Thursday, March 31, 2005
Cutting Back on the Duffle
9:08 am est
A professor in a nearby university announced to his department head that he was resigning from several committees and
"cutting back on his duffle". In his free time, this teacher was a sailor, and he spent all the time he could on his boat,
so giving thought to what he took in tow with him came naturally. He reevaluated his obligations and his responsibilities
from time to time and made sure that he wasn't carrying along any unnecessary or excess baggage. He had discovered that excess
or sometimes unsatisfying positions were not only unfulfilling, they were also a drain on his energy.
We have all no doubt felt the strain of obligations from which we would like to be free. We may struggle with questions
of whether they are "worth it" and whether we really need to continue maintaining our involvement with them. How many of us
take the time to really think through those issues and then make clear decisions to keep or let them go? Cutting back on the
duffle and knowing that you are sailing with the equipment and resources you need and want to have in your life can free you
to travel more brightly, freely and resourcefully.
Know when to let go and release what you no longer feel to be important and fulfilling to you. Sail away. Peace to you
this day. Peace.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Cleaning Flower Beds
7:35 am est
After a Winter of rain and snow and after an Autumn of falling leaves and branches, flower beds have accumulated a blanket
of debris which covers and blocks the sun from fresh green shoots. Carefully removing the collected twigs and decaying material,
one can see what has been going on underneath. Brightly colored beginnings of rhubarb, small columbine plants, and peonies
just now asserting their presence with sharp red shoots declare their readiness to return.
Looking more deeply at an old and perhaps unpleasant situation can be like that. On closer engagement and inspection
as we clear the old brush we may see other possibilities which have come from within that situation. We may understand that
we or others who were involved have developed new resources even as we were challenged beyond our limits.
Spring comes again. New life returns to transcend our old ideas and notions. Places we believe to be devoid of hope
show glints of it. Life returns to dark cold beds as the warm light of the Spring sun draws it forth. We return to our work,
removing the old debris and to appreciate and participate in the process. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
8:06 am est
You have probably had the experience of entering a room for a meeting, seminar, or class and sensed the climate or atmosphere
in the room. Seminars and workshops often have a climate of alert expectation or despondent resistance. Once the meeting begins,the
climate frequently shifts, depending on the leader's demeanor and attunement to the group's needs. The day's work is either
supported or eroded by the climate the leader establishes and maintains.
Professional speakers and workshop leaders often introduce humor to "hook" and hold their audience's interest and attention.
They are always in search of new stories or approaches which will "lighten up" their attendees and engage their listeners
involvement in the seminar.
Climate change is both an external and an internal option. Bad weather, judgemental words or looks from others,
bad luck or low self-esteem all may contribute to and determine our internal climate. Working to recognize the climate
you create, live in and communicate to others allows you to more consciously live your life toward the building of peace.
Do you find humor in your life and yourself ? Discover some reason to laugh at yourself each day. Laughing,
whether at a comedy, a humorous novel or at your own reactions to small things is not a luxury. We need some laughter
every day. Laughter is an exercise in and an opportunity for climate change.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
Monday, March 28, 2005
7:55 am est
A woman I once knew used to enjoy rainy days. When everyone else was complaining about the weather, she was celebrating
it. She said that rainy days made "no demands." She felt no pressure to accomplish anything in particular on rainy days, and
so she relaxed and enjoyed the time doing things she didn't really "need" to do, but things she wanted to do. She found space
for herself on rainy days and celebrated them. Rain made what was generally impossible, possible for her.
Spring rains fill lakes and streams and awaken new life. Yesterday someone mentioned that he had heard frogs chirping
in the evening and birds have been saying more about life coming out of its Winter hibernation as they search for small meals
in the thawing ground. There seem to be more robins than usual this Spring. They don't seem to mind, and in fact
also seem to enjoy a rainy day.
