Blog post contributed by Barbara B.

One of the prayers my church recites each week goes like this. “We pray to you, O Lord, for the peace of the world, that a spirit of respect and forbearance may grow among nations and peoples.” As I recited that litany last week I thought about the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea and how their goal and mine seemed to have a common theme. The goal of the Olympics is “to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

For me, prior to Feb. 9, such a idealistic goal seemed almost impossible. The current state of political divisions in the US is the worse I can remember during my lifetime, yet I believe we are in the best of times. Our culture, economy and social fabric has been torn into pieces with no one at the helm carefully picking up the fragile fabric and mending it back into a cohesive construct. At the local level, we seem more cohesive and intact, but at the national level, it seems so divisive. Our mission as a nation seems to me to be more about displaying strength instead of being strong, about building wealth instead of character, focusing on our differences than our similarities and concentrating on misunderstanding than understanding.

I remember a time when we discussed “politics” (and religion) around the dining room table, with friends and family. Sometimes it was difficult but we had a way of valuing each other’s principles, thoughts and beliefs. There may have been “red” and “blue” divisions, but at the end of our discussions we often were purple. How? Back in the day, I believe we believed we had more in common than not. Life was centered about caring for each other, our elderly, and protecting, educating and assuring a bright future for our children. We did not insist someone lose in order for another to win. I believe we were a stronger, more unified nation because of our differences and our willingness to listen to each other.  And now with the Winter Olympics approaching and the discussions about the ability of North and South Korea to tolerate each other or get along, I wondered what was going to happen. The media hyped their problems and concentrated on their critical differences. Even I, the optimist, began to wonder if a potential disaster would be the outcome of the Olympics.

olympic ringsThen the opening ceremony started with the motto of “Peace in Motion”, and there it was, a giant dove of peace as John Lennon’s “Imagine” was sung. The ancient Bell of Peace rang out in the opening ceremony. The “human spirit of perseverance” was in full display. The understanding that “Peace” was to be the prevailing thought and action in the coming days was uplifting. The young participants walked out, full of smiles and hope. Then, for the world to see, the South and North Korea athletes entered the stadium in unison, under the Korean Unification Flag. A divided country, much more divided than us, displayed professionalism, compassion, commitment to peace and harmony and courtesy to each other. I breathed a sigh of relief. Was it possible, peace had a chance on this tiny blue globe? As the games played on and people of all nations gathered to compete, they displayed amazing strength, fortitude and courage. Side by side they exhibited compassion thru exhilarating feats and defeats. I saw hugging, supporting, congratulating and empathy for the fallen. Then as incredible as that was, the Olympians continued to astonish and inspire me as the Korea national women’s ice hockey team, composed of players from both nations, stepped onto the ice. Their willingness to set aside differences allowed them to not only show their best, but be their best. All in all, true sportsmanlike conduct prevailed but more than that, a genuine civility permeated the air. Respect was fostered and peace and harmony was set to motion.

So I now have a renewed faith that by coming together with a commitment to foster humanity, civility and peace for our nation and her people, the USA can be re-united. And why not? If a small divided nation, the size of Utah, can show us how they set aside their differences for 17 days by agreeing on a common goal, commitment and clear guidelines, then there is hope we too can unite for the betterment of all. Let’s set peace in motion.

Barbara is the president of Wayfinding with Horses, Inc. trained in the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method, a retired Professional Engineer and Qi Gong Instructor but mostly she is a woman passionate about horses, their wellbeing and sharing their gift of strengthing relationships. The horses teach the clients to trust their true nature while interacting with them in the outdoor classroom.  Clients often report a heightened awareness about themselves, their surroundings and others while experienceing a deeper, more profound understanding of their relationships and connection to others.  Barbara lives at Wayfinding Farm, located near Ocala Florida.