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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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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Nature Watch
We walked the new commercial property lines the other night and were glad to see the wetlands have not been overtaken by the introduction of so many office buildings. The pond is still home to wildlife of all sorts and now four small young muskrats play on the banks between the cattails. One of them ventures out of the pond up on the banks to sample the taste of an occasional wildflower. 
The wetlands are abundant again in spite of paved roads and parking lots, and they are filled with the blooms of purple loosestrife, tall milkweed plants, and wildflowers of yellow, white and pink. The number of red-winged blackbirds nesting in the marshy areas this year is amazing and occasionally one  perches atop the cattails and warns us not to come near as we pass by.
Nature intends to come back to reclaim its natural state regardless of intrusions contemporary commerce and human industry make upon it. It lives side by side with it in places like this. The sounds of the countryside heard in this area when the Shakers settled here long ago can still be heard . The crickets chirp at night; the lightening bugs rise from the grass in their Summer's dance once evening comes and all the cars are gone from the parking lots.
The old Shaker pear trees are still standing and the catalpa trees have just finished blooming with their sweet, fragrant orchid-white blossoms.  "Tis a gift to be simple; tis a gift to be free. Tis a gift to come down where you want to be."
Peace to you this day. Peace.
7:58 am edt 

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

High Quality Living
Our lives are so busy and filled with activity that we seem to be living high quantity days and lives of too much activity. We can't keep up, often, with our own "to do" list, and some items, by necessity and lack of time, spill over to following days, weeks, and months. We accumulate activities and plan so many events that we rarely stop to ask if they are,in fact, worth doing. We have created and participate in a culture of activity which may not, for all of its frenetic aspects, be providing us with much quality of life.
Taking time to learn and shift to a deeper appreciation of what we have and who we are would be a radical change from the way we may fill our days at the present. Quality of living suggests that we reconsider what is really important to us and shed those activities and obligations which keep us busy, but not really fulfilled or satisfied--those activities which seem to keep us going through motions which don't mean much to us.
So much of what we do is geared to future needs. We have to keep moving toward what we believe we will need to have in the future, whether a new car, more money, social connections or status. We are driven by our willingness to accept the definitions of accomplishment our society and culture say are important.
Living high quality lives means defining our own script and desires as well as our own sense of what is fulfilling. Living in the present rather than the future may be an important avenue and way to make the shift. Perhaps you have  heard the expression, "Its a gift; that's why its called the present." Living with the present is beginning to accept and know the value of the present moment, which contains everything you are and need right now. High quality living is an invitation to more peaceful living. Try shifting from high quantity to high quality living today.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
7:38 am edt 

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Peace Quilt
Remember the peace quilt which was put together by people all over the country? One piece at a time it was stitched and various pieces were designed and made by people in all stages and walks of life. Children contributed pieces. Seniors added theirs. Different ethnic groups donated designs and fabrics of their own choosing. One by one the quilt came together including the visions of peace each person and each contributor had to contribute.
Our own work for peace is like that quilt. We do our own individual part to make our contribution (our piece) one square at a time, in different ways;at different times and  places. We create our pieces in our daily life, by our actions, our words, and our aspirations. We may not see the completed quilt or the individual squares and pieces that we have added, but they join together to form the fabric of peace we have worked on. Peace by peace we stitch them together. Each small square is a contribution to the whole fabric of our peace quilt through the work of our daily lives. The result may be something beautiful.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
6:58 pm edt 

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Opportunity Knocks
Sometimes you get one chance when opportunity knocks. A door to possibility opens for only a brief moment at times. How do you respond when opportunity knocks? Do you have the shutters drawn and the lights out in your house? Do you have the door so padlocked and double-bolted that nothing could get in if it tried? Do you peer through the blinds or shades to see who is out there before opening the door? If so, you may want to reconsider your situation.
We live in fear-filled times, and perhaps with good reason if we watch all of the television news programs that tell us what bad things are going on in some places. We look with suspicion when evaluating situations and many people. How many opportunities have we lost in the process?
Years ago we received an award and an invitation to attend a conference as the guest of an educational journal. We were to have all expenses paid and were asked to accept the award at the annual meeting and conference of this organization. When we shared the news and the letter announcing the award with our company director, his response was, "Well, there doesn't seem to be anything negative here."  His outlook and perspective were so guarded that he couldn't appreciate and recognize the acknowledgement, encouragement and opportunity contained in the award itself.
Plan in advance to allow the door to opportunity to be open so that it has a possibility of reaching you. Check your assumptions regularly and ask yourself if they are serving you well or, rather, closing out some important possibilities for your own self-development and peace.
Let yourself be open to opportunity. Peace to you this day. Peace.
8:35 pm edt 

