Last night on my drive home from the Team Nor'Easter social night at Peak Performance Multisport, U2 came on the radio and I found myself, all of a sudden, listening. I was struck, because oftentimes, especially when driving, I'm deep in thought (or something like that) and completely unaware of what is being said or sounding around me. But with a first line going something like, "I'm sick of hearing again and again that there's never gonna be peace on earth," and Bono's continuous plea to "move on" from the pain of it...I was compelled to listen.
I've heard this song, "Peace on Earth/Walk On," before, though have never really thought much about it. But tonight I was coming from a positive, spirited, running and triathlon social event, and all was well in my world. I felt content. The song got me thinking about the possibility of peace on earth. What would that be like? I mean, seriously, can you imagine? Can you imagine Israelis and Palestinians peacefully crossing over shared borders; or Iraq and Afghanistan not as war zones; or Africa as a united continent, all people relishing the natural world and cooperating as needed? It's pretty amazing to stop and really think about it; to see it.
Since the beginning of time artists have implored the world to make peace. Through lyrics, music, paintings, drama and poetry, they expose their perspective of reality and try to create something different. Or they question what is. I mean for chrissake, on my way to work this morning Bob Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind" came on. "...and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows too many people have died..." This could have been written today except it was sometime in the late sixties. Long story short, the issue, the longing for peace, is timeless.
The predominance of the artists' need to have it be different and to publicize it, is what I find most intriquing. What about the rest of the world? Where are their (our) perspectives and voices, whether verbal or otherwise? Or maybe it's just that I am most touched by the artists' comments.
Regardless of the vehicle to denounce war and conflict, when it comes to solutions, I think John and Yoko had it right - imagination is the way to go. And here is where and how athletes can emerge and have their speak, assuming peace is a goal.
We've all heard about Olympic athletes using visualization before a key event to 'see' themselves in the winning position. Educators, behavioral psychologists and yoga practitioners all use the power of the mind to create change. Elizabeth Quinn in her piece on "Improve Your Sport Performance with Visualization Techniques" says:
An athlete can use this technique to 'intend' an outcome of a race or training session, or simply to rest in a relaxed feeling of calm and well-being. By imagining a scene, complete with images of a previous best performance or a future desired outcome, the athlete is instructed to simply 'step into' that feeling. While imagining these scenarios, the athlete should try to imagine the detail and the way it feels to perform in the desired way.
So what about 'stepping into' peace, people? It's an incredibly far-fetched and simplistic idea....and what about it? If you, the athlete, close your eyes, and imagine for even just a moment, a peaceful planet; that is far-away lands, people and governments using their words and reaching collaborative solutions, not war; and closer to home, families, communities, competition, and employment working harmoniously. Imagine armies laying down arms and people cooperating. It really is rather mind-boggling.
I suspect, as we hold out hope and practice these images, in even a small way, things will get better. So go ahead. Just imagine.