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Politics, Perspective and Peace

by Shayne Traviss

Each and every one of us has a different story; people and experiences that have shaped and shifted our understanding of ourselves and the world that surrounds us. There are as many perspectives as there are people. And it’s our inner perspective that narrates our outer world. How we react and or respond to any given experience. And if not careful we can become projectors of our own inner perspective and require that others comply to be accepted. Often times making those that don’t agree (comply) “the enemy”.

And whenever there is an enemy. There is war.

Today, and throughout history we have experienced unrest, conflict and even death due to our differences in perspective. War that begins within as an uncomfortably of perspective, continues, if we have the courage as a dialogue between points of difference, and often amplifies into a game of perspective ping pong with the desired outcome that someone wins in the end.

But when we are at war no one wins.

As human beings each one us want to be seen and heard. And it takes courage to speak our truth (perspective). Often times creating an inner conflict, anxiety and fear that can translate differently to whomever we are in communication with.

Our truth can be projected as a plethora emotional energy and filter through another’s perspective contingent upon their collective story (perspective).

Man oh man it can get complicated. Hurt people, unconsciously, and sometimes consciously, hurting people. Differences of perspective hitting all kinds of triggers and setting off bombs of emotions and projections everywhere.

And I don’t claim to be the expert on any of this. But have been working, through self-inquiry, on my own perspective.

I’ve previously and recently been caught up in the act of creating internal and external war. Allowing my story, triggers, and perspective to take the driver’s seat without giving the other(s) space to express theirs.

Our communication becomes clouded with; ignorance, judgment, protection and projections. Conservatives are this. Straight men are that. And in reverse; Liberals are this. And Gay men are that. I used these examples because they are close to my heart, however each of us will have different polarities and our prospective within.

But to me the key to creating peace within, and without, is engaging in the uncomfortable conversations with those whose perspectives differ from our own. Really taking the time to listen and respond versus wait to talk and react.

And what I’ve learned in the process is; that we are more alike than we are different. And that what separates us, what creates the resistance to peace between us, is our fear of our own voice, our projection of that fear and our inability to put our judgments aside and just listen.

As John F. Kennedy once said;

“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”

And so let it be our mission to practice being open to peacefully changing opinions (including our own), eroding old barriers (including our own) and building new structures that work for all of us, not just for some of us.

We’re in this together,


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