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Posts tagged ‘Peace’

Radical Peace

“The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.” – Carlos Santana

After Jesus rose from the dead, He visited the apostles three times. They were locked in a room in fear. The first thing Jesus said when he appeared each time was “Peace be with you.” Since he wasn’t there the first time, Thomas didn’t believe until he touched His hands and side the next time Jesus returned. Then he believed, only when he saw Him. The third time, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on to them to remain with them and the world, the thread to make the Birth, Death and Resurrection alive to us today if we allow and invite it in. If we believe without seeing. The first thing the world says is crucify. The first thing Jesus says, even today, is “peace be with you.”

I am no scholar, theologian or minister, so a “professional” would probably cringe at my summary. And weaving quotes from Santana and Jim Hendrix would really put some in a tailspin. Those who are not “religious” already stopped reading this or never started.

I am just an ordinary person trying to make sense of the world, my place in it and how to leave the place and others better than I found them while enjoying the journey.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

The world feels really heavy right now and it has for over a year with the pandemic, politics, social unrest, division, judgment, violence, racism of all kinds. All of it rooted in anger, unforgiveness and fear. So rather than join the mobs, how can you be radical and offer peace, light, forgiveness and hope?

There are gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit that Jesus left behind to join us on our daily journey:

The gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord, piety.

The fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

Accept the gifts, produce the fruit. Peace be with you. Radical peace.

“Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.” – Sallust

 

New Ground

“Always keep your mind as bright and clear as the vast sky, the great ocean, and the highest peak, empty of all thoughts. Always keep your body filled with light and heat. Fill yourself with the power of wisdom and enlightenment.” – Morihei Ueshiba

Put your energy and attention into what you can control – your thoughts, actions and imagination. Quiet the noise, lay down the weight of worry, offense and opinion. Open up to deep waters of possibility, enthusiasm and optimism.  Overflowing. Sacred. Holy. New day, new beginning, new ground.

For a New Beginning by John O’Donohue

“In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”

In Kindness Rather than In Kind

“Every day brings new choices.” – Martha Beck

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” – Saint Basil

I have had many conversations in my head with others, things I want to say to “set the record straight,” to “put them in their place,” to “lay it on the line.” Fortunately, I’ve kept most of those where they belong – unsaid. When they’ve escaped and actually came out, regret usually followed. At times, it is appropriate to not be a doormat as well and to speak our own voice.

Our choice is between reacting “in kind” – returning what’s given to us, especially the negativity and criticism or responding “in kindness” – by not returning the same so we don’t turn into that which we want to avoid. Complaint, negativity and criticism are rampant and only create a downward spiral. Gratitude, optimism and hope offer an alternative and multiplies rather than substracts, a whirlwind upward, a deep well to draw from.

So little of what people serve us in negativity, complaint and consternation has anything to do with us. When we take it personally, we allow them to steal our joy. That person who cut you off, the coworker who has a bad attitude and shares it every time you interact with her/him so you do everything to avoid her/him, the family member or friend who triggers that 10 year old in you are all carrying their own burdens and struggles. When we understand this, we have arrived at empathy and understanding and can move out from that place rather than the “what about me?” hole.

Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements are simple rules and principles to follow that can help us respond “in kindness” rather than “in kind,” freeing us from the power and winds of external forces that we allow to permeate our internal state of joy and peace:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

As Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” We can choose to respond with empathy, understanding, positivity and optimism to combat negativity and model a different path that creates contentment and joy, which is in short supply right now.

Choose mindfully and with forethought the energy that you put out into the world. You can be that thread of hope, that beam of light, that source of joy that someone desperately needs from you now.

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet

Full Bloom

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”- Wayne Dyer

“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” – Gilda Radner

Ease into the unknown, embrace uncertainty, hold what’s necessary and release what weighs you down, what blocks your path. Lessons often unfold in hindsight with time and distance, with no recourse to change course. Awareness beckons, invites and welcomes learning in real time, in the very moment, deepening moments and amplifying time.

Awareness first. Lessons in the moment. Change certain, growth optional. Choose growth, expansion, gratitude and joy. Fight the good fight.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Slowly then Suddenly

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

Growth is iterative. It feels like nothing, repetition, a standstill. Then suddenly, an inflection point, a still point where the disparate pieces come together and make sense. Our assumptions, perspective and priorities shift to where they should be through the gift of new eyes. No turning back and looking forward to the road that lies ahead.

Keep taking steps each day. Progress and transformation happen slowly and then suddenly. When we find home within, it matters not where we go.

What we hold tight to, holds us tighter. So let go of circumstances, approval, permission, expectations and allow the awakening to do its work. Slowly, then suddenly.

