Monday, November 29, 2010

a little kindness

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
-Aesops


::elizabeth::

Last week, I was driving south of Atlanta in a very diverse area. I walked into a busy convenience store to pay for gasoline. The clerk was behind a glass barrier, and I noticed something very interesting. Despite the steady stream of people who were coming in to purchase beer, lottery tickets, pay for gas, this clerk took the time to look each person in the eye and smile. When it was my turn, not only did I see his smile, I felt it through the glass and all. The energy of that smile was intense. I left there feeling quite blessed to have chosen that gas station and I thought about the important work that clerk was doing, not in a temple, but in a gas station.

We create some interesting walls for ourselves. I know there was a time in my past that I thought that people would think it was strange if I hugged them. I know there have been times when I thought it would be inappropriate to smile to someone I didn’t know. And I know there have been places that I was too afraid to speak to the “strangers” around me. How silly it was for me to create these barriers and how long it has taken me to tear them down. May any walls I have remaining be transparent so that love and kindness can penetrate through…ashe.




::lisa::

This is something so great to think about during the holiday season. If we all started thinking in terms of acts of kindness this season instead of material gift giving I only imagine what form of shift our world would take on. I think most of us have grown up with the give and take mentality. When dealing with kindness, or acts from the heart, we may not always see an immediate return of kindness. Instead it may come at another time, when we least expect it, but most need it. It is important though to separate our expectations of what we may or may not get in return for our acts of kindness.

We need to make the shift to just doing kind things for the sake of it; for positivity; for love; for the change we wish to see. This can start by making simple eye contact with the complete strangers we pass each day, writing our loved ones little notes of appreciation, smiling more, or learning to let ourselves relax. These simple things have the power to ripple out into the universe at a much, much greater volume.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Heather from Shivaya Naturals: piece together peace guest post

As we walk our way through the piece together peace project, our intention is to bring those participating into this space. Each and everyone of us truly has the capcity to inspire others and to be inspired by others. I know I have seen a wealth of inspiration in the posts and intentions that have been put out as a part of this project. And for that I am truly grateful.

Our first guest is Heather, who blogs at Shivaya Naturals. Heather's post struck something very deep within me when I came across it and I knew it would be wonderful to share.

In Heather's words:



I was really taken with this project, and I spent some time thinking on what exactly peace means to me in the life that I am living right now. I find that the most peaceful moments in my life lately have been the ones that come from just watching my children enjoying their childhood.




That may sound simple, but children really do hold the key to happiness, to peace, and to a more harmonious world. The simple things that make them laugh, that bring them joy, and that allow them a freedom of expression is not only joyous to watch, but truly awe inspiring as well. Maybe it sounds naive, but I really believe that if we could all live as simply and easily as a child, the world would be no where near as complicated as it is.

Having said that, children seem to be bombarded with so much these days, that it feels as though those peaceful and simple qualities are more limited than when I was a kid. The challenge that I gave myself this past month, in taking part of Piece Together Peace, was to allow for as many moments of childhood as was possible. To put down my computer, to walk away from all the tasks that I put on myself to accomplish, and to just live with my children in their world, rather than trying to prepare them for mine.

I have to admit that in trying this approach, a lot has shifted for my little family. There is nothing major that you can spot, nothing out in the open that seems different, but there is a subtle togetherness that surrounds us in a new way. Work, finances, stress, marriage, relationships, housekeeping, these are things that we all face and that sometimes are surprising in the ways that they prevent us from fully embracing the joys of our own family.



As Joel and I set out to not force those things to go away, but rather to embrace the time with our kids more fully, we both felt that our own relationship with each other has shifted and grown. It is important to us that our kids do not define us by the time we spend on the computer or the phone, but it also important that they feel that we not only schooled them and taught them and cared for them, but that we truly played with them.




It is in the play that the peace occurs. The tossing of leaves for hours, watching them jump from trees into those same leaf piles for as long as they wanted us to, and sitting back and choosing to be fully present in those moments, that is where we found the peace.