Give yourself space to "kick back" and find a way to have a "no demands" day every now and then. Enjoy yourself and welcome
a change in your routine. Drop the "to do" list now and then. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
8:21 am est
How many times have you gone through something challenging or difficult and said to yourself "Never again!" How much
have you wondered why you had to go through that experience and how long it will take you to recover from it? Everyone can
understand the frustration of dealing with a situation like this, and everyone can empathize with the difficulty in working
to overcome such an ordeal.
Time is a great healer, they say, and with the perspective provided by time we can generally recognize that in growing
through the challenges of a situation we have developed the ability to exercise and appreciate our own strength and endurance.
We perhaps become more cautious, and more wise-- at least more judicious, about the situations in which we elect to become
involved. We may also become more understanding if we do not hold onto grudges, resentments and frustrations we encountered.
If we can let go of the rage and disappointments, we "move on" knowing more than we did when we entered into the situation.
Move on. A most valuable lesson of life is, in fact, to move on constantly. Shed the past and embrace
the present. In fact, celebrate your ability to let things go. Letting go of anger, and bravely beginning
to open the door to the next experience means that you have graduated and earned a degree of maturity. Welcome new possibilities
without restriction and don't look back. Make peace with your past. Move on to a recovered sense of peace. You are not alone
in the work, but you are a pioneer in your own development. You can hold onto the past or you can invite peace to
be your goal and your companion. Every step counts.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
Friday, March 25, 2005
8:07 am est
Have you ever gotten up very early in the morning to see a sunrise? The crisp coolness of the morning, the fresh dew
on the grass, the early morning chatter of birds, and the changing colors of the sky as the sun rises can be an
experience of wonder and beauty. In the stillness of the day's beginning there is an opportunity to experience the gifts
of sight and sound and feel the warmth of the sun as the light changes.
Spring is a time of transition, like the rising of the sun.
Warmer weather now returns steadily as ponds and lakes thaw and forecasts of snow melt away.
Easter is near, and soon tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and forsythia will be announcing their agreement that Springtime
has come again. Life renews with the dawning of each new day. Each sunrise brings new possibilities and opportunities to live
and bring peace into our daily lives. Recognizing and acknowledging the beauty of a sunrise can help move one along in that
direction. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
7:47 am est
The Japanese Tea Ceremony is an ancient custom recognizing the beauty and simplicity of sharing tea. In the ceremony,
tea is regarded with respect and near reverence, but even more, the celebration of this formal ritual honors human dignity
The British historically take a break from the day's work for
"Tea Time" at 4 p.m. The break regards a pause
in the day to conduct a ceremony or ritual of refreshing leisure as civilizing.
We tend to look at tea as "the other" drink from coffee. Recently there have been studies which indicate that tea is
filled with healthful elements which may enhance our physical well-being.
But there is perhaps as much to value in the dignifying serenity having a quiet cup of tea alone or with others provides.
Having a cup of tea can be the beginning of an appreciation for quiet leisure and quality of life. A cup of tea,
whether herbal, green, pekoe, oolong, jasmine or black, can take you back to the truest appreciation and recognition of serenity.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
3:48 pm est
Taking some time to remember difficult situations you have managed to work through in the past can give you a sense of
your present resourcefulness. When you are in a challenging situation, you need confidence in your ability to handle anything
dished out to you, and trusting your own resourcefulness can make a major difference in the outcome.
What you believe about your resourcefulness is more important than what anyone else believes. When there is no one else
to support you, you still have yourself, and knowing that you can count on your ability to resolve or manage a situation makes
a great difference.
You may be pushed to the edge, but you have within you a good deal of experience, and your sense of self-confidence develops
from the credit you give yourself for that experience and earlier accomplishment. Trust your resourcefulness. You can do it.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
6:56 am est
The news has carried the story lately that we are not taking as much time off as we once did, or as we need in order
to refresh and renew ourselves. Europeans are much better at this. Many workers in Europe take the entire month of August
off for vacation and perhaps travel. Americans, on the other hand, don't seem to know when to quit working and take a pause.
With cell phones and palm pilots it is too tempting to stay engaged with the office business even while on vacation. We are
addicted to work and the money and meaning we derive from it.
