Tag Archives: bloggers for peace

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

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September Post For Peace

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One of my favorite quotes, full of wisdom and insight.  If all of us lived by this creed, what a peaceful existence this would be.

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Bloggers For Peace  Montly Peace Challenge:  Quote This

bloggers for peace

June Post For Peace

inspiredbythis.com
inspiredbythis.com

Monthly Peace Challenge from Kozo at everyday gurus –  “This month I challenge you to explore how to have peace in relationships or how to have peace at home.”

After 41 years of being married to W (42 in November if we both live that long) I totally understand how you might think of me as a relationship guru with all the answers when it comes to making commitments that last.  I often think of myself that way.  And then I give myself a good smack on the forehead and come back to earth for a while.  Because really, who knows why some relationships last a lifetime and others are just practice runs for something better?  We’re all different, and we all relate to each other in different ways.

bloggers for peaceThis is an excellent challenge for all the Bloggers for Peace, and for anyone who is now or has ever been in any kind of relationship, wants to end an old or start a new relationship, or wonders if relationships are all they’re cracked up to be or worth the effort it takes to maintain them.  So that covers pretty much every human being on earth.

Every one of us has our own individual recipe for a peaceful home with a list of ingredients that makes relationships with others work for us.  It should never be carved in stone.  We grow, we change, we evolve.  My personal formula for happiness is in constant revision.  At this particular moment in time, these are some of the things that work for me.  If I come back and read this post in five years time and wonder how I could have been such an idiot, that’s probably a good thing.  It means I’ve learned something new and changed, hopefully for the better.

Okay!  Here we go.  Grandmalin’s Relationship Advice Column.  What makes a peaceful relationship and what you can do to become a better partner.  Because there is nothing else in life I enjoy more than telling people what to do.

1.  Make peace with yourself first.  You have to create your own happiness first before you can share it with someone else.  There is no one out there who can make you happy.  That’s your job.  Another person can help bring out the best in you, but the best has to be there in the first place.  There are also no positive relationships with emotionally unavailable people. If the people you’re currently hanging around with are not happy, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.  If you and your significant other have grown in different directions and can no longer connect or appreciate each other, by all means consider that it may be the right time for both of you to move on.

This is number one on my list because it cannot be stressed enough.  When you love yourself and are at peace with who you are, that love will spill over into all your relationships with your family and your friends and with every one you meet.  And it will open your heart to receive the peace and the love that comes back to you.

2.  Don’t try to change each other.  Go bang your head against a brick wall instead.  It will get the same results.  Accept, adapt, acknowledge.  Change and growth cannot be forced.  Overlook the little things that bug you, because they really don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, and work on your own reactions to them instead.  Don’t nag, don’t harass.  You could maybe try crying and pleading, and see if that works.  But don’t get your hopes up.  Sometimes you just have to readjust your expectations and carry on.

3.  Speak up/Communicate.  Unless you are both mind readers, you will have to talk to each other.  Express your own feelings instead of trying to make the other person feel something. Saying “I care deeply about what is happening” means “I care deeply about you.”

4.  Shut up/Listen.  Unless you are both mind readers, you will have to really hear what is being said to you.  Don’t blame, don’t judge until you’ve truly listened with empathy and compassion.  Everyone wants and deserves to be heard.

5.  Admit that you don’t know everything.  Because, hey – you don’t know everything.  Confess when you mess up.  Step back when you are angry.  One person should not get to be the boss all the time.  Not even you.  Apologize when you need to and don’t stay mad.

6.  Slow down. Life is short and should be savoured at a leisurely pace.  What’s your hurry, anyway?  You’ll get to the end of it soon enough.  Be patient with each other.  Enjoy the learning process together.  Shoot for less drama and more calm.  Work through the issues.  Be strong enough as a team to weather every storm.

7.  Be kind.  Keep your promises.  Each of you deserves to be seen and heard, loved and appreciated.  Be grateful for the time and energy and tolerance it takes to support a loving relationship.  Be supportive and helpful and happy for each other’s successes.   When you fall flat on your face it’s nice to have someone around to help you pick yourself up.  Be that someone for the people you love.