When my oldest child wakes early in the morning, instead of sending him out to work on a project, I have gotten up and worked on one with him. It has gone from sleep I felt that I felt I was missing, to the best part of my morning. Instead of encouraging the kids to play a game with each other, I have tried to get down and play one with them every chance I could get. Instead of knitting while they are in the backyard climbing trees or playing hide and go seek, I have gotten involved (to the extent that I can) in their imaginative play. I may not always be right in the thick of what they are doing, but I am not just observing anymore, and that has felt much different.

We all work hard, and in so many ways we believe that we have to live within the stressful confines that the world puts on us, but choosing to seek out peace through the children we love so much is the best reminder that we get to choose the lives that we lead, and the way that we lead them. We can create peace by allowing as many opportunities for our children to find joy, and in doing so create a world of leaders for the next generation who will hopefully feel more connected to each other and the world they inhabit.

It may not be much, but it certainly has made a difference.


:::


Thank you so much Heather for sharing your beautiful thoughts and words with us, and for joining us in this walk for peace.

Monday, November 22, 2010

simplicity of living

“Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.”

-peace pilgram


::elizabeth::


What do I need?

What do I really need?

These are questions I’ve been asking myself frequently as I had limited space to store my belongings over the last month. Even though I pared my belongings down to what I thought were the bare essentials, I still had too much. There were things I rarely/never used.

Ten years or so ago, I found a small booklet by Peace Pilgram in my friend’s bathroom, and I read a few pages. I wondered if I could ever live like that. A couple of weeks ago, I received a copy of that booklet from a wonderful person who hosted our 13 Moon Walk 4 Peace team and I have been reading it. I still wonder if I could live like that. She walked 25,000 miles only carrying a few things in her pockets. She didn’t eat until she was offered food, and she didn’t sleep until she was offered a place to rest.

I think of all the comforts I took along with me on the walk and the luxuries we had available to us….my super cozy fuzzy socks, an rv, a travel mug, a camera, a netbook, my nettle tea…and wonder what my walk would have been like if I would have had less. Despite all the excess I had, I still experienced a taste of the freedom that Peace Pilgram speaks of and that was enough to let me know that simplicity is a path that allows me to flourish in ways I’ve never experienced before.





::lisa::


to me "things" make noise. when there is alot of "stuff" i am uncomfortable, both mentally and in my body. when i feel this way i want it off of me, to escape it somehow, and submerse myself somewhere peaceful. i feel so peaceful outside where there is nothing but things that are necessary...the trees, the wind, the water, the sky... the earth beneath my own two feet. there is the occassional friend who may skitter by underfoot of fly above my head (or a child shouting loudly at my side).

in our current society, i think a lot of us are feeling the ill effects that convenience and disposable life offers us. many of us are now turning back to find a new way of living, one that doesn't sacrifice our souls or our way of thinking. when we have too many "things", that do not serve us, over time they become painful and burdensome. it can be so hard at times, yet i just need to remember that when i no longer need something, i need to just let it go.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

grace

“Learn to limit yourself; to content yourself with some definite work; dare to be what you are and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not; and to believe in your own individuality.”

~Henri Frederic Amiel



::elizabeth::


A few times in this lifetime, I’ve reinvented myself. Each time involved me physically leaving a place I lived for a long time and completely embracing the opportunities that lay ahead. There is such freedom in knowing that you can be anyone you want to be. I think sometimes we limit ourselves by what we believe others will accept or what we habitually do. But when we can step out of our routines and away from limiting beliefs the world is ours. That is how we come into our true power. Stepping away from what is not serving us and towards what we know in our hearts is waiting to fulfill us. It is a process of refinement that we have a lifetime to work towards.

Along the way there will be challenges. There will be those who will make us feel guilty. There are those who will question our practicality. Nevertheless we must fearlessly step forward in faith. Truly, there is no greater gift to the world that we can give than to step into our fullest potential. Forget about limiting yourself...dare to dream and then take a great big, bold step into it.




::lisa::


Lately I have felt the strong lesson of letting go, to take a step back and remove myself from what is right in front of me at times, in many different facets of life. Today our refrigerator broke and a lot of food got spoiled by the time we realized what had happened. Stepping back gave me the opportunity to see that situation for what it was, without my attached emotions. While I am there I can let go of what I am not, and take hold of what I am and apply the grace to tackling the situation head on.