Years ago from his hospital bed, a friend who had just had bypass surgery looked at his visiting children and said, "Take
He had rarely taken time off from work, and his body had to deal with the consequences. Staying on the treadmill and
trying to accomplish professional and work goals may be engaging, but not taking a break from them may
lead to set backs in other areas.
Taking a "breather" brings an opportunity to reconnect with your personal passions and renews your spirit, mind and soul.
Having fun is not just for kids. You need to have some fun. Try canoeing, or blading, or biking or hiking. Consider sky-diving
or just sitting and watching the clouds drift by. Take a walk, read a novel, wander aimlessly along a beach. Watch the stars,
listen to music, join a club.
Find a place to get away from it all occasionally. Make some space for time off. Let life in. Breathe. Surprise yourself.
"Have some fun!"
Peace to you this day. Peace.
Monday, March 21, 2005
7:59 am est
Do you know your limits? And do you know the limits of others? How much can anyone take? What issues do these questions
raise for you?
Knowing when you have done all you can as well as accepting your limitations and those of others is one of the
most challenging lessons of life and of working for peace.
When do you "give up?" When do you "back off?" When do you say "enough." At times like these, accepting that you have
done your best to work with and improve the situation may be your only solace. Respecting the time, energy and support you
have given and understanding that whether it was received with appreciation or not, it was an investment worth making acknowledges
your intention and investment. At some time in the future, somehow, your contribution may be appreciated, whether you
are aware of that or not. You have planted a seed which, like wildflowers, may find the right conditions for germinating,
taking root and flourishing. We sometimes never know the consequences of our investments in the process of peace work.
Uncle Nino is a movie in which an elderly Italian man comes unannounced to visit his brother's family
in America. His intention is to reconnect with his family after a long absence. His warmth and good will are infectious, but
his family is caught in dilemmas beyond his reach. He recognizes his limits and reconsiders his in/ability to improve
the situation. The poignancy of Uncle Nino's struggle with the situation is touching, and is something with which we all can
It is a good film to see and to appreciate the gifts and limitations of one person in a difficult situation.
Respect your work toward peace, whether or not you see "results."
Peace to you this day. Peace.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
8:05 am est
During an early morning walk last Spring I happened upon a nest and small robin, still without many feathers and barely
able to stand, which had fallen out of its tree. The small tree (perhaps 8 feet tall) was still too high for me to replace
the nest. A woman watching from across the street asked what I was doing and when I told her she smiled and closed her
door. A feeling of real helplessness at a situation I couldn't resolve washed over me. I heard the voices of some saying,"Let
nature take its course. Its just how things are."
Frustrated, I returned home, and at 7:30 a.m. called a neighbor's daughter who was visiting from out of state for
a couple of days. Though I didn't know her well, I knew that she cared deeply about all creatures, and she immediately agreed
to help in this little rescue mission. Together we carried a step ladder several blocks and we managed to replace the nest
and its little resident back in the top of the tree. We hoped the little robin would be reclaimed by the mother.
In coming days, as I rode my bike I passed the little tree and noticed a robin sitting on a wire above it.
One day I saw her sitting on the nest. She had reclaimed her fledgling. Later,she would teach the little one to fly and
the nest would remain as a reminder that even making a small difference can make all the difference in another's life.
What small thing can you and I do to make a difference in our world today? Peace to you. Peace.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
7:58 am est
Remember the old song "Lemon Tree?" The words are:"Lemon Tree, very pretty, and the lemon flowers are sweet, but the
fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat."
Sometimes the most tart and bitter of things can surprise us when combined with other elements and new ways of looking
at them. Lemons have so many uses in cooking. The tartness of lemons both subdues and enhances the taste of salmon and other
seafood. Combined with sugar lemons make wonderful pies, cakes, and cookies. The fragrance of lemon freshens the air.
It is used in many natural cleaning products.
We consider the natural state of lemons bitterness, but their bright color and zest also enhance and add bright flavor
to many dishes and desserts. In the right place they are the perfect complement.
