Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can five minutes a day make a difference in your life?

Today marks the fourth day in a row I've dropped everything at 6:00 p.m. to stand for peace, and I can answer that with a big, fat "Yes!" If you want peace in your life, I recommend it. Oh, pshaw, you may say, it's only five minutes. That's right! It's only five minutes What have you got to lose?

Here's what happened.

Looking out the windowThis is the view outside the window where I stood yesterday and Monday. I was visiting my daughter and her family. I spend quite a bit of time there, helping to care for their little one. The image doesn't show the shimmering glow on the swaying trees, the constant traffic buzzing and whirring, or the people hurrying by on foot fighting the wind one direction, pushed along by it the other. Nor can you see the fellow cleaning the second-story windows inside and out that brown house across the street. I don't know his name.

PG&E sign with purple flowersThough I spend a good deal of time in this neighborhood, I don't know the neighbors. Many do not return my greeting when I meet them on the street. One guy hollered at me for taking pictures of his pretty flowers one day. Yes, these flowers. I love their fresh beauty and vibrant color against the falling-down PG&E sign and trapped litter. I feel such gratitude for the hearts and hands that plant and tend tiny gardens in the midst of so much hardscape.

Standing in this window for five minutes, taking in one breath after another and asking myself for peace, asking Spirit to help me make peace in the world, I am aware, more keenly than ever, of the difference between my life and the vision of the Village of Ordinary. If I am to create peace through community, somehow I need to overcome my shyness and find a way to meet the people with whom I share space, whether it is here on this street, or at home on my own, where I stood tonight.

Peacemaking requires respect for all parties, including ourselves.

Our neighborhood bustles in the evening. Rush, rush, rush. People chat at the neighborhood coffee shop. I hear laughter. A couple of dogs greet each other with barks and friendly nips. What I am most aware of, though, is the pain in my body, a direct result of the abuse I've given it today. Where will I find the strength to continue to dream and build Ordinary if I do not care for my body properly? All too typically, I snacked on leftover Mother's Day goodies instead of eating balanced meals, failed to drink enough fluids, and sat for far too many hours at the computer without exercise. At my age, joints, muscles and innards tend to respond to neglect with aches and sometimes screaming pain. How can I hope to make peace in the world if I treat myself with such disrespect? Peacemaking requires respect for all parties, including ourselves.

The first rules of waging peace: Respect yourself. Set boundaries and honor them. Take care of yourself that you retain strength and stamina for the long haul.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the lovely photos and the wonderful reminder. Sometimes we worry so much about changing the world we forget to take care of ourselves! And, like you so eloquently wrote, we won't be able to change anything if we're not healthy.



Join the dialogue. Post a comment here. Please keep it clean for all audiences. Spam will be deleted immediately.