Tag Archive | B4Peace

A Global Family

“From the inception of our country, it has been a mainstay of American consciousness that the fabric of our nation would be woven from the threads of myriad national and ethnic identities. We would be the melting pot of all nations. The vast majority of Americans are descendants of immigrants, yet we often act as though today’s immigrants don’t deserve what we do, that we have something to protect from their encroachment. It seems paradoxical to me that we would brag about our ancestors coming over on the Mayflower, yet condemn someone trying to do the very same thing today. Of course there are immigrants who abuse our system, just as there are people born here who abuse our system. The truth is that the majority of today’s immigrants bring with them an infusion of the same values that our ancestors personified, the values America is so sorely lacking. They are people willing to work hard for themselves and their families. Our children do not stand to be corrupted by their values so much as their children stand to be corrupted by ours.”
~ Marianne Williamson, Illuminata [chapter 'Prayers for the World']

Healing Effects of Self Love

As my recent theme indicates, the events of last month still linger with me as I ponder how restorative self-love can be, and how dangerous the lack of it is.

self love pamelamiles 350This topic is a current passion: to share why being gentle with ourselves as we stumble along this tumultuous path of Life is so important. When we were toddlers learning to walk, we didn’t fall a few times and then give up, thinking “that’s it! I’ll never learn” and sit on our bottoms, hoping to be carried around. No, our instinct to survive and grow is one of the strongest forces there is, and we can still tap into this inner resource.

My heart goes out for anyone who is hurting and feels they are unworthy of being here. I want to reach out to them, hovering on that precipice, and gently offer my hand. I want to bring them back to the world.

A study was done of survivors who had attempted suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Practically every respondent shared that seconds after jumping they could clearly see resolutions for all of the problems they had thought were insurmountable… except for the fact that they had just jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge.

SONY DSCDecades ago, when my young, short-lived, abusive marriage ended, my self-worth was the lowest ever, before or since. That angry hurtful man had so effectively beaten down my spirit (without laying a hand on me) that I felt I could hardly breathe.

I will never forget that sickening belief that I was taking up air… taking up space… and that I was utterly worthless. It was the closest I’d ever come to suicidal thinking and it was a cold, dark, terrifying place. Thankfully my inner spirit has always been strong and I had the presence of mind to seek counselling and it helped me remember how to find my way back to my Truth.

That wasn’t the only trauma I’ve overcome but it was one of the hardest. During this journey of life I have experienced awful woundedness and I personally know the glory of rising above it. And if I can do it, any one can do it! Crawling if we must, we can get back to the Light.

Helen Keller - OvercomingHaving felt that icy touch of the darkest of thoughts makes me long to reach out to others who may be lingering in that horrific loneliness. I am deeply saddened that I hadn’t been aware of Nick’s encompassing darkness. His well-hidden sadness must have been so pervasive that he completely lost sense of his value… of his pricelessness. Let us all endeavour to understand our true worth.

As Helen Keller wisely observed, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  Learning to genuinely love and accept ourselves goes a long way towards overcoming our woundedness. Let us all remember to look in the mirror with love and kindness, and to treat others gently as well. We are all on our individual paths, which are sometimes rocky, and even the smallest of kindnesses makes a huge difference. We all matter.

Teach Peace

teach your children well Peace Flash

Wayne-Dyer_children erichuber.com

Each and every one of us has the ability to help teach peace in the world, whether we are parents or educators, or not.

We can be an example of how to behave peacefully with friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers we cross paths with.

By offering compassion, kindness, and acceptance with all other beings at all times, we are leading the way for others.

We are demonstrating what kindness is about. That’s what it means to role model. We are being the way-showers. We are teaching peace.

close ears but open eyes example

teach peace - PeaceFlash

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The Mississippi Three

olympic-torchIt was a tragic event that happened before I was born, but it was a time that must be remembered and prevented from ever happening again. This post is my torch… my bringing of light to a dark, dark place in history. May our knowledge enlighten and raise our understanding of the pressure we must still exert to obtain and maintain equality for all to enjoy peace on earth.

James, Andrew, and Michael ~ You will always be remembered.

