To Mothers: The Original Peacemakers. Such a beautiful tribute to mothers by Everyday Gurus. It will move your heart, please visit and read.
"Peace is not something you wish for, it something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away."--Robert Fulghum
In an effort to actively do something to create more peace in the world in 2013, I am dedicating a number of my posts specifically to peace. I invite you to join me. We can call ourselves "Bloggers for Peace." Everyone is invited to join.
Yesterday was the first day of spring for me, because I could walk outside barefoot, in a T-shirt and Capri’s, lay down in the grass and soak up the sunshine. The blue sky was brilliant, an almost unreal color with no clouds in sight. Birds chirping and calling as they flitted from branch to branch, tree to tree.
The first buds of leaves were sprouting up toward the sky, soaking in the rays as eagerly as I was. My Tulip’s heads were shyly peaking out from between their leaves. My cat was ecstatic over the movement of all living things, including me. She romped and performed for me, and she even gave me a tummy massage as I was laying in the grass absorbed in the sound, smell, and texture of new life.
Poetry floated through my head as the soft warm breeze circled my ankles. Too bad I did not bring pen and paper outside with me. I did not even bring my camera, at first. I just wanted to be in that moment and experience all of it’s glory in every cell of my body. As the western sun penetrated my skin sending comforting and loving signals to my brain, new thoughts began to bud like the leaves on the trees. I could not tear myself away from this experience.
The winter is long in New Hampshire and spring is often too short. I went inside for my camera so I could capture a memory, a moment in time when my heart was content with all that is in my world. Troubles will come and go, struggles and stress are unavoidable, but there is always hope. As long as life persists there is hope.
Why is the sky so blue, the grass so green, and flowers so brilliantly colorful? Why can we smell the delicious scents around us and feel the textures of life. The universe functions so beautifully by it’s own design, it is intelligent, it is the essence of love expressed. The mystery, the why and the how is part of the excitement of living. Beyond that, there is no doubt in my mind that the origin of this masterpiece we call life is an infinitely benevolent heart, and an intricately wise mind.
Nature is my refuge, my haven and my heaven.
For more photographs from yesterday visit my portfolio blog: http://cherylroth.wordpress.com/
I’ve been away, busy, overwhelmed, entertaining guests, and a little under the weather at times. Life has been interesting, ups & downs, wonderful things and immediate concerns rocking my boat a bit. But if the sea were always calm it would be a bit boring, wouldn’t it?
Last week I enjoyed a lovely trip to the seacoast. It was sunny and warm at first, but later became very overcast. I enjoyed both parts of the day for many reasons; I was with family & friends welcoming spring and love was in the air.
From My Peace TV:
Combatants for Peace is holding the alternative Israeli-Palestinian commemoration ceremony for the 8th time this year. The event has become increasingly important for victims from both sides of the conflict as well as for the wider public who wish to acknowledge each other’s grievances and promote a dialog of peace.
The ceremony boldly touches on the exposed nerves of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and brings together bereaved family members from both sides who call together for the ending of the conflict using nonviolent means.
The ceremony is also attended by artists, public figures and prominent intellectuals, who believe that on such a significant day for the Israeli society we should be reminded that it is possible to create a different reality.
The ceremony is designed and produced by the Combatants for Peace movement who relies entirely on donations, activists and volunteers to carry out its actions including this ceremony that has become its flagship annual event. The number of people attending this event increases every year and last year we enjoyed a turnout of 2000 people.
This year, the ceremony will take place at the Trade Fair Center to accommodate an anticipated larger number of attendees. As the service grows in size, so do the costs while it is becoming increasingly difficult to raise funds from the Israeli public for such causes.
We are relying on the generosity of individuals like yourself and we kindly ask you to help us make this important event happen again this year. We have to raise the necessary funds by the end of February!
Donation can be easily and safely made through these links: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sharing-our-bereavement http://www.razoo.com/story/The-Alternative-Israeli-Palestinian-Commemoration-Ceremony-Held-By-Combatants-For-Peace
We would also highly appreciate wider distribution of this call for contribution.
