Archive for peace

Being Here Now

By Guest Blogger, Carolyn Cook.

I’m risking making space in my life for the present.

I was inspired by Debbie Kerr’s recent post about cleaning out her closet. I have a lot of stuff in my house right now. Much of it came from the homes of my mother and mother-in-law. Their extra belongings filled our extra space, as we eased their journeys into assisted living.

It’s time to begin digging out from under the clutter we accumulated.

My husband is working on an estate sale for his mom, and I’m slowly taking inventory of my own clutter, before I even deal with my mother’s.

Recently I gave some lovely pieces of clothing to a theatre costume shop. The gift included two gorgeous pairs of shoes that had been my grandmother’s, that I had worn occasionally and really loved. There was also a nice business suit that was just a bit too small for me. (It had been too small even when I bought it. Wishful thinking made me believe I’d lose five pounds.) All of it was beautiful, and all of it represented a part of my life that I had held onto longer than I needed to.

As I let go of those clothes, I heard myself telling the costumers that I hoped they’d be useful in a play, because they didn’t belong in my life. They were reminders of who I’m not anymore, and I’ve decided to be who I am now.

Let somebody else be who I used to be.

I realized that I was only able to let go of those things because I’ve started shifting my thinking, very slowly, toward an appreciation of the present.  The words “be here now” are the best advice I know of, as I seek to live peacefully within my changing emotional landscape.  I have so much to be grateful for, when I stop and pay attention to it all.

Letting the past be the past, and not burdening the future with my worries:  those are my risks for today.

This post first appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay blog, a project, which has now concluded.

 is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship. You can now read about her life and insights at her own blog here.

What To Do When Harm Has Been Done?

I came across a beautiful story this week. I shared it with my current Daring Way™ group, and I just had to share with you, too, my faithful True Voices Blog readers.

It’s short, yet it really made me think. Maybe you’ll experience something similar. Enjoy. (FYI: I haven’t neutralized the gender-specific pronouns, but I’m sure you’ll see that it could apply to either gender.)

The person who shared it with me got it from Films For Action (www.FilmsForAction.org), but beyond that, I don’t know the origin.

There’s an African tribe in which, when someone does something harmful, that person is taken to the center of the village where the whole tribe comes and surrounds him.

For two days, they will say to the man all the good things that he has done.

The tribe believes that each human being comes into the world as good, that each one of us desires only safety, love, peace, and happiness.

But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes.

The community sees those mistakes as a cry for help.

They unite then to lift him, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth of which he had been temporarily disconnected: “I am good.”

And to that I say, “Amen.”

Bright Lights and Barred Owls, an Elegy

Today, on September 11th of all days, I present a poem for you. It is in loving memory of my client turned friend, Tayyibah Taylor. She was a brave and beloved ambassador of – and dedicated activist for – world peace.

“A Bright Light, A Barred Owl: An Elegy”

Our bright light has moved on.Tayyibah Taylor in hot pink
And we have moved
From Shock and Disbelief
To broken-heartedness
For ourselves, for all – and at the
Loss of her song, and her being
That mellifluously brought a potent, loving message.

Our bright light has moved on.
Clothed in vibrant wisdom, and with
Exquisite engagement,
Her worldwide heart and
Her other worldly delight,
No longer embrace us –
Not in this realm.

Tayyibah Taylor w/sparkler

Sparkling Tayyibah and her Sparkler

Our bright light has moved on.
We know not to where –
Perhaps Allah as she believed.
We do know
As she lost her battle,
We lost a champion and one
Of the highest magnitude.

Our bright light has moved on.
And she visited me, on the way to her
Soul’s next evolution, by embodying a barred owl.
Cloaked in the song of “Who cooks for you?” she spoke
As in unison with Quan Yin. “I hear your cry.
Compassion and Mercy to all,
Including you.”

Our bright light has moved on
Though her message lingers – an invitation
To be a woman with wings, migrating as necessary,
Leading us all heartlong with her love lantern
So that we see the divine, invisible and
See beyond the human, visible
In the faces of our families and our enemies.

Tayyibah Taylor

Tayyibah Taylor, in the Colors of our Planet

Our bright light has moved on.
She now beckons us to pick up our purposes,
Travel across borders created by mankind,
And through veils created by a power
Greater than we, and surrender,
Finally, to building and then crossing countless
Bridges to peace.

II.
For your life, Sister Tayyibah Taylor, bright and
Guiding light, we give thanks.
And for the gifts you brought us,
The gift that you were,
We will know you, in the call of the barred owl,
The eyes of the gentle doe, and the magnificence of the flamingo,
If we will but listen, if we will but see.

III.
Our bright light has moved on
And so must we –
Not soon, but eventually –
When we are ready.
We must get ready.
But first, we must grieve.
Our bright light has moved on.

