors for some tea, warmth, and a fresh pair of PJ’s for a welcomed night’s sleep. I sat down at my laptop, my fluffy-boy curled up next to me, and began to browse the web a bit. And of course, as I often do, wound up on Pinterest. If you have not found your way there, a fair warning…once you jump down the rabbit hole, you’ll never leave.

So, I plug in, “peace looks like,” to the search bar. And the returns it came back with, gave me pause, and somehow surprised me. I am truly finding a sense of peace somewhat baffling, and also elusive. So, I figure, if I am exploring this subject, let me see what other people’s interpretations might be.

Most of the results were the same kind of thing. A beautiful sunset beach, a moonlit night, an ocean-view window with a book and a chair, a vibrant autumn forest, a warm fireplace with a pillow and a cup of tea nearby, or a boat on a placid lake. Sure, there were a few images of famous quotes, philosophical points about peace, a rare image or two of actual humans, scattered images of cute animals, people hugging animals, visualizations of the perfect body and build, and the occasional, obligatory, messages of world peace, and religious and political views and points. But it was mostly scenery. Beautiful, and admittedly, very peaceful looking scenery. But where are all the images of people? I found myself wondering, “isn’t it people that make up the majority of what peace looks like?” Could it really be that peace is merely about aesthetics?

I turned to my other half, on the end of our, thankfully temporary, long distance conversation, and posed it to him. “What do you think peace looks like?” And his response at first was, “I don’t know.” But after a few minutes of pause and thought, he continued, “An open field, green grass, and blue skies.”
Again, scenery.

The more I think about this subject, the more I question all that I have believed and took for granted a lot of my life. Ten years ago, five years ago, heck possibly even yesterday in that marshy mess, you probably would get a response from me, something like, “A cozy cabin on a calm, tree-lined lake.” Who could not think something like that, or the myriad of nature images I saw on those search returns could be anything but peaceful? But again, does peaceful-looking equate to peace? Does pretty=peace? Does perfect=peace? Does scenery create peace? I ask and ponder to myself again, is it all about the aesthetics? Have we all been drawn into the multitude of media images and flashes of colors and nature and tranquility into believing that where we are, will give us the peace we seek? Or worse, what we look like?  Good grief Charlie Brown!

Continuing my train of thought, I go with it, and process the line of thought through. So, if it is really all about the setting/appearances, then why is it, I think, that the people who seem most at peace, can be that way, even in the midst of chaos and pain? Why is it that many can be miserable, in turmoil, or just downright mean, in the middle of the most beautiful settings? Then, how can it truly be all about the surroundings? Maybe we all need to dig deeper…maybe I need to dig deeper.

Oh sure, a beautiful setting can definitely set the stage for peace, it can help, it can add to it, but, while I am here, struggling and wriggling in all of this entropy, the concept was still eluding me. Okay, so maybe I need to differentiate between what peace looks like, and what it actually *is*. Or maybe I just need to ask what peace looks like…to me. And that thought, leads me back to all those images I saw, and the fact that, somewhere in my heart, something kept tugging at me and asking, “but where are all the people, where is the love?” AH-HAH!

Love! Love?
Where is the love? Okay, yes that was a song, but lets glaze over that for now.
In all those interpretations, I think I only saw one, maybe two images of people hugging each other. The majority was the settings. And that is when it hit me. Simply the fact of the absence, of the concept of just love, led me to realize, that for me, peace=love. When I saw it missing, was when I realized it WAS missing. Not so much from my life, but from my interpretation of what peace really is to me, and perhaps from others. Could it really be that simple…did The Beatles have it right all along? Is that all we really need?

When I look back on my life, and my many memories, honestly, the ones that bring me the most peace, involved two things, all the rest is just greeting card baubles. People, and love. That is what made me feel at peace, feel complete, and feel happy. And sure, the very people we love, can also be the people that bring us chaos and pain. But, as it is typical for love, it can also bring us great peace. And I mean true love, the kind that lasts and endures, and accepts us as we are.

