Making Sure Cinnamon Sugar Doesn’t Become Cinnamon Saccharine

Today completes the first week in Spices of Peace. It’s been an interesting week, thinking about how to incorporate spices without getting cutesy. How to keep drinking my Constant Comment tea and not make everything about Cinnamon when Peace is about so much more.

One of the things I’m seeing because this year it turns out that one of my favorite years of Peace poems has started on the same day of the week and has the same number of days in it. They are prayers from a more innocent time. So far, they’ve sparkled with the beauty of winter. It’s been fun to post them and to share Nanso Cleaver’s beautiful Peace Mandalas with the world…

But times and politics are different now. And 6 years later, I’m a different poet, far more of an activist… 6 years older and far less to lose..

I love the notion of embodying Peace… and I will struggle to find the line between honoring these wonderful spices and getting too kitschy about. After all, I have no interest in becoming the Pumpkin Spice of Poets… People need our support. Winter is still gorgeous, if a bit rainy this year. And Peace is still dearly sought after.

As always, thanks for reading with me. Thanks for working for Peace.


Spices for Peace 2019

My year of honoring painters and sculptors is finished. I am so grateful to all the artists for sharing their wonderful work and allowing it to inspire my daily poetry and delight your eyes and soothe your souls. I have loved offering these pieces done by people in my personal universe, a gentle reminder that we are blessed beyond measure by the people we know. I’m very grateful to Ed Mickens who curated the year. Thank you for coming on this journey with me and I hope you’ll stay with me for 2019.

Astonishingly, it’s come to that. Here comes 2019.

For quite a while, I’ve been curious about Spices. Some of you may find that odd, since I don’t really cook —but, of course I do eat! Spices are interesting in and of themselves — they have engendered great trade routes, have been the genesis of both the building and losing of considerable wealth, and have probably caused more than a few skirmishes. And, oh, they trend well: They’re for healing and for aphrodisiacs, ask any celebrity! And who knows what else? Hopefully we will as we pass through the year.

It seemed to me 2 things: first that Peace isn’t something that happens in our head or our hearts, we must embody Peace. Might Peace have a taste? Or many tastes? Which brings me to my second notion that Peace may taste different in different cultures and traditions and we would do well to experiment to see how they add to our understanding. Walk a mile in another’s shoes. Eat a week in another’s mouth!

But returning to my not cooking, it didn’t seem likely that I could pull this together. I have friends who cook and bake (as I have friends who paint and sculpt), and then I remembered I have something else, I have a newish friend, Penny Patterson who together with her husband Greg and their family owns Spices Inc, one of the largest on-line spice vendors. They hand blend and hand fill their Spice requests. It’s a lovely company. And local. Go read about it! Go support it.

Penny agreed to pick 52 spices for me. There will be spice blends as well. And maybe some minerals — what, after all, is life without salt? Perhaps some herbs. I can’t imagine a year without rosemary! We’ll learn the difference. But for the moment, let’s call them spices. One spice a week, mostly seasonally appropriate. I will provide links to their site and maybe others in case you want to learn more about the spice. 2019 began on Tuesdays; so will our weeks. Penny often has recipes on her site you’ll be able to find with the link.

Many of you cook or have fondness for certain spices. You may want to share memories or recipes with your fellow readers.

I will probably keep the musing format the same, but offer more information on a blog over at Sacred Village, my website dedicated to the notion that life and our connections to it and to one another are sacred. What is more sacred or more celebratory than eating? What breaks down barriers faster than shared meals?

What is spicier and more delicious than Peace? It will be interesting on this journey to see how spices stir up our understanding that Peace requires Justice. That Peace requires Joy. That Peace requires deliberate effort.

I’m very excited about this year. I hope you’ll hop on our Spice Caravan for Peace and come along to see what we can learn. Imagine slowly introducing our palates to the soft teasing quality of some spices and the explosive nature of others. Life, Eating, Peace are all sacred endeavors. Let us commit to 2019 with a full heart, an open mind, and a curious palate! Together, let us Peace!

ps. I’ll see you back here tomorrow for some information about our first spice!

Peace and Industrious Beauty

Who knew? There are about 5,000 kinds of dragonflies and damselflies identified. For their names alone they’re worth celebrating. They’re ancient, ancient, ancient. Damselflies are on every continent but Antarctica!

They zoom around and we’re enchanted. I’m not sure why this bug is better than other bugs… but they has been depicted as early as cave art!

Probably for no other reason than that they’re beautiful.