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Up in the Air
A colleague has for years been an ardent skydiver. She has jumped alone and in group formations for a long time, and her office is filled with pictures of her skydiving friends forming chains and patterns as they link up in space. There is nothing like the sense of freedom and adventure that skydiving gives her.
High above the hills there are hang-gliders running across and off of cliffs, with their gliders carrying them aloft on warm currents of air to vistas below of trees and hillsides seen at close range. The sense of freedom and movement lifts their hearts and minds to new insights of what life offers.
We watched at the lake the other day as a large canvas chutte went high to the clouds, carried by the winds.  Holding tight to cords attached to a pole, the man ran to the water and put down his small board on its surface...the colorful yellow and orange chute carried him across the water..the wind pulling him at good amounts of speed while the sun shone brightly.
Something about adventure appeals and invites us to rise to new heights and join life in uplifting ways. Seek and you shall find. Up in the air, drifting, joining with the breezes, there is reprieve and restoration.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
9:01 am edt 

Friday, June 17, 2005

Out on the lake in a canoe, a kayak or other boat you are likely to see the dance of turquoise dragonflies as they skim across the water's surface, explore your boat and join other dragonflies in a celebration of Summer's warmth. Slender threads of blue bodies hover and zip along with precision, casting a sense of lazy, haziness over the scene.
Beauty of being incarnate, these slight, skilled creatures.
We are entranced by small creatures such as dragonflies, whose world we know so little about but who touch our lives in quiet moments of reprieve and renewal. We pause and watch, joining them in a space away from our busy-ness. We have more to learn from dragonflies than they from us. Time seems to hesitate and hold still for a moment as dragonflies dance across the water.
Summer brings moments for a space away from things to do and concerns to consider; we stop where we are and just enjoy the quiet beauty of dragonflies and others the season brings our way. Herons perch high above watching for the glint of a fish, turtles sun themselves on logs, and the red-winged blackbird warns us away from its nest in the cattails. Summer welcomes a different tempo to the days, and so may we if we allow it to be so.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
3:42 pm edt 

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Noise Reduction
We live in noisy times. Bombarded from every direction with instruments of communication from computers to cell phones, we pay a price for staying "in touch." How removed from actual touch we are. We rarely touch, in fact, except in the limited sense of information sharing. We keep background music on, or talk shows, to give us the sense that we are "up" on what's going on. We are used to noise and our discomfort rises when we are confronted with and we have to deal with silence.
Silence is more golden than it ever was in this environment. Whether we squelch it by turning on the TV or the radio, playing a CD or making a phone call, silence still invites us to make space for something besides busy-ness and the feelings of activity. Silence can nurture creative and intellectual activity as well as bring challenges to deal with issues we have been dodging. How well do you tolerate silence? How much silence do you have in your life? Of what use is silence to you? Why do you have or push silence from your life?
Turning down the noise by adding a few moments of silence to your days may help you to recognize what noises you do not need to tune into. A therapist once told her client, just because someone is arguing with you or yelling at you, or berating you for something, that doesn't mean you have to hear it. They may be throwing you a ball, but you don't have to catch it.
Make space for some moments of silence during your most challenging times. Peace to you this day. Peace.
10:10 am edt 

