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Welcome to Peace Place...Dwell in this Moment

Peace Place is a free online journal. Here you'll find  gentle invitations and suggestions for bringing more peace into your life as well as links to some other peace related sites on the web you may find interesting. You are welcome!
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Monday, February 28, 2005

Positive Steps
Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Han invites his listeners to practice "walking meditation." This is a very conscious and slow, thoughtful movement in which every step is acknowledged with full awareness. Perhaps two steps are taken to each in breath, and two steps to each out breath.Whatever is comfortable for you. The hands may be folded in front of oneself or rest comfortably at the side. Walking meditation is a practice which helps one to slow down and become aware of what is happening in the moment. Practicing walking meditation for any length of time you can make room for can provide insight, calmness, and understanding of, as Nhat Han says, "what is going on in the present moment."  Walking meditation can be done anywhere. It can be done alone or with others. It is available to you any time you would like to experience more personal peace.  You may find out more about yourself and "what is going on right now" by slowing down and practicing walking meditation every day. Peace to you this day. Peace.
7:57 pm est 

Friday, February 25, 2005

Believe It or Not
Forgiveness is a difficult process. It may seem easier to carry the baggage of anger, and self-righteousness with you than it is to actually let go of it. Have you ever seriously asked yourself why this is so? When you come to the point where you yourself experience foregiveness you may begin to appreciate the enlightening and life renewing effect forgiveness can have.  Forgiveness can be  a lightening of a burden and the opening of new possibility for friendship, or at least a lessening of the pains of estrangement which, like a sigh of relief, can help one move on in one's life.
Shifting one's perception from self-righteousness to generosity not only releases old baggage which serves no one, but it also creates a space for peace to move in and for new opportunities to develop. You have the opportunity to create more peace in your life, and in your world, by practicing forgiveness. Believe it or not. Peace to you this day. Peace. 
8:49 am est 

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Take A Break
Perhaps you have heard  a great expression which appeared not so long ago: "Too much information!" This is sometimes coupled with the outstretched hand facing away from one and the comment "Tell it to the hand." 
How often have you felt like that? On a given day many of us feel that there is literally too much information available now. It is important, additionally,  to recognize that too much information is not necessarily a good thing. Where there used to be three major TV channels, now there are hundreds. Where there used to be AM radio only, now there is FM, shortwave, and XM (satellite). Now we carry our phones with us in cars, to meetings, in restaurants and everywhere they are not banned. The amount of information we can access through the web is countless, and while much of this technology is extremely valuable, how much information do we really need? How ,we may wonder, did we manage before the barage of portable electronic communication devices came to be?
A professor of mine years ago worried that the coming of the electronic age would spell the end of our tactile engagement with the world and the life of the imagination. He argued that with the onset of these tools our thought would be reduced to a linear and calculating rather than an inquiring and  creative engagement with life. He wanted to make sure that we remembered how valuable it is for us to experience the natural world first hand rather than through an electronic medium. 
Have you taken a walk in a woods or by a lake or stream lately? Have you noticed the brilliance of the stars on the cold Winter nights? Have you heard an owl call or watched a sunset or sunrise over the ocean in awhile? Just by remembering the feeling you experienced during one brief moment such as these, you bring the feeling and the experience back. In that moment you have returned to the tactile world and you have taken a break from "too much information." You have also perhaps  renewed a sense of peace living in your heart. Peace to you this day. Peace. 
9:14 am est 

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Small Change
Changing one's priorities and one's life to welcome in peace does not require an inner revolution. Often it is just a case of making some small change or two very gradually.  Shifting one's thoughts from reactions of anger, fear or righteousness to a broader vision and perspective can begin, over time, to bring that quiet inner revolution to pass. Next time you find yourself enraged at another, or at a situation you are concerned about, ask yourself if there is another way to respond to the situation than mere immediate reaction. Giving yourself the "step back" and time to consider other alternatives allows a cooling off period and time to make a more thoughtful response. Peace is more than revolution. It is a way of life to begin to enter into. Just making this small change. Taking the pause. Counting to ten. That's no small change at all. When more of us to do this there will be more peace in our lives and in our world.  Peace to you this day. Peace.
9:00 am est 

