Peace is an alluring concept and something that I have always had a fondness for because of my name – Irene. Irene or Eirene was the Greek Goddess of peace, and I have always felt pretty privileged to get this as my epithet. Whether we actually live up to the supposed meaning of our names or not, I like that I have an admirable one to live up to. And the appeal of being peaceful must have been pretty strong in Ancient Greece, when most afternoon activities revolved around war in some shape or form. Peace provides a welcome contrast, a silencing of battle and a rush of calm. I’m sure Irene was a welcome sight to many.
Being peaceful is easy to understand when you think about the life of a standard Ancient Greek. At war equals a lack of peace. Not at war equals peace. It was a simple equation; a black and white construct. However, coming from a 21st century young female perspective the idea of peace isn’t as clear cut. We have an idea of what peace is, we use the word frequently enough yet the real difference now is that peace is a flickering thing. It’s inconsistent, it’s of the moment and it does not last. We can grab little bits of it here and there, but it quickly fades out and is lost again.
The inconsistency of peace may seem like a negative thing but I think for anybody already in a pretty lucky position, too much peace can be a debilitating thing.
Being in a perpetual state of peace does not mean that you are leading an entirely fulfilled life.
In fact, I think that being constantly at peace could inevitably lead to an even more dissatisfactory life.
Personally, I can say that I’m a pretty peaceful person. I don’t like conflict with people, I don’t debate often and I let some things pass to keep the peace. I always strive to arrange my life so that I can have a routine; I’m rarely caught off-guard or feel as though I’m all over the place. For one of the first times in my life I’m at a pretty peaceful working/life stage too – I’ve gotten a good chunk of travel done and I have the first job I actually like. While these facts haven’t completely changed my life, I do feel momentarily a little calmer and peaceful about my life status.
And I do believe in striving to have peace in your life. That weekly yoga class or that afternoon where you leave your phone behind are vital things for leading a peaceful life. Yet, if everyone only ever strived for peace this would significantly mar our personal, professional and political progress, would it not?
Taking conflict head on can be more beneficial than deciding to be peaceful about everything as it stands.
We should listen to those little niggling discontents in our minds. Admitting to yourself that while you technically have everything that you need, you might actually be a bit bored, under-challenged or in need of a change. While previously you may have been at peace with what you have, eventually you will want more. It’s this drive that could make you quit the job you hate, do something adventurous or completely switch paths. Doing these brave things can only eventually give you a greater sense of peace as it diminishes the chance of regrets.
So, listen to those little day dreams and doubts. You don’t always have to feel peaceful. Sometimes, change is good. It reminds us that we’re alive and that things are constantly evolving. If you can brave a little bit of a challenge, go for it and put the peacefulness on hold for a bit. Just don’t completely forget your yoga practise or weekly me time – a little peace is always necessary!