Archives for category: peace

Niagara Falls

Image courtesy of  dexchao/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t know if it is the new year,  the recent extreme cold, the gray over-cast rainy day, or just the roving thoughts of a restless mind, but I find myself wondering this afternoon about where I find hope, comfort, and reassurance in my life. Granted, I am more self-validated than ever before, but, as does any human, I do need intermittent reassurance and comfort from a source other than myself.

I know in times of extreme duress I have found comfort in gazing at God’s creation. For example, on 9/11 I was in a hotel room in Canada with a bunch of women who served on an International Board of Directors with me. We had all rushed to a room where we could watch television and comfort each other when our meeting was interrupted by the news that the twin towers had been intentionally flown into by a plane filled with passengers. Several of the women were from the New York area. There were expressions of numbness, disbelief, and shock mirrored in the faces that surrounded me. I could not comfort these women or myself, for that matter.

I found myself looking out the window down at Niagara Falls. At that moment, I knew God had created this world and all the wonders in it, including myself and these women. I thought of all the trauma, war, pain, beauty, awe, and joy these falls had witnessed and survived over time, and I was comforted. I knew, awful as it was, this time would pass and that, come what may, God would be with us. We would and did comfort each other then and in the days to come, but God was the first to comfort me, and I am sure many in that room were also comforted by God in those harrowing moments.

What does this have to do with where I find my current source of hope, reassurance and comfort? Well,  if God is so strongly with me in times of crisis, I know he is with me always. All I have to do to tap into that well of comforting love is to be aware of it and consent to letting it enfold me. I am learning to do this in prayer, and I am delighted that I think this practice is beginning to contaminate other parts of my daily living that are not focused on intentional prayer. God’s love is always there, always comforting, and all powerful. In my life, I have been the only thing standing in the way blocking my ability to access that love.

I am learning, even when engaged in simple tasks such as washing dishes or doing laundry, to turn my thoughts away from how I can solve problems or do something all by myself and to redirect my thoughts to a more receptive “channel” that will let me acknowledge and accept God’s love and intention for me. It is very pleasant to be enfolded in God’s love and reassured that I am where I am supposed to be doing what I am supposed to do—–even  when I am “caught up in the mundane.” Ironically, when my soul, mind, and heart are in the “right place” and “right sized” there is no “mundane.” There is only God’s creation, love, and intent, and just “being” in a situation where my self-centered thoughts are quieted and redirected to God’s love is nothing short of a miracle.

Enjoy our melted ice and falling rain today. I am even looking forward to thunder in January. May God bless and keep you.

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world peace

Image courtesy of digitalart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This afternoon’s blog is written in response to the following quote from the Dalai Lama:

“Peace in the world depends on peace of mind, and peace of mind depends on an awareness that all human beings are members of a single family, despite the variety of beliefs, ideologies and political and economic systems. ”

365 Dalai Lama Daily Advice from the Heart, 2001, p. 176,  London: Harper Collins Pub. (Element).

I have thought about , marched for, prayed for, and even experienced peace. I can easily accept it is based on a foundation of peace of mind.  I have, however, never considered that one’s peace of mind depends on a sense of belonging to the family of humankind. Perhaps, I have seen too many dysfunctional families who seem determined to sabotage any chance of experiencing peace of mind. And yet, that sense of family belonging  is strong and often hangs on tenaciously even when family based stress abounds.

If I am able to truly envision and accept my relatedness to all humans it should make me less likely to want to harm another human being. I am not so sure about it creating peace of mind. It is easy to believe being at peace with oneself would in turn create world peace. However, the thought of being related to absolutely every human can be quite discomforting. Doing so means I have to identify with the evil as well as the good in people. Identifying, or trying to, with persons like Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson makes me extremely uncomfortable. That is because if I accept being one with Adolf and Charley  it means I  have to admit to myself that I have the capacity to be just as evil. Succinctly put, owning the “evil” part of my humanness has not, so far, given me one moment of “peace of mind.”

I know I am not supposed to judge others. I know I am supposed to love and forgive everyone. I know I intellectually believe that all of us are one in Christ and in God’s love. But I am really having to work on acknowledging my oneness with notoriously evil people. I am not saying I am not capable of evil; I have had evil thoughts from time to time, and I have done things in my past while I was intoxicated that could have easily harmed or killed others….if it were not for God’s grace I might have done so. That makes me as capable of killing another human as Adolf and Charley. I just don’t like to look at myself that way.  Doing so reminds me of the power of God’s love and forgiveness. It makes me “right-sized.” It makes me less judgmental—-and, in turn, I suppose less likely to be “un-peaceful” in my actions towards others.  If  God can forgive me, who am I to condemn others?

Food for thought on a snowy, cold, afternoon with more of the same on its way. I am grateful to be in a warm, dry home. I pray for those who are not safe, for the homeless, and for those in Lui (Sudan) where heavy fighting is taking place (accessed 1/5/14 at: http://luinetwork.diocesemo.org/profiles/blogs/updates-from-lui). I am sitting in a comfortable chair typing on a laptop about peace while other humans in the Sudan are in real danger of being killed. God bless and keep them and you.