Peace For Another January

Monthly Peace Challenge: The Neuroscience of Peace

What one thought will you focus on this year to bring more peace?  Call it a mantra, a resolution, a pebble in the pond of your consciousness that will send out ripples of peace throughout the year.

calm in your heart

I have a female brain.  I’ve decided to blame it for the fact that some days I can’t seem to focus on one thought for five minutes, so choosing a thought to last a year is a daunting task.

My mantras change with the weather.  But they’re all good ones.  Here’s a list which skims the top of the many different ones that go galumphing through my head.  I know, that doesn’t sound very peaceful, does it?  But if I can grab hold of a calming thought and breathe it in, I can also breathe it out.  May you find some small thing here to soothe your soul.

1.  Everything you go through, grows you.

2.  You were given this life because you are strong enough to handle it.

3.  Choose to see the good stuff.

4.  Let it out or it will eat you away.

5.  Feel everything deeply, both the pain and the joy.

6.  Find the calm in the storm.

7.  Be still and listen.

8.  Create something beautiful.

9.  Do small things with great love.

10.  Laugh.  Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

11.  Just do it.  Because why the hell not?

12.  Do not let the world make you hard.

13.  No one heals themselves by wounding another.

14.  Try being informed instead of just opinionated.

15.  Don’t waste the rain.  Play in the puddles.

16.  Choose kindness.

17.  It’s okay to make glorious, amazing mistakes because that’s how you learn.

18.  Be grateful.

19.  Your life has purpose, your voice matters.

20.  Tell your story.

namaste

my soul honors your soul

I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides

I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you

because it is also within me

in sharing these things we are united, we are the same,

we are one

bloggers for peace

December Post For Peace

party on

This months Peace Challenge:  Party on Garth – Plan a party that will ripple peace to the world.

This post has been sitting in draft limbo for 20 days here at Breathing Space.  Collecting dust and looking forlorn.  Because I’m having one super non-peaceful disharmonious time getting it properly started.  Sort of like a party that never got past the planning stages.  That crucial first sentence is supposed to be the hook that pulls you in and makes you want to read more but Christmas has numbed my brain.  Imagine each one of these really bad starts on a separate sheet of crumpled up paper used to practice basketball shots.

1.  I hate parties.  (That one sat around all by itself for two weeks) (Yes, it did.)

2.  I dislike parties very much. Strongly.  A lot. Please don’t make me go to your stupid office Christmas Party, I would rather poke myself in the eye with a stick.  Make that both eyes with two sticks.

3. I am not a fan of big parties because they seem to consist of crazy noisy drunken crowds, music that’s much too loud with overlapping conversations from six different directions at once so that I get a headache and my ears start to buzz and I just want to go home.  There is food sitting around at room temperature for way too long and I don’t want to get food poisoning and people who have had too much to drink always double dip. Gah.  I don’t like getting dressed up or dancing (I won’t dance, don’t ask me) and what if there are stupid party games, shenanigans and contests….omg, do people still do that shit?  Can I hide in the bathroom?

4.  ….party pooper,  stick-in-the-mud,  wet blanket…. (thank you thesaurus, but where’s my picture?)

5.  I am the exact opposite of the life of the party, which must mean I am the death of the party.

6.  I can’t remember the last time I got invited to a party.  Well.  I wonder why.

7.  I am not just doing this for the T-shirt you know……

Okay I’m done with the excuses and the procrastinating,  as well as with trying to find my inner party animal, because I obviously don’t have one anymore.  It took off somewhere around my 30th birthday and hasn’t been heard from since.  I guess I don’t hate ALL parties though.  Small celebrations and family get-togethers and informal dinner parties are all perfectly fine, as are kids birthday parties and conversations over coffee. This might give you the impression that any party I plan would be EXTREMELY peaceful, because everyone would pass out from boredom.  You could be right.