A friend once asked me: "What makes you happy?!" Before I could answer, she exclaimed with delight, "If I'm unhappy,
I just imagine the fragrance of lemons, and I think, 'ahhh!"
Lemons aid us in so many ways. They can bring joy and zest to our lives. Bitter about something? There is no doubt
also a sweet aspect to the experience, given a shift in perception. Look at the situation, or the person in
a different way. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Friday, March 18, 2005
8:45 am est
Often when we try to improve or "fix" a situation, we wonder if the way to handle it is to try to make it into an
opportunity for learning for one or more of the parties involved or to let the individuals learn through the experience themselves.
If we ourselves intervene in what those involved are gaining through moving through the difficult challlenges they are
facing, we may actually weaken and create an impediment to their own developing resources. The challenge is in knowing
when to let go of our own need to "fix" something.
How do we help and provide encouragement but not intervene in the situation itself?
A deeper question is, why do we believe we can "fix" a situation? There may be a sense of superiority
or presumption on our part when we come with a "let me show you how" attitude. We often have more to learn from an investigation
of our own motives and resources. Regardless of our own accomplishments and expertise in a matter, there is often
much more to be gained from letting others work things out in their own ways. Knowing when to lend a hand and when to
be at hand in the event assistance is requested is a matter of authentic friendship.
Trusting the resourcefulness and ability of others to work through their own challenges, and encouraging their self-confidence can also
contribute to peace.
Peace to you in these close encounters. Peace.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
7:55 am est
Have you been to Mystic, Connecticut? This old New England Seaport is known for its historic past as a whaling capital,
and there are boats in the harbor you can "tour" and from which you can learn about the town's life in other times.
Now the whaling industry of Mystic is a memory from bygone days and whales swim free and protected in the open sea. Near
the harbor is the enchanting Mystic Aquarium, where the richness and beauty of sea life is treasured and celebrated. If you
cannot visit in person, look them up on the web through a search engine.
Mystic has been transformed from a place of sea and ocean commerce to a place of appreciation and preservation for
sea life. There is still work to be done far beyond Mystic, and with oil drilling in the Arctic now approved, there is
urgent need to work for more transformations of this kind. But the transformation of Mystic gives recognition and encouragement
that replacing commerce with conservation is possible.
Taking time to recognize and appreciate those who helped to make these transformations possible is our opportunity.
Joining them in their work is our possibility. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
I and Thou
8:31 am est
Martin Buber was a philosopher who was perhaps best known for his book, I and Thou. His work was to
help us to realize that the relationships we have with others are of two kinds: one is a relationship with connects with others
in a manner which makes them useful to us in some way. He characterizes this as an "I/It" relationship because the other becomes
an object and a means to an end for us. This relationship is not an encounter at a deep level and often is unequal by
The other relationship which Buber discusses is one in which one authentically encounters the other as a person or being of
unique worth and gifts; one whom we relate to on an equal basis, and for whom we have deep respect and appreciation.
The possibility of community exists with this relationship, while it does not with the more superficial I/It relationship.
The nature of our days means that we encounter others in sometimes brief and sometimes longer time periods.
Naturally then, there is an inclination to have I/It as well as I/Thou relationships. We may also maintain superficial
relationships with co-workers with whom we have no personal connection or shared interest. Even those encounters
of brief duration, such as that with a clerk at a store or an attendant at a gas station, or those relationships with
co-workers of a longer duration can provide us the opportunity to recognize that the clerk or the attendant or co-worker
is also a "thou"; a being of worth and deserving of respect. We may not deepen the particular connection we have
with them, but we enrich our own lives as well as those with whom we come into contact when we acknowledge and respect
the "thou-ness" of others as well as ourselves.
Peace to you this day. Peace.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
7:35 am est
There are worlds beyond the ones we know where life is just as busy and complex as our own. Deep in the ocean, varieties
of life we do not yet know about go on with their lives independent of our acknowledgement. Within the worlds of
insects there are patterns of behaviors and activities we will be discovering and learning about for years. Beyond our
world and our solar system "billions and billions" of worlds carry on far beyond our imagination's reach.