Binoculars

“For me, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, or for flowers or beast or bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly and perfectly alive.” – Al Purdy

“Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.” – Victor Hugo

For the past week, small crowds have gathered (socially distant of course) to witness a rare sighting of the mountain bluebird at our usual running spot at Como Lake in St. Paul, Minnesota. In awe, the birders quietly gaze with binoculars to observe the bird in the tree. The finches have gathered in the dry winter grass and flowers in disguise to watch as well.

We spoke to one of the birders and with excitement, he explained that the mountain bluebird is home to the Rocky Mountain area and it doesn’t belong here. I’m sure that bird is wondering what happened to his internal GPS and what the hell are those people doing down there with big glasses on.

This year has been a year where we have felt that we don’t belong here either. Stop the ride, I want to get off! But we do belong where we are at for some unknown reason(s) and can choose to learn the lessons that each day offers. Apply the lesson, let go of the pain of learning it. When we think we are lost, we are actually on the path of being found, of becoming our authentic self – imperfect, raw, real, egoless, generous, holy and beautiful.

Contemplate and reflect on the burdens and more importantly, the blessings. They co-exist and always will, it’s called life. I hope and pray that the burdens of the pandemic fade to our memories in 2021 and the world is healed in many ways. May we be more kind, grateful, joyful, faithful, empathetic, in awe, aware, mindful, curious, responsive, peaceful, proactive, delightful, purposeful, forgiving and enthusiastic.

With rapt attention, put binoculars on and see the detail, ordinary miracles and beauty in each day. These days shall not return and they our are currency for a good life. Look for, be and Cast light!

Light Burns Fog

“Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.” – Plutarch

“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.” – Henri Matisse

On my run this morning, it was difficult to see too far ahead with the looming fog and damp cold. As I was finishing, the sun started to burn through the fog. Light always burns off the fog of uncertainty, negativity and judgment.

Cling to the light of hope, faith and resilience, especially now when the fog is thick with ongoing pandemic uncertainty, a mean season of dirty politics on both sides and hatred rooted in stereotypes rather than reality.

It was a beautiful end to the day with sun shining bright and brilliant. Choose light. Never take optimism for granted or underestimate her power to transform the world. Actively choose light over the fog.

On my way out for a walk tonight, my neighbor told me that she had the police over today because someone shredded her American flag and she was afraid. Stop the rhetoric and hatred! History lesson – the very first amendment is free speech. Speak yours and allow others to speak theirs without judgment, shaming or violence.

Go vote. Regardless of the results of the election in November, live a good life each day by contributing your best and offering kindness, understanding and empathy. Enough is enough. Build a life of your own that you will be proud of when you have to take account for it and stay in your own lane.

We have enough fog. Cast light.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.”- Benjamin Franklin

Drift and Observe

“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Meditation is an attempt to stop rowing and let the water of life go clear, so you can see through to the bottom of things. Let’s try this now. Put down your oars and drift. Center yourself and breathe slowly. Whatever the day holds can wait. The first oar to leave alone is your mind. Inhale and exhale deeply. The second oar to ungrip is the oar of fear and worry. Inhale and exhale slowly. Simply breathe and let the water of your life settle and calm. Let your breathing quiet the ripples. Let the water of all life settle and calm. Look through the calm, not searching for anything, just seeing what’s there.” — The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo

Stop rowing. Let the water settle so you can observe, listen and be present. Our thoughts, opinions, judgments either contract or expand us. When we drift and observe, we choose expansion and mystery.

Dare to be quiet long enough to awaken your senses to see to the bottom of things. Put the paddles down each day to cultivate clarity and joy. We cast light by allowing light in.

Perch

“Everything that happens happens as it should, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so.” – Marcus Aurelius

To sit quietly and observe. No judgment. No sound. May we all find the peace to do as the bird does on a soft quiet morning on the tip of a branch. To find depth in being and seeing, in understanding and presence.

“Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.” – Victor Hugo

The Embrace of a Breeze

“We never look deeply into the quality of a tree; we never really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough bark, and hear the sound that is part of the tree. Not the sound of wind through the leaves, not the breeze of a morning that flutters the leaves, but its own sound, the sound of the trunk and the silent sound of the roots.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

It was a beautiful, sunny, breezy day. The trees swayed and didn’t break. Moved and stretched. Embraced and flowed. The leaves danced and held on. May we bend and not break. Breath and flow. And sway with joy.

Let Sunday set the tone for the week. Carry it forward to seize the magic and delight. Each day, even Mondays, especially Mondays, are a gift. Open it and celebrate. The embrace of the breeze. Be held.

“What you really want for yourself is always trying to break through, just as a cooling breeze flows through an open window on a hot day. Your part is to open the windows of your mind.” – Vernon Howard

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