The Sweet Peace of Before and After

They’re really quite miraculous, but so very easy to miss. There is often a silence before something immense and filled with impact happens. It’s that pregnant with possibilities moment. And then at the end of something momentous, there’s an instant that is the moment after delivery, the no longer pregnant reality of delivery that is equally profound.

Hold that silence. Breathe it in. Just before sunset. Just before dawn. Just before music begins. Just after it ends.

Classical musicians are trained to do it, maybe not in those words, but nonetheless… but so many musicians are not… they never let the note carry into the ether before crashing down into the next… or more likely turning immediately to talk about what they’re going to play next (as if you can’t set up two songs in a row.)

Keeping your eye on the prize might also include savoring and celebrating that prize. Those moments of awareness change life. They are a pause for an inhalation. Before night falls or day breaks. After incredible Beauty or unthinkable tragedy. They stop life and magnify it. It’s a sin to miss the Peace in them. And when have you ever heard me use that word?

 

Making Peace with Life

No one’s life is easy. Some people’s lives are more difficult than others’. Some creatures’ lives are more difficult than others.

Animals, because they’re pretty good about being in the present, deal with what’s in front of them. They don’t expect extraordinary things of people who aren’t capable of extraordinary things. They don’t expect beyond the possible, the real.

It’s a good lesson to learn. A friend of mine, Notty Bumbo, wrote a great piece the other day about dealing with pain and disability and how the story of exceptionalism disregards the every day efforts of getting out of bed when the pain is (more than usually) overwhelming. Some days those efforts are a bridge too far. So you wait and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Most of us don’t have a great understanding of physical suffering. We’re lucky that we don’t have to. But let us call upon ourselves to be kind and supportive and aware. Let us seek the Peace that everyone needs.

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Puddles of Peace on a Sabbath Morning

I’ve always loved these cloud configurations. When I was a child, they tried to convince me (and by they, I don’t mean my parents!), that a stern God kept watch on me from glorious clouds. It was sort of frightening.

But give me a few years, working on Peace, and I’m now able to see the Peace and the Possibility being poured out.

Today, on the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., with our world in a shambles, it’s a good day to consider whether we really want things to be different.

What world do you want to have? On whose behalf will you work — even sacrifice?

It’s a thought to mull over on a Sabbath isn’t it? Peace? What’s it worth to us? and Justice… for all. Let us Peace.

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Remembering the Peace of Advent

One of the hard truths about this time of year is that we are forced to confront what we may have missed, or have lost. For some of us, those of us who are very privileged, the holidays have been sweet, families have been united and traditions have traveled between the generations. But even those people have lost beloved family members who are no longer there.

It takes a while to recalibrate. It takes a while to decide to focus not on what i don’t have but on what is there. It’s important for me to honor the heart of the holidays, both religiously and communally. But it’s also time to cut out the pieces of the holiday that no longer fit.

I love to think of the root of the word remembering … to re-member, to piece back together. To take the remnants of the good and to make something beautiful from it.

It takes a while to demand (of yourself) the space to celebrate holidays in your image in a fashion that suits you. But you are worthy of that. If you’re alone, find other people who also are. Or celebrate another holiday and make that yours until you can reclaim your own for yourself.

Remember the holidays… Feel free, not to long for what you once believe you had, but to create that which celebrates the deepest possibilities of life. Savor the Dark. Explore the Mystery. Be amazed by the Wonder. Gather with those who love you as you are — even if that means you’re alone and loving yourself fiercely.

Allow your holidays to be filled with Peace. Share that with others. Remember. Make that cloak of beautiful memories and move forward with joy. Peace be with you. Peace be with us all.

Alternative Advent December 12 – 15¢ if you have dishes in your house. There are actually people in our Susquehanna Valley who do not. So be generous. if you have more than one set, try 15¢ per set.

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Sabbath Opening to Advent, to Peace

Today, in the advent wreathe we add the candle Love to the candle Hope. Love Makes things possible. This is the prayer my community will say in services this morning:

The Second Candle is lit for Love. Are you willing to open your heart to its abundance? Can you be generous with the world and its brokenness?

May I be a generous person, quick to open my heart to new friends, new places and new ways of doing things. May I be known as a lover of life, one who embraces the world as it is and works to temper its harshness with gentle acceptance. Blessed be.

It’s easy to resist this however, which is why today’s word is opening. I must open to the possibilities when everything within me is so ready to shut down. Fear makes you do that. Anger. Being just damned tired of the bullshit.

But today, I have a new book to read by Virginia Zimmerman: The Rosemary Spell … rosemary is my very favorite herb. I wrote my thesis to a candle of rosemary, knowing that the Greeks used rosemary wreaths as prizes for their intellectual Olympics.

It is my Sabbath, a time for reflection. It is Advent, a time for preparation for what is to come. It is time to open for Peace.

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