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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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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Less Is More
We are an appointment-driven society. We crowd our agendas and datebooks with "essential" activities, and we race from one to another with little or no "free" time. When we do have some free time we immediately fill it with another activity, so that we don't have to deal with being free from activity itself. We seem to believe that to be is to be active. We are sadly uncomfortable with unstructured time and space.
While having a clear sense of priorities and necessary activities of the day can give one a feeling of control; of good time management, having time for leisure, for recreation, and for just being in the spontaneity of the moment opens the possibility of more peace coming into your life. Back in the 50s there was an old song about "The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer." Lazy? We certainly don't welcome laziness any more; we could use a little more of it in every season of our lives,though. Lazy days allow us to just experience and move along with the moment. No priorities. Nothing needing to be done. Just watching the breezes; listening to the birds; just being present in the here and now. There is something to be said for lazy days.
Here and now. Just be. Less activity allows more leisure. Time out. Nothing to do. Relax.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
10:53 am edt 

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Tide Turns
Daily the ocean tide recedes and then returns; it ebbs and flows. High and low tides and their times are predicted with more accuracy than weather forecasts. The turning of the tide can be counted on; it is part of the given; part of nature.
Nearly hourly Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone Park erupts with its high white sprays of hot steam and mineral saturated water. Less dependable geyers erupt infrequently and erratically. There is something appealing about knowing you can count on a geyser to erupt with regularity; there is some comfort in being there, witnessing the event and taking the experience aways with you in memory and the telling of it to friends and colleagues. It is part of nature, this hourly venting and releasing of underground pressure.
A friend of ours often puts a wider frame on small daily troubles which arise by saying they will "Blow up and blow over." Why get caught up  in something which seems so important in a moment of heated frustration and rage, such as an irate driver filled with road rage;a less than friendly store clerk; an apparent glare from a stranger or some other circumstance which invites the blood pressure to rise? Each situation will, like Old Faithful, no doubt blow up and blow over. It is a part of nature. Why get caught up in a moment's turbulence?
The tide will always turn the other direction; that's  a given. Nature seeks a balance in all that is. Trust the cycles of change. Know the ebb and flow of daily life. Meet you for a walk along the shore today?We'll go for low and return at high tide. We'll watch it turn.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
11:23 am edt 

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Time Out
Why does recess stop with elementary school graduation? Why does play become competitive sport and athletics? Time out to have some fun is never out of order, and there is a playful part of us which we never outgrow if we give it some space and freedom to express itself.
Imagine how much better the world would be if we reinstituted recess or play (noncompetitive) into our work and personal lives. Our lives would be so much fuller and satisfying. If we made play a priority we would work, think and live more fully and more creatively. And, no doubt, more peacefully.
Take some time out. Give yourself some recess activity. Reclaim your right to have some fun and leisure activity. Peace to you this day. Peace.
11:24 am edt 

Monday, July 18, 2005

Chart Your Course
Ship navigators for centuries used the stars to set and chart the course they would follow through the open sea. They could establish their direction by the position of constellations and stars visible in the evening sky. Nature was a guide for them, and gave a sense of direction; it was something on which they could depend on the changing and turbulent sea.
We live in changing times with turbulent waters and our ships now are equipped with electronic and computer navigation systems; even our cars now provide optional navigation systems which tell us where to turn, what oncoming traffic may be like and various other items of interest. We depend less on the stars; we may not even notice them very much any more.
Have you taken the time to look up at the stars and gain some perspective on your place in the universe? Have you considered where you get your own bearings and how you determine your direction? There is a wonderful old movie called "Night of the Shooting Stars" and a wonderful old song by Hogey Carmichael, "Stardust," and they point to the beauty and majesty/mystery of stars. So much of our media now has to do with intergalactic warfare...Star Wars I,II,III, and Star Trek, and there is not much which touches on the beauty of the celestial navigation system used by so many sailing ships at sea in days gone by.
The heavens remain the same regardless of our perspective on them; constellations continue to move along in dependable and exacting manners. Knowing your goals and determining your direction depends on locating something stable and dependable in changing and turbulent waters. The evening stars still shine on; nature continues to illuminate the way if we care to chart our course by star light.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
7:07 pm edt 

Sunday, July 17, 2005

There is an old Indian saying, "Only the fool becomes angry; the wise person understands." Impatience and reaction take us in the direction of anger all too often. If we can only cultivate patience, we can learn so much more about what is going on in a situation.
Patience takes strength; great strength. We are a society in a hurry; we become impatient so many times a day. We wait in traffic and become restless and agitated; we find ourselves waiting for appointments in offices; we wait in a state of irritation in lines at stores. We are given the opportunity to cultivate patience time and time again, but how many times do we actually fail to grasp the opportunity requiring patience on our part and welcome, or even embrace it? Patience is not something we care to cultivate. The very notion of cultivating patience may make us impatient. Patience is too difficult to develop, we feel, and it simply takes too much energy to cultivate. Its so hard to slow down, isn't it?
Patience comes with an awareness that we can learn more from a situation or perhaps person than we have assumed we can learn from it. How many times a day do you sigh or hear someone sigh in frustration over having to wait for something? Patience invites one into one's own awareness of how s/he is evaluating or judging a situation. Patience asks one about one's own values; about what is important, really. Patience provides the opportunity to review ones priorities and to look more deeply. The cultivation of patience is a practice which can transform one from being an angry to a wiser person who "understands." Cultivate patience. Practice it at every opportunity. Welcome its truth and lessons.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
7:42 pm edt 