For more details on Combatants for Peace and the memorial ceremony please visit our website: Combatants for Peace
Early Monday morning last week a vary special person I was privileged to know passed away. She lived 101 years but I only knew her during the last year of her life. During that time she had a profound impact on my life.
I only worked for her a little more than 5 months, as an aid. Often I felt that she didn’t really need me, not because she made me feel that way but because she never stopped trying to do everything herself. Of course at 100 you’re going to have some limitations, but she took a walk every day, she did exercises for a leg/hip injury, she sat in the sunshine reading mystery novels, stayed up late watching movies, and went out to lunch or dinner with friends and family several times a week. She lived in her own home, and went to NYC every winter.
Mrs. G as I called her, was a gift from God to me and she became my mentor. Her smile, her sense of humor, her love for people and life, and her straightforwardness were as genuine as gold. She was generous and trusting, and she always made a point to say “thank you” even for the smallest things. Those were the last words I heard her say to me on Saturday 3/2/13.
Those were also some of the last words I said to her last Sunday, because being included in her life and helping her in any way was a great blessing to me. I learned so much from the way she thought, the way she treated people and the way she lived her life. Her attitude and example gave me encouragement, hope and strength at a time when my life was falling apart.
The job itself came at a time when I desperately needed it, but I got so much more than I bargained for. I used to tell her that her house was like Heaven because it was beautiful inside and out, and filled with so much love. It was a calm and comforting refuge during a stressful time in my life, and being in the company of her family and friends was always refreshing.
Mrs. G always complemented me, on my clothes, my hair, my cooking, my driving, and other things, in a way that no one else ever has. It’s not that I don’t get compliments, it’s just that she had a unique way of making me feel special. We had similar interests in art, literature, movies, social issues, spirituality and activities, so I enjoyed every minute I spent with her. I grew to love her very quickly.
I realized at one point that she was the same age as my grandmother, who died about 17 years ago at age 83. She had some of the same furniture and personal items from that era. however, in spirit she didn’t seem old enough to be my grandmother.
Mrs. G. was a timeless woman, very modern and very hip, most of her friends were much younger than her. She was a successful business woman during a time when very few women were running a business. She was also a great mother and a social activist.
I feel honored that I could accompany her to the events that were held in recognition of her life and accomplishments. I am blessed to have been included in her circle of family & friends, even for such a short time. I will always remember with love and gratitude the impact her life has had on mine.
Have you heard of Reiki Gong? It’s a combination of Reiki and Qigong. A friend of mine invited me to a retreat that will be in April in Nashville, TN, but I can’t afford to go (wish I could). However, I was intrigued by the content and decided to look into it further.
So I checked out their FB page: Reiki Gong Dynamic Health. As I scrolled through the posts I came across a post about a project they are working on for mental and emotional health. They are trying to create a practice on DVD for those who suffer with mental & emotional health issues and don’t have access to alternative therapies. Reiki Gong Mental & Emotional Stability Practice DVD · Medstartr. I was moved by this and wanted to share it with my readers.
Personally I have not had a lot of success with so called “modern medicine” concerning my own health issues. I am very sensitive to drugs and find that I do better with natural and alternative practices. Through my work I’ve known many people over the years with moderate forms of mental and emotional illnesses and I never experienced that any of them were cured with drugs. Some of them did better for awhile, but then there was always a need to eventually find a better or different drug. In this type of situation I think it’s worth looking into alternatives.
During this past winter I was helping to care for an elderly woman with serious anxiety and depression issues. She was on 3 different types of anti-anxiety, anti-depression medication and she felt terrible all the time. Most of these drugs have side effects that make you feel ill and weak. She was too old to make significant changes in her life and that made me really sad.
Through talking with her, especially when she had “episodes” or “panic attacks”, I realized that she had built a pattern of thoughts and behaviors over a lifetime that had created her present circumstances. She was helpless, needy and totally dependent but this was not because of her age or illnesses. I know people much older than her who have worse ailments but are less needy and dependent, and not depressed at all. I realized through talking with her that most of her mental and physical health issues would not have developed if someone had taught her to think differently when she was young, and to take care of herself.
