Every year about this time, we get to read all about which celebrities gave the graduation address at which school, blahblahblah, etc. etc. etc. Usually it's the same tired platitudes about how higher education gives you such a big advantage in the workplace, you're the future of America, yaddayaddayadda, but every once in awhile, someone cuts to the heart of the matter and delivers an undeniable truth, such as Joss Whedon in his address to the graduates of Wesleyan University: "Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better."
Normally I don't bother reading these speeches because of the aforementioned tired platitudes, but being a huge fan of Firefly, I felt compelled to see what Whedon had to say to these newly-minted graduates. The idea of being at peace with the unpeaceful isn't foreign to me at all, being a yoga practitioner (albeit an admittedly lazy one) and a reader of Buddhist teachings, but seeing it in Whedon's speech sorta hit me upside the head with a shovel. Yeah. Make peace with the part of you that can never be at peace.
Which part, though? I seem to have several. There's always something somewhere I'm just not at peace with, because I tend to want everything to be just so, and of course it never is. And if I do manage to make peace with it, it's only temporary. But I guess that's why they call it "practice." As a friend's young daughter recently pointed out, practice doesn't make perfect, but it does make progress. Logically I know that's true; however, I'm not generally long on patience and I'm constantly wanting the wheels of progress to turn just a little faster, thankyouverymuch. Add that to my list of unpeaceful things to make peace with.
I suppose there is some freedom in accepting that there will always be conflict somewhere, because even when one problem gets solved, at least one more seems to take its place, forever and ever, amen. Some days it seems like an endless parade. And other days . . . well, other days there's a glimmer of hope, a sliver of peace, which makes the practice all worthwhile and reminds you why you make the effort in the first place.
Till next time ---- make peace with the unpeaceful, and aim to misbehave.
(You can read more about Whedon's speech here.)