However, think about this for a minute.  What if World Peace Talks were combined with generous amounts of wine and cheese?  Do you think there would be any more disputes and disagreements after, say, a case or two of Chardonnay each and twelve different kinds of cheese?   Worth a try.  You can’t fight about something if you don’t remember what it was you were mad about or why you showed up in the first place.

wine and cheese

So my peace party will be a wine and cheese tasting extravaganza.  I will set up a table of all those exotic cheeses you see in the grocery store deli but are afraid to buy because they’re so expensive and what if they’re gross?  Well what you do in that case is bring them out and serve them to your guests, that’s what.  Somebody somewhere is bound to like at least one of them.  The choices are truly mind-boggling.  Pay attention, I’m trying to teach you something here.

Soft Cheese: Blue Castello, Boursin, Brie, Bucheron, buffalo mozzarella, Camembert, feta, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, Limburger, Mascarpone, Muenster, Neufchatel, Pave Affinois, Teleme

Hard Cheese: Asiago, Blue, Derby, Edam, Emmentaler, Grana Padano, Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Manchego, Parmigiano, Pecorino Romano, Raclette, Reggiano, Swiss, Wensleydale, Zamarano

Semi-Soft Cheese: Bel Paese, Baby Swiss, Colby, Fontina, Havarti, Kasseri, Madrigal Baby Swiss, Morbier, Port Salut

Semi-Hard Cheese: Cheddar, Chesire, Cotija, Danish Blue, Double Gloucester, Gouda, Graddost, Panela, Provolone, Roquefort, Sonoma Jack, Stilton

Don’t worry, I’ll make up little signs on toothpicks so you know what the hell you just ate.

Same with the wine.  I promise to buy a variety of red and white wines based on the proprietors recommendations and not just on my inclination to try the ones with hysterically funny names.

Soft Cheese Wines: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Champagne, Cabernet, White Zinfandel, Vidal, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Chianti, Sancerre

Hard Cheese Wines: Bardolino, Tawny Port, Madeira, Sherry, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Côtes du Rhône, Rioja, Cabernet, Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello di Montalcino, Ribera del Duero, Chardonnay, Chianti Riserva, Beaujolais, Dark Beer, Sangria, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir

Semi-Soft Cheese Wines: Chardonnay, Champagne, Riesling, Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara, Bordeaux, Rioja, Fleurie, Beaujolais, Chinon, Bourgueil

Semi-Hard Cheese Wines: Chardonnay, Champagne, Riesling, Cabernet, Sancerre, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chianti Riserva, Barolo, Tawny Port

My plan is to choose one cheese from each category and one wine from each complimentary category, pair them together and pretend I actually know what I’m doing.

There will be crackers and olives, nuts, strawberries and peaches, pear slices, walnut bread and strong dark chocolate.  Figs, dried apricots, dates and maybe even some champagne.  We’ll call that dessert.

Everyone at the party must participate in one action for peace.  I will have been sampling wine all afternoon and will be in no condition to determine what exactly that action should be, so please surprise me.

Will this party bring more joy, smiles, love, and peace into the world?  Well hopefully, because that would be a lot better result than just a bunch of severe wine hangovers.

On a much more serious note, this is a video on YouTube called The Empathic Civilisation from a lecture by Jeremy Rifkin.  Perhaps I will make it compulsory viewing at my party.  The Bloggers for Peace idea that Kozo started almost a year ago has generated just this kind of awareness of our sociability, attachment, affection, and companionship with all kinds of people that we might not otherwise have met.  In our quest for peace we are certainly not alone.  We are all family, and every one of us wishes to celebrate this life we’re so privileged to be living.  It’s all about extending empathy until it encompasses everyone on the planet.  That my friend would be one big party.

bloggers for peace

More posts for peace:

Electronic Bag Lady B4Peace All together now!

Goldfish December Peace Party

Seeker Open Party: Give peace a chance ~ December 2013

November Post For Peace

“Normally we divide the external world into that which we consider to be good or valuable, bad or worthless, or neither. Most of the time these discriminations are incorrect or have little meaning. For example, our habitual way of categorizing people as friends, enemies, and strangers depending on how they make us feel is both incorrect and a great obstacle to developing impartial love for all living beings. Rather than holding so tightly to our discriminations of the external world, it would be much more beneficial if we learned to discriminate between valuable and worthless states of mind.”  ―     Geshe Kelsang Gyatso,   Transform Your Life: A Blissful Journey  

argument

The monthly peace challenge for November is “Love Thy Enemy“.  Open your arms to your enemies. Think of a person, a place, a nation, a culture, a religion, a gender, or an ideology that you view as an enemy.

