Dona Nobis Pacem

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2012 by Travis Cody in

During my freshman football season, I had a particularly tough time with a basic play.  As a free safety on defense, part of my job was to come up in run support and contain the running back on a sweep.  I was supposed to protect the outside edge and either force back to the middle where the linebackers could make the tackle, make the tackle myself, or jam the back out of bounds.

I'd lose contain about 70% of the time in that first series of late summer practices before my freshman year in high school.  I was still learning, even though I'd been playing since I was about 8 years old.  The running back would make the corner, I'd lose the edge, and the corner back would have to come up and make the play.

I remember complaining to my coaches that if the running back was faster than I was - most were, which was why they were running backs and I was a safety - how was I supposed to get to the edge before he did?  Even worse...a fullback or a tight end always seemed to get there first and cut me at the knees.  How was I supposed to get to the edge, protect my legs, and still make the play?

My coaches told me to refuse to be blocked and get to the edge.  Just do it.

Now if you've played the game, you know the solution to that particular problem.  It's all about the angle you take to get to the spot.  If the other guys are faster than me on a straight line, then my only chance to beat them to the edge is to widen my path and be there waiting.  That starts with correctly reading the offensive formation, understanding where I needed to line up, then hustling to the spot.  Get there first, fend off the blocker, nail the back to the ground.

When I finally understood that solution, the rest was CAKE.

Well, it was easy as CAKE when I read the formation correctly.  When I missed a key, I could find myself in the wrong position to defend against a pass.  That was a whole other problem I had to solve.  But I was mostly successful, which is why I was a pretty good football player with a chance to play in college, if I hadn't had my knees destroyed.

Focus on solutions.  Solutions come from preparation. Preparation comes from data.  Data is readily available.  For a football player, data comes from film study and repetitive experience.  You watch the film, you identify the problem, and you figure out the solution.  Then you practice until you get it right more often than you get it wrong.

If I want peace, I've got to focus on the solutions to those things that threaten my inner peace, because peace can't ripple from me out to my expanded circle if I let things keep me from settling the peace in my own soul.
  • Data - I've got to be active in determining what is preventing me from having peace in my daily life.  Is it the traffic during my commute?  Is it the noise level in my office environment?  Is it the weather?
  • Preparation - I can't change the traffic or the noise or the weather.  So I've got to think about my attitude toward those things and determine what to do when they happen.  I need to understand the way I react when traffic sucks, or when my need for quiet conflicts with my colleagues' need to collaborate, or when it rains for 19 days in a row.
  • Solutions - The bottom line here is to counter the attitude I have in the moment about lousy traffic, a noisy environment, and rough weather.  I do that by trying to vary my commute times to slip into the quarter hours rather than the top and bottom of the hour when everyone else is trying to get to and from work.  I take a quick walk away from my work area when the noise level gets too hard to ignore and I can't keep focused on my own tasks.  And I find things in the weather to enjoy rather than dwell on the gray or the wet, like the clean smell of rain or sleeping on flannel sheets.
I don't always succeed.  And I'm constantly on the watch for different solutions.  I find that I have to change things up.  I also find that my normal solutions don't always walk me back from the ledge into a peaceful feeling.  Sometimes all I can expect is to be less aggravated.

That's OK.

If we accept that peace comes from within each of us, then we must first understand the things that keep us from achieving inner peace.  Once we know what keeps us from being peaceful in our individual souls, then we can focus on the solutions that bring us inner peace.

Once we secure our own inner peace, we can't help but radiate that out to those with whom we interact daily.  If we're calm and peaceful in our dealings with others, then we're not adding to the stresses that cause those others to lose their own inner peace.

So the next time you despair about all the things in the world that keep nations from being peaceful with each other, narrow your focus to the solutions you can apply to your own life to find your own inner peace.  Maybe you can't be in the room with world leaders when they try to address the complicated relationships between nations.  But it just may be that way back in time, a peace ripple began from you and reached through ever widening circles until it rested in that room.  And the person it touched is going to have a solution that leads to a peace. 

Remember that impossible only means that you haven't found the solution yet.

Dona Nobis Pacem


  1. Ivanhoe says:

    Wow, Trav! I did not know you played "big"! That was some determination and drive :)
    I think your peace plan is doable. Let's do it!
    Big hugs from Tampa,

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Peace to you and yours Trav. x

  1. I don't understand all of the mechanics and strategies of football. I just like to cheer for them when they're winning and yell at them and tell them what they're doing wrong when they're losing. :)

    Have a lovely Sunday, Trav!

  1. Great 'strategy' to get your point across....

    It is about being prepared and in some ways it also reflects my post today...prepare the next generation and Peace can be obtained.

