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This is not meant to be an early holiday greeting. In fact, it is not about the holidays at all. It is about today and the world in which we live.

No one will refute the observation that our world – and just about everyone in it – is wrapped rather tightly these days, probably even more so than during the days after 9/11. Yes, there was anger, fear and uncertainty then but also a nation and a togetherness that saw the insanity of violence for what it was and a shared belief that we could and would deal with it.

In a sense we have, at least here at home. But what has happened to our economy, recent events in India, and the madness that continues in the Middle East and elsewhere, challenges us even more to confront our fears while clinging to a faith in humankind that tells us we and the world can be better than this.

It is not easy at the moment to find even a shred of hope for global peace. Perhaps that explains why I, when reading the morning headlines or watching the nightly news, catch myself remembering the tune, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” I have grown to know that I cannot change the world and that dealing with conflict on a global scale is bigger than any one of us. Sometimes I feel it is even bigger than all of us.

But on a personal level, when it comes to conflict, I have found I can find my own peace, or at least some semblance of it. Going inward, I can unwrap my own tightness by tending to my soul, hoping all the while that an other or even others can wish and work for the peace they sense in me – when I manage to find it even for a moment.

If I can provide a piece of peace within myself, I can know and be grateful that there is peace somewhere, at least.

It is difficult to make sense out of senselessness, but it is not impossible, even in these unsettling times, to monitor and manage self. Peace within can not promise peace all about, but within is where it must begin.