#PeacefulMondays: How to lead a life uncommon

We’ve had a week where Catalonia wants to break away from Spain, Kurdistan pushes forward in breaking away from Iraq, and Nigeria and Cameroon deal with protesters who want to break away from their ruling governments.

According to this New York Times article, security forces have been accused of killing protesters in both Nigeria and Cameroon, and neither nation’s government has engaged in meaningful dialogue with residents who want to form their own country.

That’s three flashpoints on three different continents. All while Europe and the US continue to deal with Brexit and internal divisions respectively.

Most of us don’t pay attention to these news headlines. Our lives are hectic and stressful enough, aren’t they?

But I bring them up for a reason.

Not so we spring into action over them, but to remind us not to take our relatively peaceful lives for granted. The world seems to be more restless than usual, pushed and pulled by multiple forces of change and inequality. If we live in a blessed bubble of safety and security, it’s worth remembering that keeping the peace isn’t a passive act.

As singer Jewel stated in her song “Life Uncommon”:

There are plenty of people who pray for peace

But if praying were enough it would have come to be

Peace is far from passive. For instance,

– Our personal journeys from pain to peace are roller coaster rides, filled with the uncertainty of whether we’ll ever rid ourselves of that pain.

– Colombia endured the longest armed conflict in the Americas, beginning in the mid-1960s and only just adopting a peace accord in November 2016. Along the way, there were countless discussions and long-drawn negotiations toward the vision of a lasting peace.

– Even countries or states that enjoy peace do so only because of active (national) security forces protecting their people, property and sovereignty.

So…

What do we do with this fact? How do we practice that peace and make it more active, more real, more consequential in our daily lives?

I return to the same Jewel song above:

Fill your lives with love and bravery

And we shall lead a life uncommon

Let’s start there, with the qualities of love and bravery. Qualities that seem to be in short(er) supply these days.

Love for ourselves, our countrymen, our planet.

Bravery in the face of extreme voices, hateful acts, misguided laws.

And through that active love and bravery, the collective tide of our life uncommon will lift all boats.

Questions to ponder

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About the author

Maya Mathias

Maya Mathias is a global leadership veteran, with a life and career spanning 3 continents and 5 inspired self-reinventions. She is a peaceful leadership advocate and mentor, bringing her unique blend of East & West to her leadership development and innovation management practice. Maya’s life began with a lower-middle class upbringing in Asia, surrounded by poultry & vegetable farms and the ‘simple life’. She doesn’t forget her humble roots, and her body of work seeks to bring more equality, justice and personal purpose in troubling times. Learn more about Maya here.

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