LETTER – about peace and about war – about the truth and about failure
July 15th, 2019
This is about peace and about war.
It’s about the truth and about failure.
This letter is about the truth. It took me quite a while to write these words and most of all to find the right words; I wrote this letter over the last two years; over and over, again and again. I am sure it still can’t put into words what I experienced artistically, but most of all humanly while digging into this gigantic word called “PEACE“.
For all the people out there who have been following this project, for all those who supported and welcomed me with open hearts and open arms and, as well for all those who never heard about it – it is important to me to share the following.
Back in 2016 I witnessed a Presidential Election with an unknown outcome on world peace and a world with multiple crisis on the brink of war. That made me reflect on the topic of peace and I launched the #WhatBringsPeace project.
#WhatBringsPeace – a project exploring the panhuman quest of peace and as a consequence sheds light on the topic of war.
I won’t explain the content of the project here, as by now this is of no importance to what I wish to share.
The major thing I learned through my “#WhatBringsPeace?“ project was the notion of the world “failure“ and its core extent. After all I understood this word differently than ever before, not negative as often defined by our society where we mostly learn that failure is equal with not succeeding, not reaching the goal of something (that most of all our ego wants so badly). I defined “failure“ in a new way for me: That there is no failure!
Looking back, I think I have a better understanding of what happened. There are no goals, and there is no such thing as succeeding – there is just experience, adventure, reflection and emotion. No project ever works out the way you plan it. A goal always transforms itself – grows or diminishes.
A form stays the same. The only thing that changes is our vision of that form.
“Failure, goals, succeeding“ etc. – are all definitions that are often implying certain personal or societal judgments or added definition values of good or bad, positive or negative, black or white. Now I see them as experiences; nothing more and nothing less.
I experienced to look further beyond my ego, my limiting beliefs, my illusions, my own suffering, my sadness and to understand the dimension of deception. It turned me further into the artist I am today. It made me start to paint and draw.
I chose to give up everything for this project: my studio, my house, indebted myself, left for never ending travels around the globe and most of all, I didn’t listen to my friends warning me; until I was burned out.
With no home, without money, without a studio to be able to produce art in and tons of debt on my back, I felt horrible: I felt that I deceived everybody who was involved and believed in this project. I felt that I let down all the people whom I interviewed, who shared with so much honesty and open hearts their private stories with me and who constantly put me to tears after the interviews.
I was disappointed with myself and I judged myself as having “failed completely.“
I landed on my knees in Slovenia at my grandmother’s house, where I slowly put my pieces back together bit by bit while drawing in the garden. Nevertheless, all the inner war that I fought inside myself brought me closer to my questions on peace.
We live in a world full of dualities, which we can’t escape. They are inseparable. Therefore peace and war are inseparable. I asked for peace – so I had to experience war within me in order to get answers to my questions of peace. We all chose to play this “game”.
I believe you have to choose inner peace – you have to choose wanting to be in peace and in joy. I am aware that this must be impossible for people who face war every day. All those people who struggle everyday, who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, who are being persecuted and who live in fear.
Though through some of my interviewees I learned that it is not impossible to come closer to inner peace even after having lived in war. (E.g. the Forgiveness Project)
I want to say that this project was not about finality and finding THE one answer was never the aim. It was about asking a finally not so simple question: what brings peace?
I am sure we all do experience several inner wars during our lifetimes – but I am not always sure if we question, interrogate and reflect on them – or if we just try to shovel them under the rug and move on – hoping that one-day they will disappear by magic. Well they won’t!
Maybe nobody feels in total peace with themselves but I am very sure too that not so many people asked themselves what truly brings them peace or why they are in war?
The importance of this letter to me lays in the act of setting this project free, of passing it on to you, of sharing the truth and of openly and honestly talking about the word “failure“.
Today this project doesn’t include anything but one question.
There is no sculpture, no interviewees, no statements and no traveling. I am confident that the question of what brings peace will travel and be read by those who are meant to read it. By those who reflect on themselves and who observe the world.
“What brings peace to you?“
This project was never mine – and I had to understand that. The “I“ was never important in it – but the question was and is.
I hope it will live on and that you, while reading this, will start to reflect on “What brings peace to you?“ Right at this moment, tomorrow or in three years.
#WhatBringsPeace and all the people involved – thank you for having taught me so much on a human level and thank you for redirecting me back to simplicity, back to the essential.
…With a little bit more peace within me, thanks to all of you,
Annina Roescheisen (July 2019)
Nowadays I try to see my life as experiences without judging them. Sometimes it works and sometimes I fall back into my old patterns of fear and insecurity. Well that is my experience to do so and I try to accept that.
I feel we rarely talk in public about things, projects, events where we didn’t succeed, where we by societal definition: we failed.
Through all of you, looking back today, I realize that I got exactly what I asked for: more knowledge, more insight, more peace by going through a bit of war and a giant life experience.
And if this project might mainly was meant to be only my project or in other words said: my inner reflections on peace and war – than this is one reason more for me today to set this project free, to pass it on – so that it can become yours now.
Photocredit: Matthieu Khalaf