That experience gave me a lot of motivation to look at my own thought patterns and to put more effort into caring for myself both physically and emotionally. I have always been inspired by people who are pioneering the way of alternative practices in the west. So, if you have a chance, please check out these pages about Reiki Gong and if you like what you see, give them some support.
Winter is a difficult time for me physically, mentally and emotionally, so I try to find ways to challenge myself. In the past I could challenge the physical elements of snow and ice by just getting out there, shoveling, sledding, driving, photographing, whatever. Now I still try to do those things, but less than before because I have more physical challenges than in the past.
Challenges that limit us can weaken us mentally and emotionally. To strengthen myself I’ve given myself other positive challenges, like yoga. Since I started attending classes last October, I’ve been able to gradually, very gradually, build strength and health physically, mentally and emotionally. It has not been easy and my class attendance was not always consistent for the first couple months, but I have persisted. Now I’m attending classes twice a week and beginning to practice at home as well.
One thing that helped me with my yoga practice was following a beginners yoga challenge on yogajournal.com. I received daily written inspiration on will power, and a weekly video of yoga practice. It was quick, easy, motivational and free.
In March I will be starting a new challenge, and I invite you to join me if you wish. It is a free 21 day meditation course sponsored by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. I know that sounds kind of commercial, but it looks like it could be valuable. Of course, if you’re already a meditation master maybe you don’t need it. But if you are looking for some guidance to start meditating, some ideas on improving your mental or physical health, or just a little inspiration, then why not try it? It can’t hurt, it’s free, and it’s completely accessible at your own time, location, pace and comfort level.
Starts on March 11, 2013. Here’s the link if you care to join in. http://www.chopracentermeditation.com
- Meditation Is the New Yoga: Bringing Mindfulness Into the Workplace (bigthink.com)
- 21 days of Meditation – with Deepak Chopra and Ms Oprah herself (pambustin.com)
- Deepak Chopra (celebrationofnow.com)
- Oprah Winfrey & Deepak Chopra (sebastianhalliwell.wordpress.com)
This woman is now 109 years old and still as optimistic as ever. Please watch this video, it is well worth the full 12 minutes of your time.
Published on Dec 11, 2012
At age 108, Holocaust survivor Alice Herz Sommer still practices piano for 3 hours every day. At age 104, she had a book written about her life: “A Garden Of Eden In Hell.” At age 83, she had cancer. Alice survived the concentration camps through her music, her optimism and her gratitude for the small things that came her way – a smile, a kind word, the sun. When asked about the secret of her longevity, Alice says: “I look where it is good.”
Standard YouTube License
I cried with gratitude and joy when I saw this video. The song, and the dancing of these women of all ages and walks of life comforted and liberated my heart. Together, regardless of our differences, we can spread a message that every human being deserves respect and to be protected against violence, especially children and women.
Let’s all work together to promote true peace:
- First we have to respect ourselves, our mind and body, by developing them in a healthy, disciplined and productive way that reflects our true divinity.
- Next we have to teach our children to do the same, and to treat others with respect even when we feel they don’t deserve it.
- Finally, as we move through life within our own sphere of influence we can uplift others, help others, provide support, protection and encouragement for those who suffer or have suffered, and we can spread the message of the value of life and true love.
This is my Valentine’s Day gift and wish to everyone: True Love and True Peace through the understanding of your divine value, and the development of the goodness in your heart and life.
Under the snow in the cold damp earth there are seeds of new life. Winter hides the secret of renewal. One day those seeds will surely burst with energy driving shoots up to break through the top soil. My heart explodes with thoughts of spring, new growth, and the blossoms that fill the air with fragrance. With this thought I can endure winter, seeing also it’s beauty.
How unresolved my life is right now! There are so many problems hanging in the air that I feel like I’ve fallen into a deep well in the woods. I am confronted with the results of my poor judgment in the past and my limitations in the present. The only thing I have resolved to do is to find gratitude in each day and take one step at a time.
