In today’s world people like to play “the shame game.” We have no problem shaming someone who is not “like us.” This is rampant among teens but any of us are capable of joining in.
It is so easy to put down those who are different. Maybe they are fat, or too thin, or too black, or too white, or Muslim, or Christian, or Hindu….I could go on and on. Maybe they just don’t agree with us. We are becoming so polarized. Left vs right, Republican vs Democrat.
One of the things I have encountered recently is intolerance about my moderate position. Somewhere between the black and white there is a whole spectrum of gray. Few things in this world are a simple as black and white. Most things have layer upon layer of opinion. Each of us has to make decisions based on our upbringing, our core values and our ethical stance. A choice that may be right for me may be terribly wrong for someone else.
We are losing all respect for opinions differing from our own. It is considered fine to metaphorically hang, draw and quarter those who are different. Love, tolerance and respect have given way to hatred and abuse.
Somehow I hope the pendulum begins to swing the other way. As the population of the earth continues to grow our exposure to others will grow also. We will have to learn to respect the personal space and ability to see things differently of those around us.
Peace. How much weight is carried by that word. What does it mean to be at peace? I have come to the conclusion it has to do with accepting life as it is. The ability to see each thing that opens for us as part of life and be in accord with it.
It sounds so easy. Unfortunately it’s not. How often do we spend time bemoaning what has happened or obsessing about it? So much energy is expended worrying and planning. Think how easy life would be if we could just let go.
Peace the quiet of a starry night a moment in time
the comfort of a warm bed on a cold night
a dog’s welcome after a long day of stress and pain
the sound of ocean waves as they caress the shore and the foam gently touches my feet
the Christmas lights twinkling in joy for the season of love
the quiet of snow silencing the world and turning it white
these thing bring calm to my body and peace to my soul
In the past my friend and I walked the neighborhood each winter. We loved seeing the houses lit for the holidays. All the sparkling lights were so festive. When you walk in the dark you can also see lit rooms in the houses we passed. People living their lives.
This morning our pastor talked about the dark and how the light of home beckons us. It made me think of the John Denver song “Back Home Again.”
“Back Home Again”
There’s a storm across the valley, clouds are rolling in
The afternoon is heavy on your shoulders
There’s a truck out on the four lane, a mile or more away
The whining of his wheels just makes it colder He’s an hour away from riding on your prayers up in the sky
And ten days on the road are barely gone
There’s a fire softly burning, supper’s on the stove
But it’s the light in your eyes that makes him warmHey, it’s good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend
Yes, and hey, it’s good to be back home again
The winter can be a difficult time for those of us who crave the light. However, it is a wonderful feeling to turn into the drive and see the lights of home welcoming us. We are pulled into that feeling of belonging and peace. The light from home does draw us in. It is the place we feel secure….the place where we can rest our souls. It is a warm place in the coldest dark. Even in the darkest time that light can brighten our feelings.
Through this winter darkness remember there is light and peace not only at home but also coming with the spring. The darkness fades and the light returns.
I want to thank Damon Brewster at https://my-journey-online.com for choosing me to participate in the 3.2.1. Quote Me Challenge. Check out his blog it is wonderful to read! His challenge word for me is: Peace
The Rules Of This Challenge Are As Follows:
Thank the Selector
Post 2 quotes for the dedicated topic of the day
Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’
And give them a topic/word
Note: Although this is the topic for today there is no specific deadline to it, meaning you can answer when you choose.
The topic I choose is
This was not the first quote that came to mind but the one that has pulled me today.
Gandhi and Martin Luther King really understood what peace means
Is there something in your life that makes you feel good? Something that you like doing and it puts you in a calm place. There are several things that I do that calm my mind and my mind is peaceful. I do Mandalas. I started these after seeing the book by Judith Cornell on Mandalas for healing.
I am not artist but just creating something while in a meditative state gives me peace. I also use the book Praying in Color as a way to pray for others using drawing. Again, I am not an artist but the action is calming.
Writing is also calming for me (most of the time). Writing poetry allow me to vent my feelings in a constructive way. I also like to play the piano.
The point of all of this is that if you can find something that is calming for you and that you like doing, use it. If you, like me, tend to binge on TV to reduce stress and keep your mind from freaking out, try something like this instead. There is something about engaging your hands, eyes and mind all at once that soothes us.
I am tired. I have realized that the tiredness is coming from the emotional roller coaster I have been on lately. When we have done physical work or completed a project we can be tired but it is a satisfying tired. It feels good. This is not that. This tired is totally enervating. It has drained me to my core.
When we are truly empathetic we experience the feelings and aura of those around us. Recently the strain that my friends have been under and the energy I have expended has taken all the oomph out of me. However I hope we are now on the upswing and that things are getting better.
