Five Quotes on Peace, Love, and Kindness...and why I think we need more of it

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive."
The Dalai Lama

I cried today. I haven’t done that in a while. My mind—and heart—are still reeling from the recent shootings in the movie theater in Colorado. What a horrific, selfish, and senseless act. I still cannot believe this actually happened (another one). It prompted me to write this post, but at the same time I don't want to focus on the shootings...especially not on the shooter himself; there's enough of that in media right now and for days to come. My thoughts and prayers are with the dead and injured, and their families and friends.

It's unbelievable to me that this keeps happening. It really is. I can't help but wonder what the hell is wrong. And I know that there is no simple or single answer. Today, in many instances, violence is not only encouraged but actually glorified. Our society is out of balance.

I've thought about this a lot in the last couple days. My soul weeps for the families and victims. While these random shootings seem to happen more and more frequently, this one in particular has hit me hard. It's overwhelming. I can't imagine what the people who are close to the injured and murdered are going through.

What is really frustrating is that I personally feel as if I can't do anything; likely others feel the same. What about the next one, I sometimes wonder? It is overwhelming to me. But the more I thought about it the more I realize that I can do something, even if it is little tiny steps. But I have to start small...with me. For it is the small and seemingly insignificant acts of kindness that can really make a difference. Changing ourselves from the inside out—treating each other with more kindness and compassion on a daily basis—can really make a difference, I believe. We, as a society, have to's our only hope for survival. We sometimes worry about terrorism from other lands, but at this pace we are going to implode within our own borders. To paraphrase a Minister whom I've seen speak on the subject of peace a few times, “Our country knows how to wage war—and on a grand scale—but what we really need to do is learn how to wage peace.”

It is highly unlikely that anyone close to the people in the shootings is reading this. But in the rare chance that you are, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. And though we will likely never meet, know that through your loss I plan on making personal changes—however small—which, in turn, will hopefully make changes around me and elsewhere. I am so truly sorry for your loss.

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood."
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."
Mother Theresa 

"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."
 The Dalai Lama 

"As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency."
Caroline Kennedy

"Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate."
Albert Schweitzer