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Wouldn’t it be a wonderful gift this holiday season to invite someone to a meal or celebration—only with the intention of wanting to better understand that person’s religious or spiritual practices? Or maybe you could share your beliefs with someone outside your traditional religious or spiritual group by inviting a friend (or relative) to attend a Winter Solstice celebration, Hanukah ceremony, Kwanzaa feast, Christmas Eve service, Buddhist meditation gathering, Hopi & Zuni Soyala Festival, and so on. Perhaps, we can learn from one another how to pray, sing, dance, chant, and celebrate, together.
Luckily, I’ve had more than one person remind me that raising my daughters is a spiritual journey—and certainly contributes to the world. I don’t need to climb a mountain or live with monks. I need to do the best I can with the people I love. In fact, most spiritual leaders remind us to look within for that which we seek and to put it into practice in our daily lives. It isn’t always easy. Yet, it can be the most important work we do.
Perhaps in 2013 we can find ways to bring peace into our lives and create more peace in the larger world community. To do so, we might have to examine our emotional triggers. We may have to understand the conflict and anger within ourselves. We might need to listen to the suffering we have caused others. We may have to share our own sources of suffering. “Practicing nonviolence is first of all to become nonviolence. … This applies to problems of the family as well as to problems of society.”
In problem solving, I meditate and ask for spiritual guidance. To increase my knowledge, I seek out people who can teach me ways to live so that I can make better choices. In my writing, I voice my support for government and industry leaders who employ alternative, lasting, and positive solutions that safeguard this beautiful and abundant planet: our home.
Yet, if you can find your calm center, with Spirit, you discover strength within—even during raging storms. That inner strength will guide you. It might mean asking for help from your friends. It might mean that you keep going, despite hardships, knowing more will be revealed. It might mean setting down your own anger, sorrows, or fears.
Reflecting back over the years, I find myself feeling tremendous gratitude for all the teachers who helped shape my daughter’s life. She’s had access to books, art supplies, science fairs, math competitions, Spanish instructions, history lessons, outreach projects, and, more importantly, a vibrant educational community. Throughout her time in Indiana public schools, I have been overwhelmingly impressed by the dedication, skill, and quality of the teachers she has been fortunate to experience. Under their tutelage, guidance, and care, she has thrived.
At a recent event, Jill Bolte Taylor (author, Stroke of Insight), Sandy Sasso (Rabbi), and Carrie Newcomer (folk singer), shared their stories. They joined the stage in an effort to build community and embark on a public discourse regarding the human spirit. They asked, “What do we want our world to be?” and “How do we love the stranger, not just our neighbor?” and “If not now, when?” They spoke of embracing cultural, religious, political, gender, ethnic, and racial differences. How do we do so? We can start by telling our stories. We can listen to the stories of others. We can recognize the collective whole.
Today, I am going to set aside my list of worries and fears. I am going to slow down, breathe, and delight in this day. I am going to devote today to imagining: What do I want for my life? What do I want for my family? What do I want for Mother Earth and her creatures? What is my vision for a better world?
If we look back to the work of Jesus, in his time, women were the victims of disparate and cruel treatment. Individuals who were poor and individuals who suffered illnesses fared no better in those social structures. Jesus stood up for those who were oppressed. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out for the freedom (and legal rights) of all people. Gandhi likewise spoke for the imperative right to equality for all who were considered outcasts. These men risked their lives on behalf of others . . . in service to justice and fairness. God does not discriminate is the message they carried. God is love.
If we want to see peace, then we have to learn inner peace. If we want to see love, then we have to give it. If we are in a position of influence (musicians, singers, actors, political leaders, parents, religious leaders, teachers), then we have to show our youth that we are practicing what we preach: that drinking, drugs, self-interest, greed, exploitation, hate, and violence are never the answer to our problems. We must live out our spirituality by actively demonstrating an all-inclusive love, expansion of heart and soul, care of the earth and all her creatures, and world peace: that’s the message.
Home > Blog Index > For What Does Your Heart Long? “May I walk with Beauty all around me. As I walk the Beauty way.” -Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation (citing a Navajo prayer) “Each morning we are born again. What we do today matters most.” --Buddha I spoke [...]
Home > Blog Index > Building Relationships In Love “We must learn to speak with love again.” -Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk “Human relationships provide the ultimate litmus test of how healed, or whole, or spiritually mature we really are.” -John Welwood, author of Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships I want to [...]
Home > Blog Index > Stepping into our Calling – Ordination of Maria Thornton McClain “The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience.” -Leo Tolstoy I’ve been thinking about the ordination of the former nun, Maria Thornton McClain. When [...]
Home > Blog Index > Earth Lessons “I’d rather be a forest than a street, yes I would, if I could … I’d rather feel the earth beneath my feet …” -Simon & Garfunkel, “El Condor Pasa” song lyrics “I know we’ve come a long way, we’re changing day [...]
Home > Blog Index > On the Journey of Change “Hear the children crying (One Love!); Hear the children crying (One Heart!), let’s get together and feel all right.” -Bob Marley – One Love (song lyrics) What does it take to embody great change? Love, kindness, respect . . . [...]
Home > Blog Index > Healing the Heart (Relationships and Forgiveness) "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” and Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22, New International Version “Being motivated [...]
Home > Blog Index > Welcome – 2012: Fulfilling the Vision May I be filled with loving-kindess May I be well May I be peaceful and at ease May I be happy --Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart For anyone with children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or newborn babies, you [...]
Home > Blog Index > Waging Peace "If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children." -- Mohandas Gandhi “Many think peace in the world is impossible. Many think inner peace cannot be attained. It’s the one who doesn’t know it [...]
Home > Blog Index > Kindness “People livin in competition. All I want is to have my peace of mind.” --Boston, Peace of Mind (lyrics) “It’s not about the money, money, money . . . We need to take it back in time. When music made us all UNITE.” [...]
Home > Blog Index > Gentle Blessings “How could anyone ever tell you, you were anything less than beautiful? How could anyone ever tell you, you were less than whole?” -- Libby Roderick, How Could Anyone lyrics Sunlight on autumn leaves is an incredible sight. It fills my heart [...]