8.   Give each other lots of space.  Respect the other persons right to do things on their own, to make their own decisions and their own mistakes.  You may be a couple, but you are still both individuals working hard on whatever it takes for you to be the best you can be, investing time and energy in your own personal growth.  Sometimes we simply need someone to be there, not to fix anything or even to do anything in particular, but just to stand beside us so that we know we are cared for and loved.

9.  Play.  Have fun.  Laugh.  Be silly.  Life does not have to be so serious.  Spend part of every day being a bit wild and crazy. See how that feels.  Pretty good, hey?  Do it again tomorrow.

10.  Never forget why you fell in love in the first place.  The older you get, the harder it may be for you to recall what the hell you were thinking.  Just remember, your relationship does not define you and it does not own you.  You are now, and forever will be, yourself, living your own life.  But since you’ve decided for now that you’re in this together, don’t stop working on your relationship and everything that makes it sweet.

Love yourself, give love, receive love, be in love. Practice, practice, practice.  That’s how peace happens.

peace at home

January Post for Peace

“The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart.  The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”  – Carlos Santana

Inner Peace
Inner Peace (Photo credit: Mara ~earth light~)

Yesterday I spent one of the most peaceful days I’ve ever had at work.  Or was it simply the most boring?  We get these two concepts mixed up all the time, you know.  Everyone professes to want peace on earth, but the way we live our lives sometimes tells a very different story.  Perhaps we wouldn’t know quite what to do with peace if it was handed to us on a golden platter.  I think we need to learn what it feels like to be a peaceful person first, and then we need to learn how to share this knowledge with the rest of the world.

We read newspapers and watch the news on tv to keep up to date and freaked out by all the horrific things that are happening in our world.  We rant and we complain.  We compete.  We quarrel.  We decide what is good and what is right and which way is the best and then we knock ourselves out trying to justify our decisions and convince everybody around us (in our nation, city, neighborhood, workplace, or in our own homes) that our path is the right and proper one to take.

We are suspicious and fearful of people who have ideas and habits and beliefs that are not the same as ours.  We would like everyone in the world  to want the same things that we want, to believe the same things that we believe, and to live their lives adhering to our standards.  But they don’t, and they won’t.  It’s very stressful for us to have to accept this. Yes, we all start out the same, as babes of the human race, but then each of us lives and learns and grows and changes.  Many of us learn tolerance and acceptance and how to have an open, loving heart.  Many of us don’t.  But before you decide that blowing somebody up is a viable solution for getting your own way, try to imagine how boring this life would be if we didn’t have our many differences.  There would be nothing to discover and nothing new under the sun.

Most of us think of wars are those nasty things being fought in some distant part of the world.  If we could we’d just march on over there and whap those idiots upside the head and tell them to stop all this stupid fighting and for the love of God learn to get along.  Well, maybe that’s what would happen if moms ruled the world.  But fighting for peace is like screaming for silence.  Or as George Carlin said, like screwing for virginity.  It’s as futile as whapping somebody on the head to teach them that whapping somebody on the head is wrong.  There is violence and anger and frustration and fear all around us, but until we realize it’s also deep inside each and every one of us, we will never know peace.

“Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.”  Thomas Merton

Inner peace is where it all starts, and inner peace is often elusive.  If there’s not enough conflict and chaos in our lives, we tend to rush around to drum up some more of it and then we whine about what a disorganized mess everything is in and that there’s never enough time to get everything done.  If there’s not enough drama in our own lives, we watch some one else’s on tv.  We demand it in movies.  We create it in chance encounters by making snap judgements and assumptions.

Inner Peace
Inner Peace (Photo credit: Ely Hynes)

We can also be pessimistic grumps from hell.  (You say that this past year was the worst one of your life, and yet, here you are.  Still alive.  You have food to eat.  You have a roof over your head.  You have clothes to wear and you are not alone.  Someone else might consider your situation paradise.  So please shut up unless you can find it in your heart to tell us how blessed you are  instead.)

And then, what if, suddenly, out of the blue, by some strange magical set of circumstances we find ourselves with that much-desired time on our hands?  There is nothing to do, and nowhere to go and no pressing need to run off in six different directions at once. There is nothing to plan or organize or fix.  What do we do with this beautiful gift of time?  Instead of basking in this personal peace, we often let a restless panic take us over.

We become bored and we sigh and we fidget.  It’s too quiet.  We will go stir crazy with nothing to do.  Geez, somebody start a war or something.