And then, another fact struck me as interesting (aside from the fact that I start way too many sentences with and…sorry.) All those images of cute animals that I saw. For so many people, it was animals, mostly pets, that they interpreted as what peace looks like. And (yikes) there you go! Why do we see them as the picture of peace? Unconditional love (and throw in a few of those AWWW-overload-on-cuteness sentiments!) We find peace and yes, love, in our pets so much, because they accept us just as we are, and love us unconditionally. Whether we wake up with crust in our eyes, hair in tangles, sweatpants and, until we get our coffee, downright Ms. (or Mr.) Crankypants-Greeting-Card-Lady; or we are freshly showered, hair combed, clothes tidy, and smiles back on our faces…there they are. Those precious, devoted pets, loving us just the same, either way. How much peace does it bring a person, to just be loved, no matter what, our flaws, talents, assets, negatives, and all! Isn’t that what we all long for, deep down? Does that concept, of having that between us and others, and even in ourselves, bring us feelings of completeness and peace?

So maybe this mystical, almost mythical-seeming critter of peace, is not as elusive as I thought. Maybe, as humans typically do, we are just over-complicating things. Perhaps, I do not need to look any further, than the lovable fluff-ball sleeping so blissfully next to me, that he is actually softly snoring. Or to the honey-voiced love-of-my-life that is on the other end of the line. Or the wonderful friend who has endured, in the worst moments, the true hellish times when most can be scarcely found. Yes, this once again leads to an inner process, a perspective on my part…and the fact that I really just need to evolve it. But, what it boils down to, is even though I merely just need to SEE it, for me, it really is simply that…
Yes…I think that is what it really does look like to me.

Okay, so, yes you will find me, at moments wanting to scream as I tug at my hair, in the middle of chaos, wondering once again how to find some peace, and where it has run off to. And yah, I will still stare wide-eyed at beautiful lakes and forests and dream of laying there with a good book and feeling calm and content. Yes, I will struggle with this concept again and again, because life is just like that. We can all be like this, we are all just human. But I do know this much, without love in my life, I can never find peace…true peace. And I mean love with others AND myself. For me, it encompasses all things. We wither without it, we blossom with it. The serendipity of it all, is its simplicity…which ones again leads us back to peace.

So, the next time you feel in turmoil, the next time I do, maybe I can hope that we can just find a way, in those grueling moments, to remember the love in our lives, past, present and future, and let that bring us, if even brief, moments of peace.

So, for now at least, I put this topic to rest, satisfied that while I understand it, and realize it, the process of living it is ever-challenging, and ever-evolving. Life is like that too.

I will grab my cup of tea, turn to my sweetheart to chatter a bit, feel the warm furry companion next to my leg, and feel the satisfaction of a day of hard work and a step closer to my completion goals. And in that love, that I find around and in me, still in the midst of all that chaos, I will have my moments of peace, even if it is a bit fickle.

So what does peace look like to you? What does it mean to you? This can be different for everyone, and that is okay. Just something to think about. This is just my piece, of peace.

Meantime, I wish you ( anyone reading this {{{again hearing crickets still}}} ) lots of peace (and forgive me for sounding like a Barney song) and lots of love, within, and without.


With warmth and thanks for reading,
Kat :@   ( –that is a pawprint =P )



P.S. If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I had originally written this piece yesterday, but WordPress and I did not get along well then. {grumble} So today, I had to completely rewrite, and reconstruct the whole thing. I think I might have had a few elements in it the first time, that I really loved, and I still wish I could recall and retell, BUT, the part that brings me peace (I smile as that word pops in again,) is that I am pretty happy with what I have now, perhaps not exactly the same, but expressing exactly what I was feeling, and the thoughts and conclusions they brought me to. Just another factor that makes me realize sometimes we all just need to breath, reboot, and find the place where our peace is hiding. 😉


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