1964_Mississippi_KKK_Murder_Victims_Chaney_Goodman_Schwerner

Source: Wikipedia

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James Earl “J.E.” Chaney (May 30, 1943 – June 21, 1964)
Andrew Goodman (November 23, 1943, – June 21, 1964)
Michael Henry Schwerner (November 6, 1939 – June 21, 1964)

In 1964, civil rights activist Andrew Goodman volunteered along with fellow activist Mickey Schwerner to work on the “Freedom Summer” project of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to register blacks to vote in Mississippi.

Having protested U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s presence at the opening of that year’s World’s Fair, Goodman left New York to train and develop civil rights strategies at Western College for Women (now part of Miami University) in Oxford, Ohio.

In mid-June, Goodman joined Schwerner in Meridian, Mississippi, where the latter was designated head of the field office. They worked on registering blacks in rural areas to vote. Michael Schwerner had been working closely with an assistant in the office and fellow civil rights activist James Chaney.

Chaney had previously participated in the 1962 Freedom Rides as well as other non-violent demonstrations. He organized voter education classes, introduced CORE workers to local church leaders, helped them get around the counties, and acted as a liaison with other CORE members.

On the morning of June 21, 1964, the three men set out for Philadelphia, Neshoba County, where they were to investigate the recent burning of Mount Zion Methodist Church, a black church that had agreed to be a site for education and voter registration. On their return to Meridian, the three men were stopped and arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price for allegedly speeding. The trio were taken to the jail in Neshoba County where Chaney was booked for speeding, while Schwerner and Goodman were booked “for investigation”. After Chaney was fined $20, the three were released and told to leave the county. Sheriff Price followed them on State Route 69 to the county line, then turned around at approximately 10:30 p.m. On their way back to Meridian the three young men were stopped on a remote rural road by two carloads of KKK members who approached their car and killed all three men.

Sage_Chapel_stained_glassLegacy and memorials:

~A tall stained glass window in Sage Chapel at Cornell University honors the memory of James, Andrew and Michael.
~A memorial at the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church commemorates the three civil rights activists.
~A plaque near Riverside Boulevard at 70th Street in New York City commemorates the three men.
~The sacrifice of the murders contributed to Congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, federal legislation to enforce social justice and constitutional rights.
~In 1998 the James Earl Chaney Foundation was set up by his brother Ben Chaney in his honor to promote the work of civil rights and social justice.

Representation in media:

~The band Flobots’ song, “Same Thing,” asks to bring back Chaney.
~Meridian, a novel by Alice Walker, portrayed issues of the civil rights era.
~Phil Ochs wrote his song, “Here’s to the State of Mississippi”, about these events and other violations of civil rights that took place in that state.
~Tom Paxton included the tribute song, “Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney”, on his 1965 album, Ain’t That News.
~In the novel Song of Susannah by Stephen King, Susannah Dean reminisces about her time in Mississippi as a civil rights activist. She thinks about making love to James Chaney and singing the song “Man of Constant Sorrow”.
~The murders were depicted by Norman Rockwell in an illustration titled Southern Justice (Murder in Mississippi) published in Look in June 1965. (See my previous post)
~Richard Farina’s song “Michael, Andrew and James” performed with Mimi Farina, was included in their first Vanguard album, Celebrations for a Grey Day, released in 1965.
~Simon and Garfunkel’s song “He Was My Brother” was dedicated to Andrew Goodman who was their friend and a classmate of Simon’s at Queens College.

Reference source: Wikipedia

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Paintings by a Warrior For Peace

Norman Rockwell - Do Unto OthersI am offering a loving salute to Norman Rockwell (Feb 3, 1894 – Nov 8, 1978) for the power he demonstrated in all his paintings but especially the later ones after he left the Saturday Evening Post. Thank you Mr. Rockwell for being a strong, quiet, and powerful Warrior For Peace who created art that will forever speak to the heart of issues to be addressed for global peace.

“Do unto others…” For most Americans in 1961, the familiar adage really meant, “Do unto others who look like you.” Norman Rockwell, in his painting Golden Rule challenged that hypocrisy and laid the truth of “the other” smack dab in the middle of America’s coffee tables. Golden Rule appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on April 1, 1961.