Tomorrow I will be able to work in the yard. Although this is tiring it is the good kind of tired. It will produce a sense of pleasure and satisfaction. I have complained about the yard work but you can actually see the progress and that is something.
Lately I have taken little time for myself and I will address that in the coming week. I would like to see some “normal” but you never know when you will have to adjust to a “new normal.”
Finding things that bring us peace and calm are so important. Reading help me and just sitting on the porch and enjoying the outdoors. Each of us needs to find what can help when things get overwhelming. Not caring for ourselves will bring on anxiety, panic and depression. Not something we want to do.
Today I decided to eat breakfast on the porch. It is frequently too hot but today is milder and there is a breeze. We live on a tidal marsh. We have an 8 ft tide change. When tide is low you can smell the marsh. Some people don’t like that smell but I love it. When I was a child and visited my aunt and uncle here that smell meant we were on the way to the beach… on the way to a fun day so that smell has wonderful memories for me. It is interesting that smell can stimulate such strong memories.
I love the play of light and shadow made by the giant oak trees that we have here. There are ferns that grow on the trees (along with Spanish moss). They are called resurrection ferns. When there is no rain they are brown and look totally dead. Then it will rain and behold they are beautiful and green. I love the name and the connection.
Today sitting on the deck I just reveled in the beauty of the day…how green everything is…the beautiful oaks..everything in God’s world. God is in the midst of it all. Creation continuing in the world.
I am blessed to be able to sit and absorb the beauty. I don’t do it enough. It soothes my soul and reduces anxious thoughts. It is part of my journey that I have committed to see the world around me each day and immerse myself in it.
Today I shared, on my other blog, a song by Khris Khristopherson that has always meant a lot to me. Below is the video of the song with the story of how it was written. The song itself may not be your cup of tea but the lyrics are powerful and so is the story. Please read on after the video.
It is possible for each of us to have an experience so powerful that it can change us. It doesn’t matter how we connect with God/supreme being/universal One. What matters is that it is possible to do so.
We may be moved by music, nature, love, poetry, art or community…anything that can take us to that place where we are held by that breathtaking sense of oneness with everything. I have had that experience in my life. It can’t be grasped and held on to. It is just there and then gone. We remember it but can’t fully experience that moment again.
We can intentionally seek that place by letting go of ourselves through meditation, silence or whatever works for you. There is still no guarantee that it will find us but by striving for connection we open ourselves to the experience.
Holy moments are beyond explanation and something I have never forgotten. May you find and be embraced by them in your life. I believe in more.
Today felt like a day out of time. My husband had tests scheduled and left our hotel at 9:30 and came back at 2:30. He says the day was organized and fairly simple. For me it felt like a day out of time. I spent most of the day in the room and re-read a book that I loved (When Breath Becomes Air). It is the journey of a remarkable neurosurgeon, scientist, PHD in English as he receives a terminal diagnosis. It has some sad parts but some amazing quotes. He was an amazing writer and thinker.
For me it was a day to think and just be. I did some knitting…also think time…and a little TV. I think it was the first day in a long time where I had nothing planned and no agenda at all. In my case this would normally be stressful but today it was so calm. What a joy.
I am not sure why the calm settled in since tomorrow we (hopefully) will have a plan in place and normally I would have been anxious about that. The calm was a blessing.
How often are we blessed enough to feel calm? For me that is not often. I let myself dive into it. Thanks to God for the moment out of time!
There has been a lot of research about touch and how healing it can be. Over the years, while visiting people at home and in the hospital, I have always used touch to draw closer. I truly believe that touch can be therapeutic if used with intent to heal. Recent studies have shown that just holding the hand of a loved one can reduce pain.
When visiting a member of the congregation in the hospital I found her in pain. Unfortunately, he pain medicine was not due for some time and she was very uncomfortable. She responded well to my touch and using both touch, a soothing voice, and a meditative talk (like a mantra….”just rest, just rest..close your eyes and just rest) over and over she relaxed into a calm and peaceful state and was able to wait for her next dose of medicine.
I don’t know how many times I used this technique on my children and never thought about it but with my job as parish nurse it was very helpful. Having someone focus your thoughts soothes us and along with gentle touch can bring us to a state of calm.
The problem is it is hard to do this for yourself. I have done it on occasion when I found myself in a situation when I was about to lose either my temper or my mind. Just stepping back, breathing and focusing my mind….I sometimes repeat “be calm, be calm”…does help me get past that moment. I had a Tai Chi instructor who said when faced with her kids waiting in an airport she had to keep saying “lower your chi” over and over.
Sometimes when I am alone I like to sing a piece of Taize music. These pieces from the Taize community in France are soothing chants that can calm your mind and soothe your soul. If you have never heard these look it up.
This link will take you to one of my favorites on YouTube.