Pride and Peace

I have wonderful friends. I know wonderful people. People who do ordinary and extraordinary things. People who do things to the best of their abilities. People who stretch beyond what is expected of them… whether by others or by themselves.

We have this weird thing going on in today’s culture…  we have both very low expectations of people, jumping up and down when you phone in a an experience — and ridiculously high ones: failing to notice when when people reach deep into themselves and pull out all that is bright and beautiful and put it to work.

When we do our halting best and do a good job, that means something.

Too often we don’t turn to those we love — or even to those we barely know and say good job you worked so hard, you really tried. Not even you succeeded — you worked your heart out on that. The least I can do is be present enough in the moment to notice and to tell you.

And it’s good to know that your friends treasure your work because they know what it costs you. We all do a lot of things that aren’t the easy things for us. We should be proud of ourselves. And we should be proud of people we know. And we should tell them.

I know this is dicey. I know that that pride can be a dangerous thing. It can become more about the pride and less about the doing what needs to be done.

But sometimes we need that encouragement. Sometimes we are so petrified at what we’re undertaking it means the world to have someone turn and say, yep. you’re doing a wonderful job. Keep going. You’ve discovered new possibilities. You’re working hard and doing good. A friend of mine always used to say 5 attaboys or attagirls for you. Yes, you.

My friends, I’m proud of you. Be Peaceful with yourselves. You’re doing the best you can — so much more than you imagined you could.


Brisk and Beautiful Peace

Fall. It’s just lovely. And today’s as good an example of that as any day we’ve had.

This is one of those times I want to say to folks, slow down, be careful, don’t miss this.

People start to fret about winter. How cold it’s going to be, how dark. Yes (and i admit, I embrace that — and hey, we should maybe all examine the possibility of a little more vitamin d in our lives), but winter has a purpose. and it’s beautiful.

But right now. Right this very minute, it’s fall. and it’s gorgeous. Let’s be present right now. Count today’s blessings, worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Pretty soon they’re going to turn back time… and maybe I’ll start getting up in the morning!

Okay. Maybe not.

But today it is beautiful. Today, I look around and am overcome with the Beauty. Today I am at Peace where I am in space and time. I hope you are too.




Peace on the Cusp

Today the Old Moon ends and the New Moon rises. Bye and large the harvest is finished. In Canada, tomorrow will be thanksgiving, which is much more in sync with the actual harvest.

Here in Pennsylvania, the leaves are taking their own sweet time to make decisions about changing. There are just the slightest hints of color starting. However, I just looked at the thermometer and for the first time i saw that the temps had dipped into the 30s.

No, Ann, really, time to dismantle the porch that gets no light (and by light I mean warmth) this year.

But I stood outside a barn yesterday (it was a wedding, relax, I wasn’t being rugged!) and looked down across the empty field toward the river. The late afternoon light was all Autumn, and everything was golden in the light. The air was clean.

The world had moved on even though many of us still clung to last season’s warmth. The Beauty on the cusp of changing Moon and changing season was lavish. Open your hands and hearts and let go. And what the heck, take the Sabbath to revel in it, why don’t you?

Notice the Beauty, my friends. We can’t move on to Peace, if we’re holding on to the joys and privileges of last season.


Peace Out of Time

It was just a sweet little caress in the grand scheme of things. But there it was, a beautiful little violet in grass that has not yet browned up for the winter.

All around it, the cooler weather is causing the trees to begin to burnish. There’s not been a freeze yet, but we’re all anticipating. All my gardener friends are busy putting their gardens to bed.

But in the meantime, one bold, and yes, foolhardy, violet is dancing in the grass.

“Look at ME!” she cries. And we do. Silly, we think, don’t you know you’ll be gone, soon.

And yet we look. and admire.

There is perhaps something to foolhardy declarations of Beauty and Possibility. After all Peace is not going to be won by our doing the same old thing. That as we have been told so many times, simply leads to insanity.

So Peace. Peace of the beautiful what is. and Peace of the wild, outrageous Violet. Peace. We’ll take whatever leads us in that direction!


The Peace of a Sabbath Lunar Eclipse

The weather gods may relent. There may be glimpses of this lunar event.

It’s a perfect Sabbath endeavor, now that I think about it. Nothing to do but be present. And watch the fire crackle while you wait. It’s late, because, hey it’s the moon, but it’s a great way to spend time with the family…

And in that time I’ll think great thoughts of Peace. I hope you will too. We’ll watch the Earth cover the moon, and go home to dream sweet dreams of Peace. And in the morning, let us get up and see what we can do about all that needs to be done.

I hope you get to bask in the wonder of tonight’s eclipse. It’s not that often that it happens… What a galaxy we live in!

Peace be with us all.


A Peaceful El Papa

He’s a man of his generation to be sure. And there are a lot of things about him that I could wish he was budging on, and yet, and yet.

He’s papal, this pope, or so it seems from here.

He cares about the people. He cares about the land. He takes the notion of a Creator and a Creation seriously.