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Humanity has had superheroes since the age of Greek and Roman mythology. From the gods of antiquity to Marvel comic books and TV shows as well as movies like Batman, Superman, Cat Woman and others, it is part of human nature to seek a more mythic and powerful identity. There is,it seems, a deep and enduring need for a greater sense of power and control than that we actually have. Superheroes and superhuman abilities will always be part of our common culture, no doubt. We want and need to feel more powerful than we are.
We have, historically, also found other superheroes who have inspired us. During the 50's we were fascinated by the works of Ghandi, Schweitzer and those others who worked for peace and the good of humanity. They were our ideal and vision of how humanity was and is to be. They were powerful for their vision and commitment to the ideals of peace and service. They were superheroes of a different kind and quality than we see on the "silver screen" today,though their stories have been told on them.
We now need a wider vision and commitment to our ideals of peace and service. We need a rebirth of visionary living. We have the legacy of those lives which have gone before us and who have endowed us with their passion and commitment to ideals greater than those canonized in the media. Seek out your own superhero and learn about their journey in their biographies and autobiographies. You may thereby find a mentor, a guide and a superhero worth believing in. You may decide to follow in their path.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
8:42 am edt 

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Trust Yourself
Sometimes the most difficult decisions ultimately come down to trusting yourself to do the "right" thing and make the "right" decision.
Decision-making is sometimes extremely difficult. We may overanalyze and overestimate the significance of our decisions, which slows down our ability to act. Not deciding is to decide, we are told, and we may live in uninspiring situations: jobs, relationships, or circumstances for many years before we make a decision we might have made years before.
We teeter on the brink of decisions, and fail to commit to what our feelings and our instincts tell us we "should" do. Don't "should" on yourself, we hear, but our internal dialogue and "shoulds" during decision-making often holds the winning hand.
Trusting yourself is developed with practice. You have made decisions in the past you may regret, but you undoubtedly have also made decisions you are comfortable and perhaps even happy with. Sometime in your life you took the risk, and whether things worked out the way you hoped or not, you accepted the challenge--made the decision-- and "went with it." Think back over your key life decisions and give yourself  credit and credibility for moving ahead with your life.
Kris Kristofferson wrote a song some years ago which carries the lyrics, "I'd rather be wrong for something I did, than for something that I didn't do." Looking back with regret over some missed opportunity or challenge that you failed to decide about means that you will never know how those actions may have turned out.
A friend from some years ago used to say that he "lived where the risk is." One can grapple throughout one's life trying to avoid risk,but life is a risk-filled experience. We live where the risk is or we run from risk. We trust ourselves, or we retreat from self-confidence.
There is a sense of peace which comes from trusting yourself and from "living where the risk is." The sense that you are capable of deciding what path or opportunity to take acknowledges that the life process and you are not static or fearful, but part of a journey and challenge to grow and experience a wider world.
Trust yourself. Live where the risk is.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
8:13 pm edt 

Thursday, June 9, 2005

On the Porch
Back in the l950s during Summers, the front porch was a primary form of recreation. Nothing doing there, just sitting on the porch swing at night listening to the crickets, watching the lightening bugs and absorbing the night sounds. Most houses then had front porches. A porch was a window on the world. Neighbors waved to one another and sometimes gathered to chat and share their news on the steps of the front porch. You could hear the squeaking sounds of swings gently rocking from time to time. Courting was often done on the porch swing. Things moved more slowly and life was more savored, perhaps, from the porch swing.
What do we now have which has taken the place of the porch swing? Our lives have become so active and busy today that its difficult to even find a long, wide porch swing. We have so many ways to communicate: the phone, the computer, tv, newspapers, and palm pilots,that our appliances and electronics have taken the place of the across-the-fence, front porch face-to-face visits with the neighbors. We are a productive people, and we value our productivity over many other things.
The quality of life is better considered from a porch swing, however. Just being and absorbing what is going on is also productive. Sitting on a swing, listening,watching, and savoring life brings satisfaction that activity and productivity can never yield. Sitting on a porch swing provided information, but also a degree of wisdom about oneself, and about life. Take the time to sit and watch the stars come out from a front porch swing. Gain some wisdom.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
8:42 am edt 