I know this is one of the more trivial examples, but I believe that with clear intentions and efforts, we can all choose the reality we wish to see in our everyday lives. Once we add grace, and the ability to let go willingly to those emotions and “extras” that no longer help us in the most positive way, we can all enjoy the ride a little more smoothly.

Monday, November 8, 2010

the art of living

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. 
~Henry Ellis



::elizabeth::


 
Over the last 5 weeks, I have lived this. I have let go of almost everything in order to be on the 13 Moon Walk 4 Peace. I let go of my home of 20 years. I let go of plans, schedules and habits. I pared down and let go of personal belongings so that I could fit the clothes I needed for myself and Jude into a small duffle bag. And still there is more to let go of….I am learning this every day. And that in itself is a pathway to peace. When we can really let go of all that we feel we must have, of all that we feel we deserve, of all that we desire, we create an energetic pathway for peace to flow into our lives and into the world.

In the wake of all the surrender, we hold onto faith and trust that we are never alone, never really without. We make the path clear. And we realize we haven’t really given up anything at all.



::lisa::



Finding that balance between letting go and holding on is something I struggle with in many ways. Right now I especially feel that I am being challenged with this more so than at other points in my life. I try so hard to let go and see where life takes me, but one of the challenges that comes up for me is the “stuff” that I am attached to. Some of it is physical, such as my house, sewing machine, camera, etc. while other things seem more emotional, such as my children, parenting choices, life choices, etc. Whenever I feel a personal struggle I wonder if it could be solved by simply letting go, but worry about how to let go completely to something that means the world to me.

One thing I try to remind myself often, is that I am not perfect, and won’t make all the “right” decisions all the time. In fact, there is no “perfect”, but instead there is the ebb and flow of life. It is here that sometimes I let go, while other times I hold on tightly, and with each day I learn a little bit more about myself and finding what works or doesn’t.


:::

Join us in the piece together peace project by setting a personal peace intention for November.  If you don't feel like you have time and energy for another 'project', this is most likely the perfect time to commit to peace in an intentional way..."Generate peace and it will regenerate you."-Notty Bumbo

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

piece together peace project: november peace intention

Please post a link to your november peace intention for the piece together peace project.  Remember to grab the button and use it to help us spread the word and the peace.  Thank you for all the inspiration in October.  We will be posting some highlights in the near future.  And if you have a follow up post for your October intention, you can link it here.

Walk the walk.

Be peace.

Be the piece.

Together...let's piece together peace.




Monday, November 1, 2010

one step

Although we walk all the time, our walking is usually more like running. When we walk like that, we print our anxiety and sorrow on the Earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. We can all do this, provided that we want it very much. Any child can do it. If we can take one step like this, we can take two, three, four, and five. When we are able to take one step peacefully and happily, we are working for the cause of peace and happiness for the whole of humankind.

~Thich Nhat Hanh



::elizabeth::


Walking with intention as part of the 13 Moon Walk 4 Peace has given me the gift of peace and harmony. This is not the same as saying all my problems have gone away. In fact, if anything new issues, old issues, recurring issues have been getting dredged up as I walk this walk. It has been a great opportunity for healing and transformation. My belief is that we each have a piece of this beautiful planet to heal, and our work starts right at home in our own hearts. So when we walk with intention, as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests, even if it is just for a few steps, we have to power to change a lot. Just try it and see for yourself.




::lisa::



A few years ago I had a very powerful vision. In my vision I saw a man reaping wheat. He was miserable with having to do his work. His body ached with discomfort in spending his time everyday doing what he didn’t truly want to be doing. With each swipe of the scythe, anger flashed out at the crop that would nourish his and his families lives. I saw how powerful this energy transaction was, how it was damaging the composition of the food that would enter his body, and how this energy was directly being absorbed by the Earth. The Earth felt sad and betrayed.

It is so utterly important to remember that what we do should bring us complete joy. If what we do doesn’t bring us complete joy we have two choices, one to walk away and find something else that does, or two to figure out how to make it so we can find joy in it. The emotions that we feel deep within, our being emanates all around us. Our emotions are amplified the farther and farther they get from our body. We have the choice to amplify anger and resentment from the lives that we live, or peace and serenity. I feel it is time for us to offer humankind and our beautiful planet some sincere efforts toward peace and happiness, one step at a time. One peaceful intention at a time.

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