Is this hard to imagine? Can you comprehend it? Life's mysteries may amaze us. We also are a part of life's mystery.
We are amazing in our ability to choose our perspective and recognize our own consciousness. We have the gift and possibility
of awareness and for the appreciation of every life. We can appreciate our life and the lives of others in
this world. And we can do what are able to do in our own microcosmos to improve the lot of all in our sphere of contact. In
the process, and in your consciousness peace is available to you this day. Peace.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Places In the Heart
8:50 am est
Do you have memories of favorite times and places you have had and/or visited? Are there activities and gatherings you
remember with joy? Did you learn to ride a horse or go walking in the woods in Spring? Can you recall the sound of a stream
or waterfall as snow thaws and melts into another season of sun and warmth? The senses reawaken just to the recollection.
You can feel the sun on your back, and hear the call of birds in the woods. The feel of a horse, the firm smoothness of its
strong body beneath you and the fresh, cool gurgling of a stream all live within your memory.
There is something wonderful about memories which take us back to moments of refreshing renewal. "Living
in the past" can take one from the present--its needs and challenges as well as its opportunities-- but there is
sometimes great pleasure and joy in remembering the feelings we
experienced in visiting places and experiences which made an impression on us for their beauty, and unique nature.
Have you visited the places in your heart which give you joy? See you there today. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
There Is A Place
8:26 am est
Stonington, Maine is in many ways a place that "time forgot." The coastal town is small, quaint and scenic, providing
local and visiting painters and photographers with gentle scenes of lobster boats, sunsets, ramshackle houses and shorelines
billowing with local bloom and color in season.
In Stonington there is a lovely pond filled with water lillies of pink and white bloom. The appearance of the lillies
in the Spring/Summer is known and anticipated to the day, and their disappearance in late Summer is also predicted
with great accuracy. During their season, the lillies open and close at the same predictable times during the day. If you
want to take a photograph you must plan accordingly.
The lily pond is a wonderfully peaceful place where beauty presents and removes its presence to those who will take
the time and the short walk to witness and enjoy it. Those going about their daily business will not see it and perhaps will
take it for granted. The scene continues whether there are witnesses or not.
You might want to know about the lily pond in Stonington, and you might enjoy the ongoing presentation of the
lillies in a place of beauty and peace. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
A Stitch In Time
8:56 am est
Home economics was not my favorite class. I never enjoyed sewing. It made me nervous. My stitches were too big and using
a machine, the needle always broke. Sewing was a tedious, unpleasant experience.
For years I have watched older family members sew and create beautiful quilts, clothing, and curtains. They never were
stressed and seemed, in fact, to enjoy and find the process relaxing.
During an extended stay at the home of a friend recuperating from an illness I admired her quilting. With time on my
hands I asked her how a quilt is made and before I knew it I was hand sewing one of my own creation. The process was
Sewing slows you down and makes you work with precision, but there can actually be a peaceful and even calming effect
once you work through the challenge of threading a tiny needle and marking the fabric along the lines of the seam. Seeing
a 9 patch stitched together shows the beginning of a creative project of your own design. Working consistently or not, sewing
can give you time to process and think about what really matters in your life. Sewing can give perspective and connection
with beauty in the patterns of the fabric. It can give you a sense of accomplishment and connection to parts of yourself you
may have earlier denied or discarded. You can learn more about life and who you are in the process.
Can you surprise yourself today by discovering something new about your interests, your abilities and yourself? Believe
in the possibility. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Its Just Not Fair
8:47 am est
A friend of mine is famous for saying "its just not fair" nearly every day. She is in touch with injustice and righteously
outraged about the inequities of life. Her outrage is inspiring to some extent, and it motivates and moves her and those she
works with to work for change and social upheaval. She is outgoing and intelligent, and she identifies and articulates issues
How many times in your life have you felt "its just not fair?" Where has the feeling of outrage taken you in terms of
your actions? Have you done something with those feelings to effect change, or have you allowed yourself to sink into discouragement
and frustration? It is human to be frustrated about situations which we seem to have no control over and which tend to make
us feel helpless. If all of those who felt discouraged just gave into despair, though, we would have no progress.
