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In his LETTER FROM THE BIRMINGHAM JAIL, Dr. King asks us, “So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love?”
In 1997, I made the conscious choice to be an extremist for love. At the time I did it because I held M.K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in such high esteem that I decided to follow in their footsteps. I decided to learn to BE the peace I wanted to see in the world. I had no idea how completely that commitment would transform me. I wasn’t expecting profound transformation in every area of my life.
Looking back, I can see that in my commitment to living a nonviolent life I aligned myself with Love. Because my commitment was genuine, I was lifted by all those who went before me including Dr. King, Gandhi, Jesus, and Buddha. I began to become aware that every decision I made, every intention I had, for myself, towards the world, fell into one of two categories: violent or nonviolent – loving or unloving. I saw that every choice was one for Oneness or separation. That’s when I realized that nonviolence is love. Living a nonviolent life meant agreeing to choose love in every situation, in every moment, to the best of my ability. Sometimes that meant choosing extremism.
Life got very clear very quickly for me. My awareness of the myriad choices in a given moment was heightened. I no longer had the luxury of being angry about petty things or being irritated by others unloving choices. Taking offense was out of the question. I even became a vegetarian–something I had vowed I would never do. I saw that not recycling was violence against the earth. I became aware that my negative self-talk was a form of violence. Violent movies held less appeal for me. Day by day I became more loving.
The most amazing part of my journey towards living a wholly loving life is that it costs me nothing. Everything I’ve given up has been pretty easy and has made my life more vibrant, more fulfilling, and measurably more enjoyable. I wonder, why wouldn’t I want to live a nonviolent life? Why wouldn’t I want to be aligned body and soul with a consciousness of Love? If only someone had clearly shown me the choice sooner. If only that’s what we taught our precious children on the first day of school.
Today I choose to be extremely nonviolent by being extremely loving and compassionate. I choose Love and Love chooses me and the transformation continues!
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