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September 6, 1999 - Fall Equinox 1999

" Peace is not the absence of conflict,
but rather knowing how to deal with it."

-- Virginia Satir

" When people show you or tell you
who they are, believe them."

-- Maya Angelou

"...sing with joy, a new beginning..."

-- Rabbi Robert Barr
and Bonia Shur

Fall Equinox 1999

Peace Everlasting

In many cultures throughout the world, the Fall Equinox signifies a clarion call for the review of what we have created while navigating this voyage we call life. We are afforded yet another yearly opportunity to examine the consequences of the choices we have made to date. We can also, if we dare, dive into the uncharted waters of viewing and then doing things in a way we never have before.

As I look back on my own life, I realize that many of the events, circumstances and issues I struggled with revolved around one central issue: a deep desire for peace. This was so from the time I was very young, and I have often wondered why. Growing up as the oldest of seven children and being a member of an extended family which population-wise was tantamount to a small village certainly contributed to this core aspect of my personality. During my teenage and early adult years I was actively involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements. I was among the throng of young people who boarded buses to the now historically famous March on Washington. I helped to organize and then participated in the New Orleans peace walk which began on St. Charles Avenue and culminated on Canal Street in front of the Royal Orleans Hotel, where from a balcony Spiro Agnew, the Vice President of the United States at the time, called our group "effete intellectual snobs". I ventured back to the land and upon my return to Cincinnati assisted in the founding and funding of a center for alternative resources that remains viable and valuable today.

Then, like many people of my generation, I got divorced, remarried, had children, and then got divorced again. In the course of these transitions I inserted myself into a lifestyle that would be considered by most people to be mainstream. I discovered that I could not, or more accurately would not, adapt to the model of behavior for success and societal acceptance dictated by our current culture. For the most part, I found that many of the values which form the basis of our system are continually being turned and twisted so as to foster divisiveness, insecurity, inequality, hypocrisy, greed and violence, qualities which are obviously counter to the furtherance of individual and global peace. Clearly, the methods others and I had employed to reverse this trend, though making some sort of difference, were not the answer.

So, after all this time, while I still actively cherish the attainment of peace for myself and others, my approach has changed. My daily life is no longer based in adamant protest and resistance, but rather an acceptance of how things are and working from that place with a new perspective of what peace actually is.

Realizing that peace is not the antithesis of conflict has profound implications on an individual, societal and universal level. In my personal life I spent years placating and mollifying others as well as avoiding confrontation in order to "keep the peace". With much chagrin I must admit that the only result of doing so was that I developed an unusually high tolerance for inappropriate behavior on the part of others instead of obtaining the peace for which I so yearned. Painfully I learned that avoiding or repressing anger and resultant violence did not make it go away but rather fester until it erupted again with consequences far more profound than would have occurred had the issue been directly confronted when it first appeared. Similarly, I realized that peace on a societal and global level cannot be forced or legislated, nor is being passive commensurate to being a pacifist.

This year the Fall Equniox occurs at 7:31 AM EDT on September 23. The celestial energies that commenced at the time of the last Eclipse of this millenium will be in affect coalesced at this time, providing us with the opportunity to further re-examine and then take active responsibility for how we conceive of and consequently create peace in our lives. In so doing, surely we will all access the endless wellspring of joy that resides within each of us which is the only true source of enduring and everlasting peace.

© Kristina Strom

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