Gray Skies and Peace

6 years ago

A gray day spent dealing with frustrations over computer glitches, rude people, and staff who are so quick to deny responsibility for a problem that they fail to listen or offer productive advice (their job - what my money is paying them to do.)

A day I dreaded, because I anticipated all of these problems and I have a bad temper, sometimes volcanic, one that can crumble into tears and that's especially triggered by rude people who don't do their jobs, by bullies, and by people who abuse their position or power.  

I didn't want to lose my temper today, although I think anger has its place, if it's justified and channeled into peaceful, productive action or awareness.

Which mine often isn't.

Peace. I want to be at peace...think peaceful, loving thoughts. I want to focus on my blessings.

Rude, uncaring people ruffle my peace and too often blind me to my blessings.

But that's my challenge. Something I have to learn to deal with and not allow, for the sake of my own spirit. I've gone the tit for tat route before; it doesn't make me happy, that's for sure, and never fixes a problem. Usually, it makes it worse.

“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

I spotted this on Facebook (thanks, Ellen!)... posted, I'm sure, in light of the tragic shootings in Tucson.

I've witnessed a lot of finger-pointing over the shootings.  It's true, many politicians and political commentators - red, blue and all colors in between - use incendiary rhetoric, toss off half-true accusations and insults and call each other names ... then off-camera they pat each other on the back, smile, shake hands. To them, it's just part of the job. A game, perhaps. A carry-over from their high school debate team days. They don't understand how their words are often seeds planting hatred and mistrust in frustrated people. 

I hope the shooting leads to an awareness of the problem, to verbal responsibility and a call for kindness among our lawmakers and media.

But remember "When you point a finger in blame at someone else, you have three more pointing back at yourself!"

If any of us nonpolitical types spouts off at someone else, calls someone an insulting name, forgets to put ourselves in their shoes or try to see an issue from any angle but our own, if we repeat the inflammatory stories (especially without checking the facts first) then I think we're also guilty of contributing to the dark energy that feeds people like Jared Loughner.

I promised myself that today I would remain calm. I prayed to be filled with love and understanding, with eyes open to my blessings, even as I was faced with a cold, gray day and potentially temper-triggering frustrations.

It was the least I could do for the victims of the shootings.

And it worked...for the most part.

I'm going to try it again tomorrow. What about you?

Barbara Shallue writes about her life at, shares photos and information about photography at and is contributing editor of

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