I like the idea of driving past the exit of fear and looking for the destination of peace instead. That makes me want to explore the word “peace” a little deeper.
In the Dictionary of Word Origins, Joseph T. Shipley says “See propaganda” when you look up the word “peace.” The word “propaganda” comes from pro, forth, + pago, paguere, pact, to fasten, to plant, whence propago, a layer, a shoot.
Lately, I have been practicing sharpening my senses. A beautiful quality of the body is that it can only be in this present moment, not the past, not the future. Paying attention to any one or several of my senses is a useful way to anchor me to the “now” (Eckhart Tolle refers to the present moment as “the now” in his book The Power of Now).
My mother-in-law was a wonderful gardener, and years ago she gave my partner an African violet. Last fall I began the practice of looking at this violet every day as a way to meditate. I noticed her leaves (the fuzz, the patterns, the beauty of the purple under the leaves, the different shades of green), how she grew leaves in threes, and the sweetness of a baby leaf unfurling from the center of the plant. In my mind, I named her Georgia. I hadn’t anticipated getting so attached to her in the process. Since the beginning of the year, Georgia has had four clusters of light purple blooms on her. She encourages me because she is such a little giver. She reminds me that even the simple things in life speak to me of joy and abundance if I take the time to slow down and soak them in.
My partner and I are separating and I have moved out. I had already looked up how to start a new plant from the shoot of an African violet leaf because I can’t take Georgia with me. But I will be taking a representative of the love that I have had, and will continue to have, but in a different way, from my partner and her family. So when I read about the origin of the word peace through propaganda, I immediately went to the idea of this literal shoot that I will be taking with me.
And that shoot steers me to the experience of peace.