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A friend who is a counselor once said that she has always felt close to trees. She continued, "When I hug a tree I always feel something coming back." Trees give her a sense of peace and strength.  When I was in grade school and walked from school at the end of a rainy day, I often felt the close and in some ways mysterious quiet presence and strength of trees. I remember thinking, "as long as there are trees there is no need to feel lonely."
How do we become as noble, as strong and as peaceful as trees? Perhaps just by appreciating them in all their variety and beauty and in every season. Their constancy and presence return us to our own deep roots and strength.
 I have heard from another friend who has a son who works with a crew trimming trees that those who work on trees often are respectful and appreciative of them. They recognize that trees give us as much as we are open to receiving.
Trees. We take them for granted, but they present us with much more than wood for our homes and warmth from fires. They can  invite us to and be resources for a sense of deep peace and strength in our own daily lives. Peace to you this day. Peace.
7:52 am est 

Monday, February 21, 2005

What do you do when you have run out of hope? Do you look within to draw on and discover new reserves, or do you look for comfort outside of yourself--in companionship, in food, travel, books, or music? Knowing where you turn when you find yourself in a crisis gives you insight into your state of awareness and the state of balance in your life. There are times when inner reflection is the most significant place for you to turn--meditation,  prayer, personal writing and inner dialogue with your deepest spiritual values reacquaints you with strengths and resources you may have temporarily forgotten, dismissed, or simply discounted. Time away in personal reflection can renew and restore compassion and strength as well as belief and faith in yourself.
At other times, it can make a tremendous difference to turn to companions and friends or support groups of many kinds to give you deeper awareness and appreciation/resources for facing your challenges. Listening to one another's concerns and trusting another with one's deepest thoughts and fears can be an important release of those fears.  New insights which others provide can give one the sense that s/he is not alone on the journey.  Just as peace is important in both the personal and the social realm, resources for daily life are deep within as well as  in social connection with others. Make space in your life for both today. Peace to you. Peace.
10:14 am est 

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Why Not?
There are occasionally times when we experience a strong feeling or interest which intrigues and pulls us in a new direction, but then we reconsider and think of all the reasons why we should/could not move ahead toward it. It could be a new job, friendship, or creative venture. We then count and ennumerate the reasons why we could not do or accomplish this, and we lay the notion and idea aside, dismissing the possibility and energy it has brought to us.
How often do we do this? What if, just for one day, you decided that you would overrule all of those reconsiderations, and you would just move ahead with that intriguing energy and inviting feeling? Why not risk something new and energizing? Why not believe in the feelings and creative energies which called to you? Why not give it a try? You have those feelings and energies for a reason. They are a foundational part of who you are. So go for it when you experience them pulling you forward. Take the risk. Peace lies in your trust in and embrace of those feelings. Peace.
9:15 am est 

Friday, February 18, 2005

You Are Welcome
The Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Han, often invites listeners to shift their awareness from distractions and personal crises and concern to a deeper awareness of silence and peace which is always present and within all of us. He has sometimes likened our awareness to that of a television set,with many channels. When we focus on the disruptions and distractions of our daily life, he suggests, we are tuned to the "Bang Bang" channel, but we have these other many channels we can turn to, and by shifting our attention to them we release the distractions and return to a more pleasant and focussed channel and state.  One listener referred to the more pleasant channels as "The Buddha Channel."  Nhat Han smiled and said, "The Buddha Channel?"
"Well, if you like, you are welcome." Peace to you this day. Peace.
8:48 am est 

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Relax, You Have Plenty of Time
Some years ago while visiting Santa Cruz, California, I used to enjoy going to a Bakery which sold wonderful whole grain muffins. Above the door to the Bakery was a hand carved sign that read, "Relax, You Have Plenty of Time."  That saying itself has a calming effect if we take it to be true. But if we resist and argue otherwise, we lose the effect and create more stress. I have often since then thought back, in times of stress and challenge, to that sign, and so I have visited the bakery many times since then, though without the calories contained in those delicious muffins. I invite you to join me the next time you find yourself feeling pressured and in a frantic rush to finish all the things you have to do. Meet you at the bakery, we'll have a cup of tea and "Relax, You Have Plenty of Time." Peace to you this day. Peace.
8:50 am est 

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Nothing Profound
Sometimes we feel that in order to make a contribution we have to do something profound. If we waited to do something profound we would never do anything, though. It is often just the small things during the day that make the most impact and impression. Helping someone to load groceries into the trunk of their car will probably bring that kindness to mind every time that person goes to the grocery. Stopping to notice geese fly in formation above; watching them, makes others aware that more is going on in this world than what is on their calendar. Dropping a handwritten note to a friend is rare now,so when you do take time to think of someone and send them a note you are making a statement about them and yourself that few experience anymore. Nothing profound is necessary. Just the thoughtfulness to do what needs to be done. And in the thoughtfulness there is something profound. Peace to you this day. Peace.
1:20 pm est 