But we see the dragonflies glint (they’re far the showier of the two) as they flit and forget to notice how busy they are. They’re very effective predators.

Wow, Ann’s learning a lot about bugs (in very little doses!)

Here’s to the Peace of Industrious Beauty! May we clothe ourselves in Beauty as we go about the business of Peace.



Being Ready for the Explosion of Peace

Part of our work for Peace — for anything — is getting ourselves ready. We want to be clear what we want to do and do the things we need to do to be able to do that one thing.

Because when those amazing moments come, when everything is lined up, and then comes together, we have to be ready to move.

Making Peace is what we’re meant for. Sharing Love. Noticing the Beauty. Feeling the Wonder. Dancing to Life’s Music. We yearn toward it. And eventually, if we do the work, our strength and the right moment will collide and Magic will happen. So will Peace.

Find the Peace: Right Here and Now

Tiny little pieces of Peace can be right in front of us. It’s our job to recognize them. The Beauty that exists in our world is an invitation to notice and share the wonder.

There’s a moment of Peace for us when we notice the wonder. There’s another when it’s shared. In that mutual moment, there is Peace between people. We need to look more widely and more deeply to find the Beauty and the Wonder and appreciate it. We need to share what we notice others. How is it that we don’t do more of this? We are built to be amazed. It might be healthy to keep stretching our capacity for Wonder at the glories of this World.

Natural Beauty is free for the gasping! Created Beauty may not be free but should be shared as widely as possible.

Practice Wonder. It’s practicing Peace. It may be its most important spiritual discipline.


Summer Peace, Still Unfurling

I know that for a lot of people, the Summer is decided by the school year. My summer is delineated by the swim season — which lasts from when I can get into someone’s early season pool and lasts a long as I can get people to keep their pools open and let me in them.

Summer ends when I can’t swim outdoors.

I’m just back from two weeks in a landscape and in friendships that feed my soul differently than my world here. ahh… a wonderful thing. But there is still lots of summer left and lots of Summer Peace to unfold.

This is a glorious pic of an unfurling fern, isn’t it? You can feel the tight curl relaxing. Some of Peace and Peacemaking is very deliberate. Some of it is just letting it relax and be. We need to work on both kinds of Peace.

Looking at Peace from Both Sides

Why do I write poetry? I think It’s so I can understand. If I have to write about Peace, every day, and someone gives me a picture and suggests I think about it and I do, then I write my way forward to another tiny point about Peace. Often I wind up someplace I’d never expected.

The grasshopper surprised me with an insight. This curious, cocky little guy is designed as an eating machine. He and the farmer are pretty much at odds.

Greeny and his buddies want to feast on the farmer’s carefully planted fields. The farmer, on the whole, would prefer that the grasshopper tribe didn’t.

Balance is needed. Balance in this case means there are grasshopper predators enough to keep the fields growing yet enough greenery to keep the grasshoppers reproducing and playing their grasshopper cellos.

So many things to look at from both sides. So much Peace to be understood and made.

The Precious Now of Peace

All of creation, except humanity, lives entirely in the precious moment of Now. What is is what is.

We spend far too much of our time looking at what the Buddhism refers to the twin evils hope and fear. What if things are not this or not that? What if what we have doesn’t last? What if what we dream about doesn’t come. If you have fears, do what is needed, what you can, right now, to prevent their becoming reality.  If you have dreams, do what you must, right now, to make them come true in the fullness of time. If you can do nothing, then perhaps you should enjoy the moment.

And maybe we can notice as we rest in Peace, what others do as they rest in Peace. Gather ye information while you may.

We are those who can be making Peace. Let us do whatever we can.

The Peace of Away and Home

I’ve been working hard getting ready for my trip. I’m so excited. Going with a good friend, meeting more good friends, going to listen to good friends play incredible music in England… and then going to the place i call home when i speak Swedish and the dearest friends in the world. What could be better? Home and home away from home. (what makes it home you ask? Well, the friends. and the fact that you know where all their dishes are and what in the fridge is being saved for dinner, and what’s up for grabs.) The fact that you have a turn in the rotation for dinner!

But better isn’t the question, really. Different is. Going is exciting. But home is exciting too… I love my life here, and my house, and my friends… and oh, right, my husband and family live here.

For the first time, I’m going to disconnect between places. I’m going to be (or try to be fully where I am. No phones no emails. Maybe a postcard… maybe not. Maybe just there, and then, all too soon, and never soon enough, back home.

There is Peace in both places. There is Peace everywhere if you look and you set about making it. Peace, my friends, I love you. I’ll be back in my home pastures soon enough.