The-problem-we-all-live-with-norman-rockwellAlso in 1961 widower Norman Rockwell married a third time, to retired Milton Academy English teacher and ardent liberal Mary L. “Molly” Punderson. With her encouragement, in 1963 he ended his 47-year relationship with the Saturday Evening Post and spent the next decade painting for the magazine Look where his work depicted his interests in civil rights.

In January 1964 Rockwell painted The Problem We All Live With depicting six year old Ruby Bridges walking to school in New Orleans on the court-ordered first day of integrated schools (November 14, 1960) for a Look story.

Murder-in-Mississippi-Southern-Justice-1965A great departure from his previous sweet depictions of American life is the colour study of his finished painting called Southern Justice (Murder in Mississippi). It was for a June 1965 issue of Look and depicts the horrifying image of racism that resulted in the deaths of three Civil Rights workers as they worked to register African American voters.

These are events that Mr. Rockwell immortalized to help guarantee that we will never forget. As we close out Black History month for 2013 let us all do what we can to continue to work towards peace and equality, ensuring barriers are dropped and opportunities are equal for all. As MLK encouraged, judge not by the colour of skin but by the depth of a person’s character.

Reference sources: Chronogram.com and Wikipedia.com

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Kahlil Gibran “On Children”

kahlil gibran novel the-prophetLebanese artist, writer and poet Kahlil Gibran‘s novel from 1923 “The Prophet” has been translated to over forty languages, has sold over 100 million copies, and has never been out of print. Click here to view it on Amazon. According to Wikipedia, Kahlil Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, only behind William Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.

While the entire novel is a beloved masterpiece, a favorite section will forever remain ‘On Children‘. Please visit my post from last Mother’s Day that was inspired by these wise words. Also inspired were the group Sweet Honey In The Rock (see post) who’ve recorded a lovely rendition in celebration of this incredible writing by Gibran. I’ve included the words to Gibran’s original work here as well as the slightly altered lyrics by the performers. May we be inspired to sing along to the uplifting beat and raise the upcoming generation remembering these truths.

Let us also remember the wise words from Mahatma Gandhi, “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

Kahlil Gibran’s On Children

Sweet Honey In The Rock performing Kahlil Gibran’s “On Children”

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and the daughters of Life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you, they belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
Sweet-Honey-in-the-Rock logo 200They have their own thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Your children are not your children
sweet honey in the rock - small photoThey are the sons and the daughters of Life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you, they belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
They have their own thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you.
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We Who Believe In Freedom

Sweet Honey In The RockSweet Honey In The Rock (see my earlier post) do an incredibly powerful performance of this amazing piece, Ella’s Song, and I’ve included the video and lyrics for us here. I first fell in love with this song over twenty years ago when I heard it covered by songwriter-singer and activist Holly Near and I adore this original version too. I’ve also included some information about the memorable activist who inspired it: Ella Baker.

Let us be inspired to raise our voices and sing along! Let us rise up and take action for peace and freedom for all the world’s people, for every mother’s child. Let our love light the way. ~Namaste.

Ella’s Song

ella bakerElla Josephine Baker (December 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986) was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist beginning in the 1930s. She was a behind-the-scenes activist, whose career spanned over five decades. She worked alongside some of the most famous civil rights leaders of the 20th century, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  She also mentored then-young civil rights stalwarts Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael, Rosa Parks and Bob Moses. In 1972 she traveled the country in support of the “Free Angela” campaign demanding the release of Angela Davis [John Lennon & Yoko Ono wrote a song in support of Angela Davis called ‘Angela’ on their 1972 album “Some Time in New York City”].  Ella Baker also lent her voice to the Puerto Rican independence movement, spoke out against apartheid in South Africa and allied herself with a number of women’s groups, including the Third World Women’s Alliance and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She remained an activist until her death in 1986 at 83 years of age.

Ella Baker quotations:
“Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son… we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.”
“Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind.”
“The development of the individual to his highest potential is for the benefit of the group.”