It’s time that Christianity had Wisdom at its head. And he’s leading, make no mistake. But he seems to laugh and notice that people are alive. There’s that wonderful picture of him laughing with one of his guardsmen. And now this one of him laughing with Obama.

But for all the joy and laughter there is the insistence on the poor and their needs. He sees the world. May he call more of us to account. It’s time. It’s time.

I’m not Christian, but those are my roots, although I was never Catholic. But a good man is a good man and it seems that Pope Francis is that most elusive of things. Peace be with him. Peace be with us all.


Life Is Precious. Sabbath. Peace.

Oh, the weather is beautiful. Noisy in the neighborhood, however. Last night it was cackling with loads of college students; this morning the geese are running practice flights for their trip south.

It’s a wonderful time of year. At the beginning of every season, it seems, there’s a washing clean of the old… There’s a burst before the settling in. We’re having that right now. I always feel more alive during those passages. (I’ve always been a fan of the places in between!)

Today, I really want to hold on to that sense of being alive, to hold it up.

My friend, by no means a close friend, just a man I like, is alive. So easily things might have gone the other way. It’s always the little things that cause the accidents… says the woman who tripped over an acorn yesterday and went flying.

Life is precious. All life. My friend’s life. It’s too short, really to complain. But not too short to celebrate. Not too short to give thanks. Not too short to pack every single minute with joy and awareness of its abundance. We’re busy we think — we think until something makes us remember… right, show up, be present: now is the time.

My friends, about those Syrian refugees. They could use some support. Their lives are precious as well…

My last two decades have been shaped by deaths. This year, two years away from the last huge, significant death, I’m feeling a little steadier on my feet. I understand, all too well, that death happens. But it’s better when it doesn’t.

So look around your circle and celebrate. Life is here. That’s really what observing the Sabbath, keeping it holy, is all about — Life is right here. There is a wild and outrageous Peace in that. Celebrate fiercely. And let’s use that to fuel the work we have to do with others whose lives are not so lucky at the moment. Because we can.


Creek Peace. Gets Me Every Time.

There are just some places in the world that push that pause button for you. For me, and in fact, for anyone in my family, World’s End does that for me. Mother Nature got this one right!

The trees, which, I learned yesterday, were replanted by the CCC after the area was clear-cut in the early 1900s, keep the air so fresh, so clean.

This was a large inland sea at one long, long ago point. People still find fossils.

Me? I find Peace. Every time. I also connect to a deep treasure trove of familial memories, laced with favorite people, favorite small communities who were all part of this place. It is sacred to me for so many reasons.

There is Love here for me. Love for the land. Love for the amazing water which is so fragile.  Love for the picnic food that has offered communion of the sweetest sort, time after time. And Peace. there is always Peace. Every. Single. Time.

I hope there is a place in the world where you can stand quietly, simply being present with your sibling or your beloved or alone and know that Peace is. Love is. Life is.


Peace and Pain in Shared Remembrance

Fourteen years. I was in bed at my friend Carolyn’s house and a friend called wondering if I’d heard.

We’d both lived in New York, though neither of us had known each other then.

I’d watched those towers out the front windows of my office every day for years. They were skyline, they were part of the what seemed like the miraculous world I inhabited. I’d visited. I’d eaten there. I’d gone to a wedding there at the restaurant, in a corner of two windows in the midst of a thunder storm, happening below us.

And although I don’t believe I knew anyone who died, I knew their friends.

I went back a month later and it smelled like death. Of course it did, bodies were still being found. Sometimes there were no bodies, simply wedding rings, watches and memories.

As most of us stood there, stunned, people bounced out of their limo to run up laughing and take their pictures, already drunk at 10:00 am. There was a guy selling hot dogs and souvenir people making money on memories and horror. And the rest of us stood and prayed… My guess is many of us didn’t have words to those prayers or even know to whom we prayed… We were together.

And so many people were missing. Lost. Gone.

Our lives were forever changed.

And now there are others whose lives have been destroyed by the same fanaticism that brought the towers down.

There was a picture of a train station in Hungary where shoes are lined up waiting for people who have walked and walked. Another shows people waiting for the refugees as they arrive in Germany. My mind can’t stop making comparisons to pictures from WWII when people were forced to leave their possessions on the ground and get on the trains.

All these people coming. Will we welcome them?

Can there ever be Peace if we do not?

Even if there can be Peace in the world, can there be Peace in our hearts if we do nothing? There’s a new Moon in two days. Tomorrow is the last of the Fruit Moon. What will we harvest in the Harvest Moon?


Peace Must Be Made Where You Are

It’s always so easy to complain about the weather. And indeed. The weather right now is challenging. Hot and Muggy. And my church is having another yard sale. oh, boy.

But this is the day we have. We either make Peace today, Peace with today, or we say that Peace is less important than the weather.

Since at any given the moment, the weather could be less than the perfect, dry 70˚ weather everyone seems to favor, there are a lot of days that we need to be at ease with so that we can do what needs to be done.

Because Life is what it is. And Peace needs to be where we are. Love? it needs to be everywhere. Because Peace, Life, Love.