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Bird Song
Early morning is the best time to hear the songs of many birds. In fact, tapes are available of the early morning singings of these many joyful sounds. There is something heartening and inviting about the melodies of birds, especially just as dawn arrives.
Everything is fresh and renewed in the early morning hours. We have a new beginning; a new possibility and promise for the new day.
One early morning we rose at 5 a.m. to race to the beach for the sun rise. Gradually the sky lightened and stunningly beautiful colors--reds, oranges, purples--made space for the new day sun to shine through radiantly. Being present made a difference. Appreciating the beauty, we accept it into our lives. The sunrise and the songs of birds give a sense of promise, new energy and beauty to each new day. If you like,you are welcome to join us...see you early in the morning...
Peace to you this day. Peace.
7:24 am edt 

Monday, June 6, 2005

The Ramble
Near where we live a new park has been opened on land donated by a local farmer. Beautifully landscaped to follow the flow of the original pasture, there are a number of walkways including some past fountains, some along pastures with cows chewing lazily on grass, and others through stands of poplar trees. You can create your own walk, given the variety of ways in which one can go through the park, and one pathway through a quiet woods is called "The Ramble."
Nice to know that the idea of a ramble, a stroll, a place to go with no particular destination in mind, still appeals to one's senses. In fact, the notion of no time frame or destination invites one to simply explore and enjoy the scenery. No agendas, just a ramble.
A new hatching of birds is filling the woods of The Ramble with the sounds of chirps, various songs and an occasional woodpecker tap-tap-tapping. The silence is refreshing, as is the easy ramble through the tall white- barked trees.
Surprising how many people are in the park. Its so new you might think otherwise. Also surprising is how much happier people in the park are. They nod and smile; even speak and say hello much easier than outside the park. Dogs trot alongside their owners happily, rollerbladers and bikers enjoy the breezes, and children run through wide open spaces. Something about the park and the way its laid out; the cows; the woods and the ramble touches something in us that is very much in need of its presence.
Take a ramble along a river. Go for a walk in the woods. Listen and let your senses lead you. If you don't see a cow or two, just imagine how peacefully they graze on a sunlit field of green.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
2:59 pm edt 

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Tranquility Base
When Apollo X landed on the moon in l969 the spot on which it landed was named "Tranquility Base." After that historic flight we began to take space travel for granted. The moment of touch down on that historic day was spellbinding. We watched the broadcast on all 3 (!)channels and we listened to the voices from mission control in Houston and from the moon as they landed the lunar module. Tranquility did not describe the sense of awe and amazement, or the cheers that went up in the halls of NASA, but it does describe what the astronauts saw from the moon that day.
Each astronaut commented on the smallness, and the beauty of the distant earth from the moon. How still and peaceful the moon looks to us; how still and beautifully peaceful the earth appears from the moon. Distance provides insight at times such as this. We see the inherent peace of the planet; how small we are; how immense the universe is.
Within each one of us there is a stillpoint; a tranquility base, from which we can gain perspective and see better what is going on. From our own tranquility base we can recognize the peace inherent in our lives and we can journey to it anytime we wish to experience that peace. There is no path to meditation; no one perfect way. Meditation is the path. Take a moment; take a few minutes. Touch in to tranquility base.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
9:39 pm edt 

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Putting out a couple of birdfeeders filled with thistle seed brings  bright yellow and black goldfinches to your yard. If you get a plastic tube feeder, the birds hang upside down to pick out the little morsels of thistle seed, and often there are four or five on the feeder at a time. You may not know you have goldfinches in your area until you put thistle seed out.
Once you put out a thistle feeder, you may have more than goldfinches in your yard. Thistle seed dropped in random places around your yard may sprout, and you could find yourself harvesting a bountiful crop of robust thistles, some as high as several feet tall.
Like many other things, thistles are either a nuisance and invitation for weeding or a beautiful and rather exotic plant with their large purple blooms. They thrive in many kinds of soil. They add color but also, with time, more thistles. Soon your yard will be filled with goldfinches enjoying seed directly from the thistle rather than your feeders.
Nature provides abundantly if only given the invitation and opportunity. So much of human science seeks to manage and control nature. We see weeds where beauty sometimes dwells. Goldfinches are beautiful on stalks and thistle blooms. You can look at thistles either way. It is a matter of perspective.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
8:35 am edt 

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