By Megan Elmore, Student Teacher at Life Academy
As I have been fasting, I have reflected on how I often respond to pain with anger or frustration. I currently feel pain in the form of stress, since I am often overwhelmed by how much work I do as both a student teacher and a masters student, and sometimes I respond to this stress by feeling irritable or depressed. I also felt pain while I was not eating, and I realized really early in my fast how much my body wants to immediately alleviate this pain. Though I was trying to stay occupied, I felt my mind nagging at me, “Food! You’re hungry! Go eat something!” I felt compelled to eat before I consciously recognized it, and it was frustrating to feel as though I was not in control.
At the ceremony on Friday I chose to reflect on the pledge to see the beauty in and empathize with everyone. I love that BAM and RAW have chosen this pledge as a motivation for our actions. After all, I do not live because of my pain – I don’t work for the purpose of being stressed out, and I am not defined by my hunger during this fast. I live for the pursuit of joy and fulfillment, and focusing on those goals in times of pain brings me peace.
I had a great opportunity yesterday, as I was grading, to reflect on the beauty of my students – I got to see their tenacity and artistry as I read their children’s books about chromosomes, and I was heartened to read about the times they have experienced joy through their catalysts about their favorite places. Thinking deeply about both the needs and the beauty of the people around us seems like a great way to find peace inside ourselves, and I believe inner peace projects itself to our community as we build peace around us.
I feel very fortunate to be working with a student body that is so self-reflective and focused on building a strong community, and I think this season of peace-building is succeeding in teaching us how to feel and then relieve pain healthily, by meeting violence with love and respect.
Please comment on this post if you supported today’s faster or fasted in solidarity with our movement.
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