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Sweet Honey In The Rock

Sweet-Honey-in-the-Rock logo 200Sweet Honey in the Rock captured my heart decades ago when I’d enjoy their music and performances on episodes of PBS programs Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street with my young children. The more I learned about them and the more music of theirs I collected, the deeper my love for them blossomed.

sweet honey in the rock performance photoThey are an all-woman, African-American a’cappella ensemble. A Grammy Award-winning troupe, they express their history as women of color through song, dance, and sign language. They have worked together from four singers to the difficult five-part harmony with a sixth member translating with sign language. Although the members have changed over 4 decades, they continue to sing and have helped produce children’s albums as well as those aimed at adults.

sweet honey in the rock photo 350The group was founded in 1973 by Bernice Johnson Reagon, who was teaching a vocal workshop with the Washington, D.C. Black Repertory Company. She retired from the group in 2004. The name of the group was derived from a song based on Psalm 81:16 which tells of a land so rich that when rocks were cracked open honey flowed from them. Bernice said that the first song in which four women blended their voices was so powerful there was no question what the name of the group would be. Their music combines contemporary rhythms and narratives with a musical style rooted in the Gospel music, spirituals and hymns of the African-American Church. The ensemble tackles five-part harmonies and composes much of their own music. They address topics such as motherhood, spirituality, freedom, civil rights, domestic violence, immigration issues, and racism. Reference details: Wikipedia ~ Official site: SweetHoney.com

I celebrate these dynamic performers along with their outstanding music! These women sing for peace. I applaud their excellent efforts and want to share the inspiration they offer right here on my blog. Watch for more to come! Let’s clap and sing along as they help us raise our voices and stand up for peace. We can pray for peace daily, and we can take action. Let’s get inspired and see what we each can do towards creating peace on earth, right here and right now! Let’s stand up for freedom! Let’s stand up for peace!

Sweet Honey In The Rock at the Carpenter Centre, with commentary by the bwordproject.com

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Raising Energy Towards Peace

turn on the light switchDr. Wayne Dyer has shared an analogy in his PBS programs that we do not go into a pitch-black room and fight the darkness by swinging at it with a baseball bat! We simply turn on the light switch. We cannot battle darkness by hitting at it; rather we must bring Light.

pull them into your peaceMy loving intention daily is to focus my thoughts, actions, and words towards fostering love. While I am aware that atrocities have happened and are occurring, my energy must remain on distributing the love in my heart, and I do not participate in inciting outrage and anger. Rather, I do all I can to raise the vibrational energy around me up from anger, grief or depression, to the higher levels of energy such as forgiveness, compassion, and understanding.

The people I visit, the music I listen to, the words I read, and the imagery I allow from television and movies are crucially important and I never allow myself to forget this. Inspirational speaker Jim Rohn often spoke about being aware of who we are ‘rubbing shoulders’ with because we have a tendency to become like those we spend the most time with. Therefore, I choose carefully what authors I read, artists I enjoy, teachers I learn from, and friends I spend time with. My emotional and spiritual development is on-going, and my goal is to reach ever-higher levels of conscious awareness so that I may continue to share more and more love into the world. Negativity does not encourage me towards this intention.

The very best thing I can do towards helping create world peace is by working daily on my own inner thoughts and feelings. By praying, walking, breathing, and living peace – with my husband, children, neighbours, friends, family, store clerks, drivers in traffic, and everyone – I am bringing love and peace to my part of the world. I have complete faith that every thought, word and deed ripples outward far beyond what we can comprehend. So I ensure my ripples are sending out love. Join me in this practice, and we will bring peace on earth here and now.  ~Namaste

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the Dalai LamaSomeone asked the Dalai Lama, “Why didn’t you fight back against
 the Chinese?” The Dalai Lama said with a gentle smile, “Well, war is obsolete, you know.” Then, his face grave, he said, “Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back… but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”

ram dass
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“We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter because we are so deeply interconnected. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.”  ~ Ram Dass

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Loving February

thankful-for-everything taraburnerWhether you are a romantic at heart or not, any time is a great time to fill our hearts with love. So why not today? Why not now? Let’s make this month the most love-filled month ever!

Let’s share kindness with others, and be grateful for our blessings. Let’s shine with happiness and brighten others’ days. Let’s take care of our own hearts as we take it easy on ourselves and do what we can to lower stress and raise self-esteem.

Let’s take care of our health, and tidy our home. Rearrange the furniture and clean out that junk drawer. Dream about the future we want, and take action to make it happen.

