Peace in pieces


This is the second reflection I wrote down following a process group whose conversation centred on the war between Russia and the Ukraine. As I prefaced in the first, they are not meant to make sense politically of all that’s going on, but rather are parts of me coming to terms with and making sense of myself and my life in this context of war.


My hope is that they might help you make sense of some things again, too.


(The first reflection can be found here: https://www.thomasrowlandcounsellingservices.com/post/the-tyrant-within.)


I’m all rage. All hate.

I’m all guilt and shame.

I’m all thankful, all hopeful.

All despair. All grief. I am numb.

How dare he? How could this be? How can we?

I am all terror and fear.

Where will this end?


We all say our piece. Our piece of the disparate whole that is fragmented, as our very selves are, and is slowly being put back together again even in our conversation. Perhaps, together, we can hold it all. And then might I.


Of course, we seek solutions. Fixes. To the symptoms. To the causes. To pick up the pieces of our shattered assumptions. If only. That’s what you get if. The frustration too is voiced: ‘Who are we? What change can we make?’


I want to sit with the fragmented shards a while. Wait and listen. But listen for, to what? The un-answering, vacant voice of peace. Where are you?


One animated voice calls us forth towards hope: ‘Engagement!’. This war cry urges the creation of something new, as-yes unknown, an alternative. An alternative is a threat that will fragment us further as much as it heals.


Another voice calls us forth towards the ‘we’. The ‘we’ who made the conditions in which war was possible, acceptable, even called forth. We fragment ourselves daily with our assumptions, conditions and values. We participate in and co-create these each day.


We move to the war within and between our loved ones. We explore new ways to engage. New cocreations. New dances to dance. Can we meet on some ground. Can we make space for peace?


I wonder about the wars within. How might I dance new dances with myself? How might engage with me and co-create something new, rather than the same old conditions, values and assumptions that end in fragmentation and shattering. Where can the disparate parts of me find some shared ground for peace? Perhaps its shared compassion, or cherishing. ‘We all were needed and all bring our part.’ Perhaps its realisation’s regret, ‘We just can’t live like this any more.’


As I read this reflection again, I’m reminded of an episode of This Jungian Life (https://thisjungianlife.com/episode-179-war/ ) that suggests that the devastation of war is, at least in mythology, inseparably linked to the creation of something new that the collective somehow need. This creation of something new often requires the total destruction of war upon our assumptions, conditions and values.


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