I have a little bumper sticker that says, Begin Within, and that idea is the foundation of my style of my Peaceful activism.
My personality style (and believe me, I have taken ALL the tests) is Peacemaker. The keyword in each of the different profiles is non-confrontational. The natural me seeks a calm, grounded, centered life, and I felt bad about that for the longest time! I wanted to be the courageous, marching powerhouse getting arrested for what she believes in. But I wasn’t that.
How could I call myself a peacebuilder if I wasn’t excited about standing on the front lines confronting injustice head-on? How could I call myself an advocate if I didn’t lock arms with those who have experienced injustice and march with them to fight?
That old imposter syndrome hit hard, and I struggled to understand my place in the peacemaking world. I didn’t want to be someone who simply talked about Peace in round table conversations. I wanted to actively move the world in the direction of peace, but I didn’t know how to do it in a way that felt natural to me.
It was when I found Intentional Creativity and experienced the heart change that happens with deep inquiry that I knew I had found my style of activism. Offering these incredible tools for self-discovery and holding a safe environment to do the work allows for private and deeply personal examination of all the aspects of belief systems and life choices without ridicule or judgment. Providing this sanctuary creates an openness for change and allows me to share new ideas for my beloveds to consider.
Years ago, I read something that has stayed with me for much of my adult life and that I have used as a guidepost which is “You can’t unhear something.”
For the longest time, it helped me hold myself back from speaking unnecessary and potentially harmful things to the people I love. But as I pondered it, I realized that to ask a simple question without expecting a response is a powerful way to share an idea that may conflict with someone’s deeply rooted belief system and allow them to consider alternate ideas. For example, a question as simple as, “What if that isn’t true?”
My paintings are the outcome of the deep inquiry I am doing around my personal belief system. I desire that they project the same questions out to viewers sparking their internal reflections. I ask questions that can’t be unheard through my art and in discussions about the paintings. I have witnessed a light come on with those viewing the art; it is powerful!
I am so grateful for those who stride to the front lines, signs in hand, and those who step into politics to influence change. I’m inspired by the speakers, challengers, and line crossers whose bravery takes my breath away. However, I have found that the work I am here to do is the quieter work of holding space, offering inquiry, sharing images that stir the imagination, and supporting those who are questioning their “truths” as they traverse their path to personal peace. I believe we cannot have peace and justice in the world without activists doing this behind-the-scenes inner work supporting the larger vision of world peace.
My activism is to provide image, sanctuary, and inquiry to those who are ready to Begin Within.
Virginia Masson – The Peace Muse
“World Peace Begins with Inner Peace”
-The Dali Lama