Enemy is a word I don’t like very much. For three days I’ve been trying to think of an enemy to embrace, feeling all smug and lucky that I don’t have one.  Yes, I am often in La La Land and oblivious to many things.  What exactly does it mean to have enemies?

I looked it up, thinking surely I must have missed the boat here if I can’t be all angry and hateful about something like other normal people.  It’s a relativist term for an entity, whether an individual or a group, that is seen as forcefully adverse or threatening.

Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.

In other less wordy words, sometimes the enemy is conjured up in our heads when we see life as black and white, good guys and bad guys, friends and foes.   Sometimes it’s even a one-sided concept, and our perceived enemies have no idea they’re causing us frustration and grief. And I guess that’s how a person becomes their own worst enemy.

I don’t like this word because when you label a person or a group or a nation as the enemy, you give them power over you, and you set yourself up to become a victim.  You begin to see them as the cause of all your problems.  They hurt you, and you want to hurt them back in the same way.  You hold a grudge and you want revenge.  And suddenly you are no better and no different from the perceived enemy.

My parents taught me to be a good human being and to treat people with love, kindness, compassion and respect.  Do unto others, turn the other cheek;  practice tolerance, benevolence and forgiveness.  Do I do all of these things all of the time?  Hell yes!

Okay, no, of course I don’t.  I try.  But I also battle my fears, anger, misjudgments, narrow-mindedness and intolerance.  Some days I win, some days I lose.

There have been some annoying people in my life that I couldn’t stand, who irritated the hell out of me, made me bitter and resentful, spiteful and unkind.  I never thought of them as the enemy, but I guess I treated them as if they were exactly that.  Am I proud of how I’ve acted?  Did it make me happy?  Nope.

The bad feelings are destructive and counterproductive and even if I thought I was keeping them all inside, I know they affected the people around me.  Sending out those bad vibes is never a good idea because they always bounce right back.

It’s always easier to blame than it is to understand. It takes a lot less time to be mad at somebody than to try to figure out why they act the way they do.   But grief and hatred and hurt are the enemies of love and happiness and peace.  Every one of us is responsible for how we relate to the world around us.  Every relationship is an important part of the whole.  We think it doesn’t matter much if we hate something or someone but fear and anger and hatred spread until families and cultures and societies are infused with it.  Am I adding to that when I let my bad attitude out to play?

Turning resentment and hatred into acceptance and love is a challenge.  I have been challenged my whole life.   I think I’m finally winning the race though.  It took me three days, after all, to think up an enemy. It’s that little voice in my head that tells me it doesn’t matter what I do or how I feel.  Because it does matter.  Every one of us matters and we’re all in this together.  So let’s be friends.

bloggers for peace

“In reality, there are no enemies; we’re all souls in growth, waking up”
―     James Redfield   The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision  

related posts:

Inspire The Idea

the seeker – Candle in Spain

KM Huber’s Blog

October Post For Peace

This month’s Bloggers for Peace Challenge:  Let’s visualize what a peaceful world will look like.  What is your dream of peace?

IMG_0159

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

As much as I love this guy, don’t worry, my vision of world peace doesn’t have Neil Patrick Harris running the show and calling the shots.

Ruler of the World would be an impossible job, unless we could all miraculously agree on some universal ideal and be okay with having that enforced until someone comes up with something better.  Everyone on earth happily following all ‘the rules’.   But we’re human, and we all know that’s not likely going to happen.  There will always be rule breakers, no matter how well-intentioned the rules may be.  Some of us would get bored in a hurry and decide to stir things up.  Some of us thrive on chaos.

And then we’d simply end up with a brand new mess.  Have you noticed that has happened before?  There are as many reasons for our lack of peace and happiness as there are individuals on this earth.  We’re a very unpredictable assortment of characters,  because each one of us has some inner battle to fight, insecurities and fears to face, wants and needs and goals to attain. Who wants to try to contain and control all of that?  Not me, and probably not Neil Patrick Harris either, if he stops to think about it for a minute.