I feel filled with the promise of a new future, and this month has blown new hope into me. Hope that you feel the brightness of lengthening days also! Hope that you can feel even stronger in your self esteem as you join me in looking in the mirror and practice saying out loud, “I love you” to our own reflection. Do it! Do it again! Make the bed. Sweep off the front step. The future is coming and let’s make ourselves clean and bright so that we can reflect all the brightness and joy we feel.

Warmest wishes for a most wonderful February! May all our hearts be filled with love. 

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violet tea cup china rubylane.com 450Joan Borysenko: “The lessons of February comprise the Way of the Heart. Jesus summarized the spiritual life with elegant simplicity: “‘Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” ~Luke 10:27
A precious thought that is easier said than done. This month let us deepen the doing. Through our intention to love and serve, let us remember how to open our own hearts. In this way we will restore our place in the great web of life that we may treat the earth and all her children with the greatest respect and love. February is the perfect time for the flowering of compassion.”
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RoseAnn Hayes paintinginwatercolor.blogspot.com 600Constance Spry: “China tea, the scent of hyacinths, wood fires and bowls of violets – that is my mental picture of an agreeable February afternoon.”
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Sarah Ban Breathnach: “February arrives cold, wet and gray, her gifts disguised for only the most discerning spirits to see. Gentle is our path. Gratitude is the thread we weave into the fabric of our daily lives this month, giving thanks for our simply abundant lives and asking for the gift of one thing more: grateful hearts.”
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live in peace harmony bumper sticker LGR

Images: TaraBurner.com, RubyLane.com, PaintingByWatercolor.blogspot.com, sticker:Google

Birthday of another Peace Warrior

BORIS III (1894-1943)Twelve years after FDR was born in the US, another important warrior for peace was born on this day in Bulgaria. He was Boris III (January 30 1894 – August 28, 1943) born to mother Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma and father Ferdinand I, Prince of Bulgaria. He was given the long name of Boris Klemens Robert Maria Pius Ludwig Stanislaus Xaver but he will forever be known as King Boris III, the Tsar of Bulgaria, and known as The Unifier. He came to the throne in his early twenties and made some very brave choices.

Bulgaria BORIS III stampUnder this courageous leader, Bulgaria was the only nation in Europe to save its entire Jewish population during the Holocaust because he refused to permit the extradition of Bulgaria’s fifty thousand Jews. He was one of the few world leaders who defied Hitler face-to-face during the war, refusing multiple times to deliver his Jewish citizens beyond the borders of his kingdom. Happy Birthday King Boris III! You forever remain an inspiration of  genuine strength of will and courage, and the importance of doing the right thing!
wrong is wrongHonors and Memorials include:
~ May 12, 1994, United States Congress proclaimed King Boris III a savior of 50,000 Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust.
~ A huge picture of him is displayed in the Alexandrov Compound in Atlantic City, NJ.
~ King Boris III was posthumously awarded the Jewish National Fund’s Medal of the Legion of Honor, the first non-Jew to receive one of the Jewish community’s highest honors.
~ The Jewish National Fund dedicated to Bulgaria a forest in Israel, a garden named for King Boris, and a Bulgarian square in Jerusalem.
~ The Anti-Defamation League and Chabad have also honored King Boris III for refusing to sacrifice his Jewish subjects to the Nazi juggernaut.
~ Tsar Boris III Boulevard is one of the main boulevards in the Bulgarian cities Sofia and Plovdiv. In Sofia, the largest park is named in his honour: Borisova Gradina.
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Happy Birthday to a Warrior for Peace

I salute and celebrate amazing people who are strong in the face of adversity and show their courageous hearts filled with faith in doing what is right. May their lives forever be a lasting testimony for us all in overcoming obstacles to creating good in the world, and to remember – always – the very real difference that a person of honor and principle can make.

FDR smilingThe first birthday celebration cheer today is for Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945).
I posted an earlier celebration to him at this link. Even though he passed away two decades before I was born, this incredible man and his teachings matter to me. Even though I never knew him, I will always remember him and his beloved wife Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. FDR is a lasting example about the strength of will and what a courageous heart filled with love can accomplish. Happy Birthday FDR! I am so glad you were born on this day!