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hippocratic Oath
The first mandate of the oath taken by physicans is,"First, do no harm." Knowing when to let things be, and to not intervene or introduce potentially dangerous procedures or medications is the first way and mandate for physicians to contribute to healing. How often we who are not in the medical field but interested in promoting peace can apply that wisdom to our own work and reactions.
Knowing one's own tendency to react in an emotional outburst, whether over righteous indigation or anger is important. We daily learn of situations or experience conditions we are frustrated by or find ourselves wanting to change, but checking one's motives and reactions by the "First, do no harm" rule of the Hippocratic Oath gives you the chance to reconsider your responses. Will your words or actions improve or complicate the situation? While "venting" may be temporarily satisfying, it may not demonstrate a willingness to really work more thoughtfully with the complexities of the situation. Venting may be a "quick fix" for your own emotions, but may complicate rather than contribute to its resolution.
Ask yourself the same question when you find yourself judging your own actions, reactions and self-talk. Respect your responses, but work with them in a constructive rather than a condemning way. "First do no harm" by reprimanding, reproaching, or criticizing yourself harshly. Work with yourself in a supportive and appreciative, patient way. Know you are also a work-in-progress. Value your humanity and your willingness to learn from experience. Practice the Hippocratic Oath. "First, do no harm."
Peace to you this day. Peace.
4:09 pm edt 

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Fur Person
May Sarton wrote a book entitled The Fur Person about her cat. Cats have been companions of humans for thousands of years. The walls of the Egyptian tombs and pyramids include drawings of cats,thought to be sacred by ancients of many civilizations. Spend time watching a cat and you learn how to care for yourself; how important playing and enjoying yourself is; how good it feels to clean up and how much awareness counts. Sometimes while sleeping a cat will suddenly leap up and run to a window to spot a chipmunk making its way across the lawn; sometimes they seem to see the invisible. Squinting of the eyes often indicates pleasure or enjoyment, and sitting with its back to you demonstrates the greatest of trust a cat can have in a person.
Another book, A Cat Is Watching, acknowledges the cat's awareness and attentiveness to everything going on. To expand your own awareness, and expand your sense of what is happening,  merely still yourself and watch a cat yourself for awhile. Peace to you this day.  Peace.
12:14 pm edt 

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Petunia Gardener
She does small garden tasks such as weeding, planting; cultivating the soil in backyard gardens and flower beds. She works for only three hours at a time and knows her resources and abilities well. She is thorough and careful in her work, but she doesn't take on the big jobs, like transplanting or thinning lillies or trimming bushes. She makes gentle persistent progress as day by day she moves around the yard and makes space for what is selected to remain. The soil shows through now, and the lavender blooms of bee balm, filled with bumble bees, the bright orange and yellow blooms of lillies,  daisies with their brown rich centers, and now the pink phlox can be better seen. Progress is slow but certain. The weeding never ends, she knows, but she keeps at it, and soon the garden shows forth her work and love.
How like the work of this Pentunia Gardener our own progress toward personal and social peace is. We must know and appreciate the limits of what we can do, but we can be persistent and thoughtful in removing each small irritation, aggravation and disturbing issue which arises in our thoughts and lives . We make thoughtful progress to change the social situation as well. Carefully we prune and remove or address the issues which are getting in the way of our better feelings; our personal peace and joy. We work with others to address the larger ones. We do not try to remove everything at once, but we stay with the task day by day, moment by moment, watching and acting with attentiveness, and mindfulness, cultivating and encouraging that which we want to remain.
Peace comes through days of consistent involvement and caring. Knowing one's limitations provides focus and clarity for the task at hand. Persistence and caring are the tools to keep at your side. Notice the blooms beginning to show through from time to time.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
9:26 am edt 

Monday, July 4, 2005

Independence Days
Freedom from oppression and external control is the historic celebration for this day. We join the crowds to watch the parades, the fireworks, and perhaps we hang out flags as announcements of our participation in the events. We participate in the formal events; the picnics, the parties; the social gatherings, and we probably eat more than we should, like we do on all the other holidays, but do we really feel independence and a sense of freedom on this early July day?
In some senses it seems strange and uncomfortable celebrating independence when we are aware that our headlines are filled with news of our own questionable participation in international affairs. We wonder how things got to this point, and how we will ever retrieve a sense of our country's humanity and dignity in the world order. We feel helpless to effect any change in the political situation, and there is no easy sense of celebration when we know the world community is hardly more independent; hardly freer because of our military involvement this fourth of July. We are more in dependence on our leaders decisions than independent of them, it seems. And so,perhaps, this is a good day to make a shift from that dependence toward our own independence; our own intentional  and personal statement of freedom and belief.
Independence requires that we take a stand; make a statement; hold a position for something better and something different. Independence rejects the notion and "value" of dependence on another telling us what is best for us. Independence requires imagination, faith and courage that fuels action and efforts to change what is to what might be. Independence suggests that we all are capable of dreaming dreams and sharing visions of worth and putting them into effect.
Independence begins with you; with me; with all those who want something different than what is. Independence is the opportunity and the invitation to participation in creating a better reality, a better country and world than we accept in a state of dependence. Work toward independence beginning this day which celebrates it. That is the invitation you can accept and pass on today.
Peace to you. Courage and peace to you this independence day.
3:22 pm edt 

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