Those who change the world move on through the feelings and realities of inequity to make a path in the direction of
greater and improved realities. You have a part to play in this. Your concern and outrage can motivate you to find an opening
(even a small one) which may bring in more light and improvement to a situation. Work with the situation in your own
way, and you become a leader providing an example to those around you. Give it a try. Make a difference and if "its just not
fair" help to move things in the direction of fairness. Caring is daring. There is a sense of peace and personal accomplishment
in that process. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
9:12 am est
In Santa Cruz, and other parts of California roses bloom all year long. They perpetually lend beauty and an air of peacefulness
to yards and gardens. Yellow, red, and salmon colored, the blooms are large and numerous. Once you have seen
that roses can bloom all year in the appropriate climate, you realize that the conditions which support them is vital
to their presence.
These roses speak of continuity, of gentle strength and joy. Keeping a rose (even an artificial one) in your home can
remind you of the kind of environment and conditions you may wish to consciously maintain in order to cultivate
your own peacefulness and strength. Roses can be companions and reminders of the life within you waiting to bloom. Peace to
you this day. Peace.
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
Make Yourself At Home
8:57 am est
A friend recently moved from the East to the West Coast. She loves the warmer climate, as well as being able to hear
the sound of the ocean from her bedroom window at night, but the move has not been as easy as she had hoped. The movers simply
brought her furniture and her belongings into her house and left them. It will take some time and work
for her to arrange things so that she recognizes her home in its new location.
Every day we awaken is not unlike remaking our home in a new place. We have another day of opportunity and challenge
(the Chinese character for "crisis" is "opportunity"). Though we may think otherwise, we do not have to be "stuck" in
the same grinding pattern of the past. We will not be stuck if we allow some fresh energy and creativity to enter into
our day and shift our pattern.
Have you walked through a labrynth? Along the path you encounter many "dead ends" and you must occasionally retrace your
steps and find the path of openness which leads you further along to the center, the place of stillness and peace. The journey
can be frustrating and cause some discomfort, but once you arrive at the center the sense of accomplishment and achievement
meet you and welcome you to a place that feels like a new home.
Your new day and your life may be like a labrynth with openings and closings as well as new insights and achievements
along the way. Along the path, you can rest in the assurance that you are on the right track and you will complete the journey
at the right time and in the "right" way. Make yourself at home with the journey. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Mining for Gold
1:50 pm est
Pyrite is a crystal of bright gold which some call "fool's gold," clearly because inexperienced miners frequently mistook
it for gold. Bright, shiny, glistening, and heavy to the hand, pyrite does not bring the monetary amount true gold
brings in the marketplace. Regardless, pyrite is a beautiful crystal which collectors revere and display with great appreciation.
The matter of value is assigned by the collector or the one who dismisses it as not being "real."
What is the value of your time? Do you value what time you have and find ways to appreciate the goodness in your life?
Have you taken the time to enjoy the heat in your home, and the light coming through the windows? Do you recognize what your
friends and family bring to you in terms of encouragement or support? And do you value what you yourself bring into
being through your creativity, your own encouragement and support? Do not dismiss your personal contributions because they
are not news for the paper or on television's eyewitness news. Your contributions are every bit as bright and shining
as that of pyrite. Your value is not defined by the accumulation of wealth. Your value is truly
beyond measure. You have only to discover the mines of personal riches within you. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Sunday, March 6, 2005
11:06 am est
Know the Shaker Hymn, "Tis a Gift to Be Simple, Tis a Gift to Be Free?"
What truth lies in that brief phrase. The Shakers were a peaceful community of believers who followed the teachings
and truths presented by Mother Ann Lee, their founder. The Shakers lived off the land and their own handiwork. They are still
very much remembered, respected and highly regarded for their expert craftsmanship with wood and tools. A very few Shakers
still living as well as a number of those contemporaries who revere their work and culture have kept their memory alive.