My dream of peace is simply that everybody tries their hardest to learn to get along.  I just want all of us to stop fighting, have fun, and be happy.

And yes, I DO have some helpful hints.  I’ve been a MOM, after all, and what mom doesn’t wish for that kind of blissful family life?  I believe that these are some of the things we need to do to live more peacefully, teaching our children by example.  And then maybe we can spread the love around and reach all the “children” of every age all over the world.

1.  Love and be kind to yourself first. Be your own best friend, happy with exactly who you are.  You are worthy of love and acceptance and you deserve to be here.

2.  Never be afraid of what comes next.  Things over which you have no control are going to happen. That’s life. You will be okay. You will probably come out a better and wiser person on the other side of it all.

3.  Be grateful every day for what you already have in your life.  If you’re not, what makes you think you’ll be happy with more?

4.  A meaningful life is not made by becoming rich, popular, highly educated, powerful or perfect.  Emptiness cannot be filled by someone else or by many possessions.  Look after the spiritual you by staying real, by being strong, and by sharing yourself and touching the lives of others.  Money can’t buy you love, is what I’m trying to say.

5.  “People aren’t either wicked or noble.  They’re like chefs salads, with good things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.” (Lemony Snicket)  Be kind, respectful and tolerant of others.  There is something good and worthy of love in every person you meet.

6.  “We are all going to die.  All of us.  What a circus!  That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t.  We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities.  We are eaten up by NOTHING.”  (Charles Bukowski)  Don’t get eaten up by nothing.  Life is much too short to waste even a minute of it.

7.  Don’t get so caught up in making a good life, dealing with life, or just floating through life that you forget to actually live it.  Stop chasing better tomorrows.  Today is yesterday’s tomorrow, and today is really all you’ve got. Make it marvelous.

8.  Give unconditional love to the earth and all of its inhabitants.  We are all in this together.

9.  All of your ancestors are right there behind you.  You are the result of the love of thousands and you are never alone.

10.  “Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it.  If we’re frantic, life will be frantic.  If we’re peaceful, life will be peaceful.” (Marianne Williamson)  Breathe the air, feel the love, share the joy.

Live a full, contented and happy life.  You can do it.  Love and peace are all you need.

bloggers for peace

Delightfully Different Life

Terry Kinden Bullying Prevention

Tomas Heartflow 2013

August Post For Peace

love & peace
This month the Bloggers for Peace challenge from Kozo at everyday gurus is to invoke the power of music, and to post something about the intersection of music and peace.

After my husband got satellite radio and set it up in our house to blat away 24/7, our son, here on a weekend visit, wondered aloud why we kept it tuned to a station playing such bizarre and eclectic random stuff.  Those weren’t his exact words, but close enough. W told him “because that’s the only station your mother doesn’t turn off.” 

That was rather enlightening for all of us, illustrating, among other things, what a joy I am to live with.

I used to wonder why my dad seemed to be so sensitive to what he called “a bunch of damned noise” when it came to our teenage tastes in music, but now I get it.  There is music I like a lot and will listen to selectively when the rare mood for it hits me, but over all I prefer the sounds of silence.  Listening to nothing greatly reduces the chances of getting a song stuck in my head for hours on end.  Or maybe my longing for quiet is a throwback to the days when we all took music lessons and hammered away on the piano giving the entire household pounding headaches.  It was a great relief to walk away and escape outside for some peace and quiet.  I’m pretty sure that’s how I got a beautiful heart out of the whole piano lesson experience.

So what kind of music do I find peaceful?  Lullabies are lovely.  Anything soft and slow and barely audible.  Deep wind chimes in a summer breeze.  Something with beautiful lyrics, or no lyrics at all.  There are some classical pieces (like Chopins Nocturnes for instance) with the power to soothe the soul.  I like R&B and Jazz.  I especially love instrumental mood music with background water falls and thunder storms.  Yep, I’m one of those people.

I also like Gregorian chant, and its immitators.  And the pure, clear, incredibly beautiful and haunting Celtic solo voice.  Put these two together and it’s hard for me to imagine music any more easy listening and peace inspiring than this.

I hope this video gives you a few moments of blissful peace and relaxation.  And then, I promise, you can go back to your polkas or hip hop or hard rock or whatever it is that works for you.