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Make It Count
Your life is an opportunity to experience something more than just accumulation. We live in acquisitive times. So much of our self-appraisal and that of our culture is contingent on the kinds of possessions we have accumulated.  At the end of the day, is our worth and our life measureable by the kind of car we drive, the brand of clothes we wear, the part of town we live in? We blend in, we acclimate, we are conditioned by our culture, but do we ever "own" our life as a result, or are we merely part of the larger picture of our accumulative culture? Does peace come from acclimation?
What does your life mean? Have you considered that question? Have you experienced your uniqueness and value? Have you explored your imagination since childhood? What do you believe you might still be or become? Can you redefine your priorities and your life once you are past adolescence?
Every day and every moment we have is a blessing and an opportunity to more fully comprehend and express the priorities we have. In risking change and daring to live our concerns we make our lives count for ourselves and for our world. We have become acquisitive beings because we have stopped being inquisitive spirits. We can make a shift any time we decide it is important enough. Peace may follow naturally from that process. Peace to you this day. Peace. 
10:09 am est 

Monday, February 7, 2005

What's In It For You?
We have all had the experience of giving our time, money and experience to ventures which didn't have any return for us, other than the satisfaction of allowing us tocontribute to a cause, situation or person we wanted to help. Often we have reevaluated our involvement in these situations and asked ourselves what we are/were getting out of helping. That is no doubt human nature to do so.  Its worth noting that often when we begin to get into a helping situation we don't ask these questions, we just see that something needs to be done and we do what we can. It is generally later, when we start to calculate the personal cost and challenge as well as the change in our own priorities, perhaps, that we start to ask, "What's in this for me?" At that point we are more consciously aware of the costs of our involvement ,and we may then decide to adjust our priorities accordingly.
When it comes to peace, we tend to ask the question of our investment before we get involved. We understand that working for peace may be a time-consuming and demanding effort, one which we may not be able to fit into our busy lives and our crowded daily agendas. Peace work then becomes an add on;. something we will work in around the edges, but not something that we accept as a first priority. 
What if we rethought this and recognized that without peace nothing can be done, whether personal, professional, national or international. If we recognize that peace is the ground of being, the foundation of possibility, we may give it a higher priority in our lives. We know then that what's in it for us is not recognition, appreciation, or accomplishment, but every single aspect of our lives. That's what peace represents.Peace is the foundation upon which all is built.   We invest in peace and justice work together in recreating a society and bringing about a world in which there are more possibilities for creativity, hope, and life.  And that's what's in it for all of us.  Peace to you today. Peace.
1:12 pm est 

Saturday, February 5, 2005

Personal Activism
While working on one's own life and outlook are critical for bringing about a more peaceful world, active support of and engagement with those who are also committed to peace is essential. Seek out groups and networks of those who are invested in peace and justice. You may find these groups through personal contacts you know or hear about. Try out a meeting and ask about the kinds of causes they support/care about. Ask about the opportunities for volunteering. Don't wait for an invitation. Check out websites in your community or those on a national level which are working to bring about peace with justice.  Getting involved is not something we can put off, particularly in these times of militarism, destruction of the environment in the name of capitalism and rampant consumerism.  Take some time today to find at least one meeting you might be able to attend and make the commitment to attend it just to demonstrate our concern. Educate yourself by doing some research at your library, bookstore, or on the web. What do you care about? Can you demonstrate some activism in its behalf? Knowing that others are working with you toward resolution of issues you care about can also bring you some peace. Peace to you this day. Peace.
1:04 pm est 

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Back to Basics
You have no doubt often heard how important it is to set and work to attain reachable goals if you are to be successful. What is success, as you see it? Is it recognition and fame? Is it wealth? Is it job security? Good health? There are so many ways to define success that it is as individual as we are, and yet there is also a given culturally assumed definition of success that we are all invited to participate in if we are willing to go along with it. Have you asked yourself the question: How do you define success?  What would give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction?  The question of personal and professional success is so basic to our sense of our selves that it is worth taking some thoughtful time for clarifying our own values and objectives. Write down some of your own versions of success for yourself, for your work, and for your community. That will give you some ideas for developing a plan to establish your personal and professional objectives.  Where does personal and professional peace fit in to your concerns? That may seem a foregone conclusion, but comprehending how you see peace as an indicator of success as well as an objective to work for can be enlightening. Getting back to the basics of your beliefs and goals can give you clarity and, in the long run, potentially, some personal and professional sense of peace. Peace to you this day. Peace.
9:25 am est 

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Practice peace today in your life and in your world.