Laura Overstreet Biering, Clarkston, GA
©2014 All rights reserved

PS To learn more about Tayyibah and her legacy, click on her name in the opening paragraph, and/or visit these links:

PPS To learn more about the Barred Owl and the “medicine” it is believed to bring, visit one of these links:

PPPS  And finally, just to be clear… As you know, the majority of photographs on this blog are ones I’ve taken. The ones included in this post, however, are not. If and when I find out whose they are, I will certainly post that here.

Getting Up Early v. Being Up Early

The former, I hate. The latter, I love!

How can I be so adamantly sure?

Because five out of the last seven days, I have gotten up between 2:30 and 3:30 in the morning. In the past, even the mere thought of doing this would send me into fits of laughter and/or tears. But what started as a difficult necessity – taking care of an old dog who can’t “hold” it through the night – has become a sheer pleasure.

Now don’t get me wrong. As I said, I hate getting up and always have. In fact, as I write this, I’m thinking that when my mother reads it, she’ll probably not believe me or she’ll think I have been taken over by aliens. I’ve never been easy to coax out of bed. Leaving the layers of the warm, cozy covers and turning on the light, always too bright in the dark, can be a stark and cruel way to wake up.

But being up? That’s a different story.

Right now, as I sit in my sun room with, ironically, the darkness of the morning’s wee hours all around me, the only lights my lamp and laptop, I am relishing the experience. There’s a sense of time standing still, as though I have all the time in the world, and I feel a freedom and a permission to do whatever I want. There’s an often unfamiliar focus I feel, allowing me to be “all in” while doing whatever I want to do, and without the distractions that inevitably come when working during the day. There’s also a nearly tangible peace that comes from simply sitting here, hearing the crickets and the occasional night birds “doing their thing,” being themselves out loud, encouraging me to do the same. And it feels as though they are the my bridge, connecting me with the whole wide world. Sweet.

Who would’ve thunk it?

As a coach, it’s common for me to work with my clients on their perspectives. I know that changing the way we view something and choosing the meaning we give it, can completely transform our experience of it. And this brings me to a question – a coaching question – for myself.

What if I chose to have the same perspectives during the day as I do here in the middle of the night? Perspectives such as:

  • There is enough time for me to do everything I want to do;
  • I have permission to do anything I want to do;
  • I can focus, and being “all in” helps me do that;
  • I can set boundaries that keep me from being distracted; and
  • I can choose to be aware of the peace that comes from “doing my thing,” thus contributing to the rich and complex tapestry that is our world.

Yes. Viewing my day through any one of these lenses could change quite a lot. But working with all of them could transform my world!

My Sweet Old Man, Dogberry

My Sweet Old Man, Dogberry

So, as difficult as it is for me to get up, whether for Dogberry (pictured here) or for me, I will continue to do it, even if just a few times a week, so that I can have the opportunity to be up.

And I’ll begin right away working those perspective into my daily life… as soon as the sun rises.

PS What about you, my lovely? How could you see your day differently and change your / our world?

Is it Winter in Your Heart?

Regardless of what or how we celebrate this time of year, there is an unspoken expectation to be joyful, grateful, giving, and loving.  And for some of us this is simply not how we feel, not what we are experiencing.  Whether it’s due to the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a connection to the spark within us, the holiday cheer can be a painful reminder, if not downright heartbreaking.

To put it more beautifully, I’d like to share with you a poem, written by my dear friend, Janie Cook, on her blog, Living with the Loss of a Child.

 

in the shadow of blinking Christmas lights

of holiday parties and celebrations

surrounded by gift shoppers

and promises of peace, hope and joy

it is winter in my heart

i am the cold, cloudy days

the damp leafless trees

the stark stillness of the night sky

filled with longing

so . . . Holy One who knows the seasons of our hearts

be the sunrise that warms

be the breeze that freshens

be the light that illuminates

and help me give birth to The Love that is ever deeper and more sustaining

(To read Janie’s post in its entirety, click here.

Regardless of what it is you are feeling during this holiday season, please consider this note a kind of permission slip to feel whatever that is – whether it’s joy, sadness, grief, gratitude, indifference, anger, etc.  You may even want to share with someone close what is true for you so that you don’t feel so alone in your seemingly unique situation.

Remember, we can’t put our feelings on a timer, and only feel them when they are welcome.  We must welcome them when they are present so that they don’t overtake and cripple us for even longer a time…

May you find some peace with your feelings this holiday season, and know that I’ll be joining you in doing my best to honor my feelings.  May we all find peace, all over the whole wide world.  Amen.

Love,
Laura

PS  This post is directly lifted from my December, 2012 newsletter, True Voices Express.  To make sure you don’t miss another offering like this, please go to the the top right of this page, and sign up to receive future issues.  I’d love to be in contact with you more often – but not too often, I promise.  Thanks!