 

Come now, come by our side
A place where you can hide
We are the sunshine
Rest your soul here and you’ll find
We are the energy
We give the world to thee
Hold up your heart now
We will ease pain from your brow

In a world without dangers,
Where destruction is near
You can come with us here.
Where the people are strangers
You will rest here with me
In a moment of peace.
In a world without dangers,
Where destruction is near
You can come with us here.
Where the people are strangers
You will rest here with me
In a moment of peace.

Light up the dark below
See through the stars
Reach to the earth’s flow
Drift in the joy of our hearts
Unleash the energy
Taste of the wine
Drink as a soul that knows now
The power divine

In a world without dangers,
Where destruction is near
You can come with us here.
Where the people are strangers
You will rest here with me
In a moment of peace.
In a world without dangers,
Where destruction is near
You can come with us here.
Where the people are strangers
You will rest here with me
In a moment of peace.

bloggers for peace

July Post For Peace

IMG_1540

Write a letter for peace and send it out into the Universe.

Dear Spirit Guides of the Universe,

I’ve been told I never ask for help (although heaven knows I need it and we could all use some.)  Being independent and stubborn and believing if I try hard enough I can do it on my own often leaves me feeling alone, confused, frustrated and afraid.  You know this, you’ve heard me whine and complain about it.  It’s too hard, I’m so lost, I just don’t know.  Finding this elusive thing called inner peace can be one colossal struggle.

There will always be issues, problems, and challenges;  I get that.  I know I’m just another wandering soul in this vast universe searching for enlightenment, and I know I’ve come this close.  I’d like to know why I shut my eyes tight at the last minute, sure that the light will blind me.

So I guess I could just yell “Help!” into the void and wait to see what happens, but I’m thinking you might want me to be a little more specific than that.  If I chose this lifetime, forgive me, but I can’t remember why.  Please give me some small hints and gentle reminders.

Please help me reach deep inside myself for compassion, sympathy and understanding.   Help me to be more loving, more caring, more giving.   Help me to see and appreciate the beauty and the miracles that are all around me in every smile, every laugh, every hug.

I could use a little help remembering that when I can’t figure everything out –  it’s okay.  Tell me to simply be still and listen. Stop me when I’m too hard on myself, and when I take myself way too seriously.

Make me grateful for the people who are in my life, even when they drive me crazy, because they are here to teach me something.  Could you please speed up that learning process a bit though?   Meanwhile, I will try to stop wishing I could change who they are, because we both know that is never going to happen.  They are who they are, and there is good in everyone, even if it’s hard for me to see.  I’m a little skeptical about true unconditional love for everyone, but I know it’s not impossible.

Don’t let me be tossed about and influenced and messed up by the decisions of other people.  Help me stand my ground, but don’t let limiting beliefs close my mind.  I know, that’s a tough one.  I want to take my own steps forward, without being pushed or pulled.  Help me to accept responsibility for my own happiness, to believe that every ending is simply a new beginning, taking me in a different and better direction.

I promise to joyfully accept the happy accidents, the beautiful chance encounters, the strange and mysterious coincidences that happen in my life. I will try to do everything I can do with what I’ve got, loving and appreciating myself and feeling worthy. Stamp all that on my brain somewhere, would you please?  Along with the fact that I am strong, I am safe, and I am deeply loved.  I tend to forget all these things on a regular basis.

Help me every day to fall in love all over again, with my family, my friends, and this wonderful life adventure in our magical world.   Remind me that every small act of kindness has a ripple effect which reaches out and expands, helping to heal the broken hearts of people I’ve never even met.  Being kind is not a sacrifice, it is a joy.

Most of all, don’t let my past rule my future.  Don’t let me put off celebrating today, this moment, the power and the freedom of now.  Today is the only thing that matters.  There is nothing else.

Well, there you go, I think that’s about it.  I know you can handle all this, being that you’re all-powerful and all-knowing and eternal and all that celestial stuff.  And I know you do all these things for me already even when I don’t ask and for this I am truly grateful.  Inner peace is not an illusion and I know I will find it.

Thanks for rooting for me.

Lots of Love, Grandmalin

bloggers for peace