    Dona Nobis Pacem

  1. Anonymous says:

    So thankful for today! And so thankful for the great thoughts you have! Life can be CAKE but we must work at it! Love how you still capitalize CAKE! *wink*

    Julie (Rose)

  1. Love your description of the practicalities of peace: Just Do It.

  1. Peace be with you and Pam. Great post and globe.

  1. I really enjoyed this, and it did open my eyes to some thinking about what keeps me from peace. I did take steps concerning the traffic. Although I can't avoid it completely I can alter the times I go in to work a bit and that often lets me miss the worst of the traffic. Still, I get frustrated when that doesn't work on one particular day.

  1. Annelisa says:

    I like this post, is thought provoking. I do try to find solutions myself, but it is good to remember that, when we can't change something, then find a way to acceptance. That is obviously not the case with peace...we can all do our bit. I like the idea of something you might do or say rippling through to a boardroom where peace is! :-D

    Peace to you!

    (A link to your post will be on "Peace Bloggers Unite" later)

  1. Not only did you teach me about football (thank you) but you gave me this gem:
    Once we know what keeps us from being peaceful in our individual souls, then we can focus on the solutions that bring us inner peace.

    I would have loved to see you play football (I never even knew there were "corners" to protect) Sad, I know.

    Dancing Bee is on the job once again, protecting his corner of the blogosphere with wisdom and wit. I am off to the Condo.
    It is a stellar day when Pam becomes a peace blogger!!!!
    (of course, she always really was anyway)

    Finding solutions. Brilliant and concise post. I am sharing with the outside world!

  1. I love all of your reflections about peace - way to peace blog! I especially love the quote "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way", on one of your globes. Great stuff.

  1. Susan says:

    I saw your comment on mine and came straight here! What a lesson from football--solutions may not have been achieved yet. Exactly: "If I want peace, I've got to focus on the solutions to those things that threaten my inner peace, because peace can't ripple from me out to my expanded circle if I let things keep me from settling the peace in my own soul." And so you offer the steps to a solution. And you are Right!

    I want to be on your team!

  1. Claudia says:

    I always forget that impossible means possible hasn't been found. Thank you for the reminder, Travis!

  1. Love your sharing about football. Our game face might look a certain way but if our heart isn't in it, we won't succeed. I am doing some reevaluating about myself also. I can't expect peace in the world if I am without my own inner peace. Peace to you and yours this November Sunday!!!

  1. Karen Jo says:

    Very thought-provoking post and lovely peace globe. Peace be with you, now and always.

  1. Cherie says:

    Great illustrations! We never know where the ripples we produce will go or the effect that they will have. Let them be for peace and serenity.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ya gotta know I'm gonna read a football post! Great story. Great plan. Great tips. Happy Peace Day. I didn't make cake this year. I made jewelry! GGG

  1. great posting.Peace be with you and Pam.

  1. I agree that peace comes from within and then radiates outward. Great football story, too. I enjoyed this! Peace to you!

  1. Travis, I love this post. If it was easy, the greatest minds of the world would have figured out a path to peace by now. Does that mean we can't work on it in the meantime?

    Of course not.

    Let's blog for peace. That's something we can do.

    Peace to you and Pam with love.

  1. Wonderful analogy.

    Happy BlogBlast4Peace day to you!

  1. I think your football analogy was terrific. I like your plan!
    Thanks for coming by.
    Naila Moon

  1. Clooney says:

    Great post for BlogBlast for Peace. Dona Nobis Pacem.

  1. Michelle says:

    Trav... not a clue about the game, but I loved the sentiments and concept. Bravo!

    Love and best peace blessings to ou.


  1. jabblog says:

    Wonderful! The answer lies within each individual and together we will achieve peace.

  1. sounds like your coach challenged you to be the best you could be and allowed you to find your own solution/s. glad you were able to work past your problem and play throughout high school. sorry your knees gave out before college.

    loved your peace post below. some of those quotes were powerful. hope all is well. have a great day~

    thanks for stopping by my blog...

  1. Bing Yap says:

    deep, poignant thoughts that are so true... i like the idea of a peace ripple... yes, it all should start from within us. great peace post!

  1. Jeni says:

    That really puts a whole lot of meaning and a slightly different, but very effective, spin on the "Let peace begin with me!" Very good, very wise words, my friend.

  1. "Once we know what keeps us from being peaceful in our individual souls, then we can focus on the solutions that bring us inner peace."



  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree, sort out your own inner peace first. For if we do not have inner peace we then disrupt others inner peace and a knock on effect can start wars on all levels. It is a wonderful goal to let our inner peace be not ruffled by the outside goings on of the world or storms of life we find ourself in. Thank you, a wonderful post for peace.