The Journey – a short story

When the young woman stooped once more to greet the old woman at sunset, the old woman lifted her deep brown eyes and returned the greeting.
For a brief moment the young woman was too surprised to answer. She had become so used to the silent ritual, that she was now taken aback, doubly so, because the old woman spoke her mother tongue. She asked:”Why did you not speak to me before?”
“I only speak to people, who prove, that they are serious about it. Why have you come here?”
“I… I don’t know… I have traveled far and wide to find out, why I want to be a peaceful person, when I seem unable to be peaceful. I feel anger rising, I feel hatred beating and sometimes the darkness inside me is all consuming. Why cannot I decide to get rid of these stupid emotions. Why do I loose my temper. Why do I not love everyone. Why are there people and incidents that make me terribly angry?”
The old woman smiled and fixed her eyes on the young woman like she wanted to search her soul in a playful, soft way – and then – she laughed – a loud, clear, ringing laughter. Seeing the young woman’s confusion and even hints of anger the old woman said still smiling broadly: “But you are a human. You are a human in all shades and colours – in all keys, chords and melodies.”
Seeing that the young woman was still puzzled, the old woman took pity and added: “See a tree… when it grows, it will try to grow straight and high. Yet when the wind blows, it rocks back and forth. For if it didn’t, it’s branches would break.
Now if you worry about what you call dark – which is mostly dark because humans have made it dark and unlawful – it is part of you.
You can try to ignore it, you can get angry about it or you do get angry – rock back and forth – and learn from it – gain  understanding and find a way to deal with it, if need be.
But sometimes it is enough to acknowledge it’s existence to pull out it’s thorn. Sometimes these emotions are justified and mean nothing less, than that you care about yourself and that you might need to protect yourself from someone or something. If you take these occasions as impulse, as indication of what you might need or where you might have neglected some of your needs – than you will be fine.
Because to be at peace with yourself is essential, if you want to be at peace with others. Scold yourself and you will sold others, disrespect yourself and you will disrespect others. Love yourself and it will be a lot easier to love others.
But do not believe, that you have to love everyone or like everything or even care for everything. You are not only a human, you are also an individual – a unique person with unique likes and dislikes, with unique melodies and harmonies. It is impossible and unnecessary to embrace everyone and everything.
But by not violating yourself – you are most likely not to violate others. Likewise, if you take care that others don’t violate you, you are most likely to be at peace.
Peace is not about denying your nature. It is about decisions – it is about mindfulness for yourself and for others.”


journey-flower by Ellie Salome PA.

 photos: © Ellen Paschiller, repro: © Nachlass Annemirl Bauer


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