You know that song that says “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”?  I truly believe that’s where peace starts.  And these are the things I’m going to do to start the peace ball rolling.  If there is peace in my heart and my mind and my soul, maybe peace will radiate in some small measure to the world around me.

1.  Slow down.  Time just speeds up when you try to race with it.

2.  Don’t raise your voice or slam or throw things, rant, cry, pout, fret, or otherwise freak out.  These are the actions performed in chaotic, dramatic gong shows, and your life is not one of those.

3.  Be kind.

4.  Do not let someone else’s bad mood or attitude dictate your own.  Do not add fuel to the fire.

5.  Learn to laugh at yourself and take life less seriously.  No one gets out of it alive.

6.  Learn how to bask in the sunshine of quiet moments.

7.  Open your heart and embrace the differences and the diversities and the new experiences this world has to offer.  Variety truly is the spice of life.

8.  Let it go.  Whatever it is.  Find a way.

9.  Stop doing the things that make you miserable.  Stop listening to the people who bring you down.

10. Stop feeling responsible for the happiness of others.  The only person whose happiness you can control is your own.  If you are happy and at peace with the world, the world cannot help but become a better place simply because you are in it.

And as far as all the fighting goes, let’s just postpone wars indefinitely.  If we’re very patient and wait long enough, the people who were going to fight in them will eventually die quietly in their sleep.  Problem solved.

bloggers for peace

So Where Are We Headed From Here?

Winter snow
Winter snow (Photo credit: blmiers2)

Imagine my December Book of Days tossed carelessly on the snow, the wind whipping the pages and ripping some of the blank ones from their bindings to fly helter skelter into oblivion.

Now imagine me sitting here with weepy eyes and an elephant on my chest, groggy from having slept the afternoon away, a little sad about the missing pages, but without the energy to do anything about replacing them. They’re just gone.

Maybe this post-a-day thing has finally beaten me down, although I think I made an awesome stab at it.  There were some sad days in October where words seemed useless and empty or there was simply nothing left to say.  And these few days in December when falling asleep won hands down over staying conscious for even one more minute.

And now I’ve caught this stupid bug and my head is full of sludge.

But today I will not be thwarted by sludge head!  I’m here to explain that delightful button to your right which proclaims me to be one of many  Bloggers for Peace.  Please click on it and see where it takes you.  I am committing to doing a blog for peace every month in 2013.  I fell about a hundred blogs short on my Project 365, but that’s because I kept forgetting to put everything into that category.  So I’ll just slog on with that until I reach the magic number.  Because magic numbers are magical and we could all do with a little more magic in our lives.

I am going to try harder to accept the many Word Press Challenges.  Even when I think they’re stupid.  God knows I rarely come up with anything better on my own.  I will finally finish Alphabet Soup.  I will get Jazzy all the way to one hundred schmaltzy bits of advice with a wine glass that’s never empty.  I will write more poetry.  Before you run away screaming, come on, some of it might even be good.  There’s always that chance.

There will also be more tales for my poor neglected “Before The Lights Go Out”.  Because one of these days the lights will go out for real and there will still be so many stories left to tell.

So I guess that’s my vague master plan for the moment.  Now I’m going to drink a gallon of orange juice, take some decongestants and imagine myself being all bright and perky at work tomorrow.  And the next day, and the next, all the way to 2013.

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
May your every New Year dream come true

Sweet December song
The melody that saved me
On those less than silent nights
When snow would fall upon my bed
White sugar from Jesus
And take me to the day
She could always smile
The Virgin Child would always show, you see
Just to save me
(Just to save me)

There was always Christmas time
To wipe the year away
I guess that morning they’d decided
That the war would have to wait

There was always Christmas time
Jesus came to stay
I could believe in peace on Earth
And I could watch TV all day
So I dreamed of Christmas

Maybe since you’ve gone
I went a little crazy
God knows they can see (the child)
But the snow that falls upon my bed
That loving I needed
Falls every single day
For each and every child
The Virgin smiles for all to see
But you kept her from me

There was always Christmas time
To wipe the year away
I guess that morning they’d decided
That the war would have to wait

There was always Christmas time
Jesus came to stay
I could believe in peace on Earth
And I could watch TV all day
And so I dreamed of Christmas
Yes, I dreamed like you

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
May your every New Year dream come true