I’m grateful to know that spring & summer will come again. I’m grateful that even in difficult times we can experience love, hope and happiness.I’m grateful that I can still move and do things to improve my life, and that is what I have resolved to do …… to keep moving forward with life, love and gratitude that I can still do something to create change for the better.
I learned a long time ago not to make a big long list of expectations for the new year, in other words, not to set myself up for big disappointments. That doesn’t mean I’m not motivated or that I don’t intend to accomplish things. I intend to accomplish whatever needs to be, and I’m motivated to become my best self; but I’ve realized that I don’t have a lot of control over circumstances that may present themselves. That’s usually what happens to well intentioned New Year’s Resolutions – life gets in the way.
This morning while reading through my emails I found this post by Drew Myron at Off The Page suggesting an “I did it” list as opposed to a resolution list. I think it’s a great idea to focus on what we have accomplished, the value of who we are and what we have right in this moment. It ties in very well with the one new year’s resolution that I did make, which is to find something to be grateful for in every day. By the way, Drew’s inspiration came from another writer, Lisa Romeo, who’s post you can read here.
Last night my family & I were sharing reflections about 2012. It was a hard year for us full of stress, disappointments, loss, incredible demands and huge change that has not ended yet. Through it all we grew closer to each other. We each realized that adversity allows us to find our inner strengths, to focus on what we can do in each moment, and to prioritize our values. A bad year became a good year as we realized how we had grown through our troubles and successfully dealt with our problems.
Toward the end of our sharing some friends stopped by to wish us a happy New Year. Our 2 families have been friends for about 14 or 15 years, so the kids are all teens or young adults and beginning to move in different directions. It was comforting to share this transition from 2012 to 2013 as both our families are also moving forward to new stages of life & lifestyle. Old friends and childhood friends are people you have gone through many experiences with and found value and strength in their company. They are forever friends.
So here is my “I Did It” list for 2012:
- I survived financial collapse, bankruptcy and almost losing our home.
- I survived my husbands triple by-pass heart surgery (and he is doing well).
- I am moving forward while still dealing with the loss of my mother and another very cherished person in my life, as well as financial & health issues.
- I’ve started a yoga practice.
- I’m eating in a more healthy way.
- I’ve made new friends.
- I’ve been a supportive wife & mother through the most stressful year of my life.
- I’ve maintained 4 blogs, although not very well at times, but I’m still posting.
My New Year’s resolution:
To love my life & live joyfully by finding gratitude in each day.
Bethlehem. Obviously there was no church there when Jesus was born, and the site was not elaborately adorned as it is now, but it was an eye opening experience anyway.
Bethlehem is in Palestine. It was a war zone, buildings half blown up and deserted, soldiers everywhere, and little children begging in the streets. There were a few scattered Christmas lights and decorations in random windows which stood out in drastic contrast to the reality of the war torn country. A brave gesture of hope and faith.
I was traveling with a group of inter-religious peace workers. Before we could cross the border from Israel to Palestine our buses, baggage and bodies had to be searched. It seemed to take hours. The drive into Bethlehem was somber as human activity in the area seemed scarce, except for the soldiers & police at their checkpoints.
Jesus was born in a cave, underground, where it was cold and drafty. Yes, it was a stable where animals were kept, but not they type of stable we depict in American nativity scenes. Even though I knew this intellectually before I went there, it was quite a different reality to experience it. There is a spot that is marked with a 14 pointed silver star on a
marble slab which is supposed to be the actual spot where Mary gave birth. Mary gave birth on the cold dirt ground in the middle of winter. Because I am a mother, tears rolled down my cheeks thinking of the reality of it.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came in such a humble and suffering way 2000+ years ago, to this small unknown place in the world. Yet his short life and brutal death have impacted the world more than any other person in human history. Why is his birthplace surrounded by guns, bombs and suffering? Clearly we have missed part of the message.