Shakers cultivated respect for one another, and for their community, as well as for the land and all that lived upon
it. They respected their work and knew that the tools, the gardens, the "fanciwork" and other stitchery they
created were forms of worship and appreciation to life and its bounty.
Shakers lived a life of simplicity, yet it was rich with community, joy, beauty and accomplishment. Tis a gift to know
of their community and to be able to revisit that simplicity with a moment of appreciation and acknowledgement of their gifts
to us. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Friday, March 4, 2005
Matter of Fact
8:36 am est
Do you know the facts? A friend long ago had this basic advice: "check assumptions." Often we find ourselves embroiled
in a disturbing situation with outrage, frustration and passion, but we may not have checked our assumptions about the situation.
Learning the facts of the situation may change our perspective.
Thich Nhat Han tells the story of the collision of two boats out in open water. One boatman sees another boat coming
closer and closer to his own boat, and he calls out with warnings to the other to take care and not hit his boat. In
spite of his frantic calls, there is no response, and the boat collides with his boat, destroying it. The angry
man reacts with outrage and vows revenge against the owner of the other boat. He is very upset with the other boatsman, who
has not even responded to his warnings. "He will pay for this!" the boatsman rages, but then he sees something he had
not expected. As the other boat passes by, the man sees that there is no one on the other boat. The deck is empty. The
boat has no boatsman. This boat was drifting with the waves, and no one was on board to steer it away from his own boat. His
assumption was not correct. His outrage at a nonexistent boatsman was misplaced.
It is often a matter of facts and checking assumptions. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Thursday, March 3, 2005
9:37 am est
The month of March is represented as "coming in like a lion, and going out like a lamb." What a wonderful transformation
from the blustery beginnings of the month to the calming warmth which then transforms to the freshness of the month of April
and the beginnings of Spring. Every day we may have the opportunity to practice the same kind of transformation as this
third month of our year.
At first, we may react to situations with blustery agitation but with thoughtfulness, perspective, and conscious
breathing we may return to our deeper priorities and become more lamb-like. This is not to say "sheepish," regardless of the
close potential identification of the words. Think of the difference in our use of those words. A lamb is quiet, alert, gentle
but not fearful, as "sheepish" implies.
The lamb knows the lion exists; the important thing is for the lion to know that the lamb, too, exists within her/him.
Practice transformation today and join the transformation the month of March attunes us to. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
The Pause that Refreshes
8:40 am est
In all sports activities there is generally a "time out" or an "intermission" when the players "take a break" from the
game or the athletic activity to refresh themselves. In a boxing match there is a bell which halts that event and calls the
players back to their corners to "catch their breath." Time out gives us a chance to gain perspective and to "regroup" before
we return to the game or the activity.
How often during your day do you take a "break" and step back from your activity to refresh yourself? Do you ever "regroup"
or do you just plow ahead doggedly striving to attain the ends? Do the ends justify the lack of attention to your own need
to relax occasionally? Have you taken a good look at your priorities? Keeping yourself refreshed is pivotal to your achievement
of your own goals. There is a time to work and a time to refrain from working. There is a time to work and a time to
play. Take a break today. Take a moment for the pause that refreshes. Catch your breath. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Tuesday, March 1, 2005
11:12 am est
Having one particular symbol and reminder which causes you to relax and move toward personal peace can be a great support
of your peace practice. It can be anything you would like: a fresh flower, a picture of a place you enjoy, a friend or presence
which warms your heart, or a crystal/rock whose color and texture bring you back to your peaceful self. You may not even have
that symbol physically present with you, but merely in your mind and in your thoughts. Touching your awareness into the
symbol you most respond to can give you a moment to step back and recognize that you do not need to be caught up in a challenging
situation. Feel your shoulders relax. Let your breathing soften. Experience the difference and carry it with you whenever
you would like to have a breather. Peace to you this day. Peace.