Friday, September 29, 2006
6:25 pm edt
Why do things have to be the way they are, we wonder. What use is this conflict and misunderstanding? Why is this necessary,
or is it necessary. Surely there must be something better.
How often have we thought this about situations in our own lives as well as in the national and international situations?
Wouldn't it be great if we could get all sides together and just decide there are no options but to meet face to face and
talk it out? There must be a way to come to a better understanding of ourselves and the various confusions, we are certain.
We teter on the brink of frustration, depression and anger when we feel misunderstood and that leads us into a place
of defensiveness and sometimes reaction. When we are put on the defensive we are not in a comfortable place and we feel the
need to defend ourselves, our principles, our values, and our positions. We lash out from anger and fear too often. Perhaps
it is a case of our just being "all too human."
Our routine and normal reactions take us in the same old directions every time. We hit the wall. We reach the end of
our ropes. We bond with those who agree with us and lash out. Its easier that way. We feel justified and righteous by taking
this stance. We don't really have to change.
Wonder why we don't realize that if we keep following the same old patterns we will never really have an opportunity
to open new pathways and opportunities to create peace in our lives and in our world. Is sticking to the same old pattern
really more comfortable in the long run? We seem to be getting nowhere fast with that approach.
Wonder why we don't try something else. Paul Tillich, German theologian, believed that to truly be alive we must "live
where the risk is." Risk requires courage to be...courage to change. Courage to try something new. As a beginning, take a
look at Tillich's book, The Courage to Be. Then read Thich Nhat Hahn's thoughtful book Being
Courage and peace to you this day. Courage and Peace.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
You Must Build A Space
4:06 pm edt
Do you have a space into which you can retreat in order to regroup and take a break from daily challenges or crises?
We all need a way in which to get away from passing stress, even if for only a few moments. Keep a book of poetry in your
desk and open it at random to enjoy a moment of reprieve, or place a vase of fresh cut flowers on your desk and stop to enjoy
the fragrance every once in awhile. Hum a favorite song...stretch your legs...look out a window...keep a picture of a pleasant
scene or favorite friend or companion animal on your desk...take a moment to enjoy any one of these or anything which gives
you a space apart from what you are doing, worrying about, or working on. Build enjoyment into your day...practice enjoyment
every day of your life. You must build a space of peace for yourself. It can be a part of your peace work.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
5:32 pm edt
Working for peace is like making a quilt, and the final product is created simply and consistently
by adding one piece of work to another with love, care, and dedication. There's nothing immediate, dramatic or even necessarily
visible about the process, whether you are working on personal or on social issues. You may envision and plan your
final quilt, but often it is the scraps of opportunity and challenge or necessity which come your way from
which you must build your pieces of peace into your quilt. The pattern is not set, often, but is determined by the pieces
you have found and transformed. Peace itself, in fact, is woven from and created through scraps we may initially
reject or see no use for, or from pieces which we don't find all that attractive. Our creative energy and our dedication
takes what comes our way and transforms those scraps into a whole which celebrates peace as an artistic process.
Start by focusing on your own personal challenges , one scrap at a time, or a find a group of peace workers who take
one piece...one scrap...at a time and join with them to contribute to the quilt which unites all in one magnificent quilt
Peace to you this day. Piece by piece.
Friday, September 8, 2006
In a Hundred Years
3:16 pm edt
A friend of ours, when facing a problem or issue, always said, "In a hundred years, it won't matter." Well, no doubt
it won't, and saying this does give some perspective, but saying this doesn't keep one from being caught up in the
issue, and the perceived concern, pain or problem seems to present in the present moment. It frankly was always a bit
confounding to hear that what was most consuming in the moment, wasn't really much of an issue in the long run. It seemed
that the issue was too easily dismissed by those words. What really matters is how we deal with a situation in the moment
in which we are confronted with it. How do we handle a crisis? On the one hand, everything in our body and mind may go into
hyperalert...our physical reaction speeds up, our heart pounds, and adrenalin may race through our system. We are in touch
with fear and bracing ourselves for a defensive against the situation.
We may also go into denial and avoidance as a way in which to keep from reacting in fear. At some point we will probably
have to confront and deal with the situation, regardless. Fear and denial don't really give us a way in which to deal with
crises. "Flight" or "fight" don't do much to help.
What if when a crisis arises, you acknowledged the fear and the tendency to want to deny it, but that you listened quietly
to what it was challenging you to open to and learn from? If you listen quietly and pay attention to the type and kind of
challenge the situation presents, and the ways in which it is asking you to grow, you can then participate in the
experience as a way to grow and expand your understanding and awareness of yourself and of life. Sure, its difficult and moves
you to an uncomfortable place, but that's how we grow...by doing something different from an uncomfortable place.
You are not the only person who has had to deal with this kind of discomfort, and you will not be alone with this kind
of struggle or the last person who has to deal with it, for sure. Hang in there! Learn from the challenges. Keep a daily journal
of the challenges you face, and your awareness of what they are daring you to face. Take a deep breath. You have many options
and possibilities for dealing with each situation. Trust yourself to be able to handle this one. You are really more resourceful
than you think you are.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
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