In Israel I participated in a peace conference, visited historical sites, walked Jesus path of tears, and met with people of all faiths. I visited temples, synagogues, mosques and churches and prayed for understanding and peace among all people of all faith traditions. I participated in a peace march and large rally where over 10,000 people of all faiths gathered to honor God together, and show that it is possible to love one another beyond the doctrines that divide us.
I gave most of my money to the children begging in the streets in both countries. However, I was able to bring home a few small and inexpensive souvenirs as gifts for my family members, bought from the children selling in the streets. What a different reality we have
in the USA where most children expect presents under a tree and stockings stuffed with goodies. Surely this inequity is not the desire or intention of a loving God.
I got home on Christmas Eve and was very tired, but every moment with my family was more meaningful than ever. I only wished that my whole family could have had this experience with me, but I tried to share the depth of it’s meaning as best as I could. That was nine years ago, and every year since I have prayed for peace between Israel and Palestine, as well as in the rest of the world. I believe in prayer, but clearly something more is needed.
How many tears will be shed, and how much blood spilled, before humanity values peace and true love enough to make amends?
This always seems to happen to my schedules, plans and attempts to create health, discipline and order in my life. Something comes up, someone needs something or I have to go somewhere. It’s a good thing that I have a flexible mind and attitude toward life.
I started Yoga classes in October, but then I had to go out of town for a couple weeks. Of course that was very important and I have no regrets about giving up yoga class to be with my mom before she passed away. It just follows with the pattern of life adjustments that I find myself always having to make. I just started getting back into my classes last week and last night my employer asked me if I could change my work schedule, which would require me to find different times and days for yoga classes.
I said it would be difficult, but I didn’t say no. It’s hard for me to say no; I tend to be very accommodating. Sometimes that is part of the problem, and sometimes it’s a beneficial attribute. I’m working on becoming more aware of when being accommodating is or is not beneficial.
It may work out to my benefit this time. As I reviewed the schedules and possibilities it looked problematic at first, but I determined that taking yoga classes was one of my top priorities at this time in my life. I can not work or live well if I am not healthy in mind and body. Yoga has been helping me mentally, physically and emotionally deal with this stage of life that I was not prepared for. I decided to accommodate myself this time and make it work.
Once my priority was set and my mind was determined everything came into focus. The classes at the times that I needed appeared, and a new work schedule became possible. I will lose a few hours of work but I don’t really care. I am choosing to take care of myself, and it’s about time.
As I am on the downside of the hill now,
I’ve come to realize (the hard way) how vital health is to one’s peace of mind. I happen to be one of those people who believes that each one of us contributes to the peace and well being of the planet through our own thoughts and lifestyle choices. I’ve believed this for most of my life. However, due to my own shortsightedness, my external efforts to foster peace in the world have sometimes taken a toll on my physical health.
I’ve also always been a believer in maintaining a healthy diet and being physically active. It was 1971 (I was 14) when I first became a Vegan and took Yoga classes. That lasted through my teen years. After entering the adult world of responsibilities, work, raising a family and contributing to community, I found myself gradually being worn down by commitments, stress and the values of others. This is no ones fault but my own, a weakness in my personality that facilitated what I thought were good relationships and peace, but in reality I was neglecting my health.
A gradual deterioration in my overall well being created problems in my relationships and lifestyle. I started to notice these problems and look for solutions in 2003, but doctors, diets & exercise were of little help. In 2007 I was told that I had an auto-immune disease and that my thyroid gland was almost dead. Although I take thyroid hormone to stay alive, it does not restore health by itself. By 2009 health issues caused my career to come to a grinding halt. I’ve been fighting what felt like a losing battle ever since.
Fighting and Losing No More!
Earlier this year I met my 100 year old mentor and found inspiration and hope. (I will write more about her in future posts.) I have returned to my vegetarian roots by choice but without being bound to it. I am returning to a yoga practice with compassion and without expectation. Instead of fighting a losing battle, I am learning and developing a greater capacity for peace & love beginning with myself. I’ve decided to share my journey toward better health, and peace, with the hope that it might help someone else on their own path.