Biography video of FDR

Click link to enjoy a 5-minute-video of a ‘mini’ biography. Very well made by the program BIOGRAPHY. Note, after this intro/mini-bio is finished, it proceeds into additional video excerpts from the full Biography on FDR, each about 2 minutes.

FDR free people are tough 660

If civilization is to survive FDR

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Today Is A Wonderful Life

5 simple rulesToday I feel blessed and bursting with joy at being alive! I recently went through an illness that reminded me, again, of how much I have to be thankful for. Pain and illness are temporary conditions for me, which is not so for everyone. Physical mobility is incredibly precious and in remembering others who give thanks for wheelchairs and ramps, I give thanks for my freedom of movement and refuse to forget and take it for granted. In flushing the illness from my body with literally gallons of water over a week, it’s easy to give thanks for the incredible privilege of clean running water supplied to my home and the filtration system to make it even more pure.

a good life The least I can do with my blessings is acknowledge my appreciation and let the love I feel well up and pour out into the world. I shine my light to the wonderful people I share my home with and make them laugh, and with my 4-legged family members and get tail-wags and purrs. Every being around me benefits from my loving light, from clerks in stores to fellow parishioners. I step out for a walk and stop to chat with a senior as she pauses on her daily foray. We express gratitude for kind neighbours keeping sidewalks ice-free and admire the chickadees who’ve come to investigate our visit next to their tree. As we part with smiles I send her more love, knowing her day has been brightened by our interaction, as mine has with her.

I return here to share how thankful I am for this forum, this wonderful place where we bloggers can share our lessons and adventures in learning how to share our inner light ever more brightly in the world. How we can and do transform any stumbling block into a stepping stone. For we know that the truest path to peace on earth is by developing and fostering our own bright inner peace which then radiates out from us in all directions.

smile God blessedThis day is an opportunity given to us to see what a wonderful life we’ve been gifted with. Thank you God, Great Spirit, Universal Intelligence – whatever name you want to use! This universal source for good rejoices as we rejoice. It brightens a grey sky when I choose to see the sun behind the clouds. As I take one step towards God by expressing gratitude, God shines towards me like a thousand suns. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE!
Let’s all choose to remember this fact and in so doing help make it real for everyone.
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Related Articles:
http://dreamprayact.com/2012/11/21/overflowing-with-gratitude/
http://everydaygurus.com/2013/01/04/feeling-my-way-to-peace/
http://russtowne.com/2013/01/02/creating-a-good-life/

A Warrior For Peace

martin-luther-king-jr i have a dreamWhile Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday of every January, which is next week, I want to acknowledge and celebrate this incredible ‘peace warrior’ on the day of his birth.

It was 84 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia that his mother, Alberta Christine Williams King, gave birth to her second, a boy. He was welcomed into the world by her, his father Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., and 17-month old sister Willie Christine King, and when he was 18-months old he became a
big brother to Alfred Daniel Williams King.  
The King’s middle child grew into a man who generated change and improved the world.

Here is a wonderful description of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from GoodReads:

Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement. King was a Baptist minister, one of the few leadership roles available to black men at the time. He became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), serving as its first president. His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Here he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a national holiday in the United States in 1986. In 2004, King was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.

Source: GoodReads

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While he was an American, his work went beyond borders and boundaries. He is a beloved icon the world over. This is from Wikipedia:

One place outside the United States where Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed with equal importance is in the Japanese city of Hiroshima under mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, who holds a special banquet at the mayor’s office as an act of unifying his city’s call for peace with King’s message of human rights.

The City of Toronto, Canada, is another city that has officially recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day, although it is not a paid holiday, and government services and businesses remain open.

In 1984, during a visit by the U.S. Sixth Fleet, Navy chaplain Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff conducted the first Israeli Presidential ceremony in commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, held in the President’s Residence, Jerusalem. Mrs. Aura Herzog, wife of Israel’s then-President Chaim Herzog, noted that she was especially proud to host this special event, because Israel had a national forest in honor of Dr. King, and that Israel and Dr. King shared the idea of “dreams”. Resnicoff continued this theme in his remarks during the ceremony, quoting the verse from Genesis, spoken by the brothers of Joseph when they saw their brother approach, “Behold the dreamer comes; let us slay him and throw him into the pit, and see what becomes of his dreams.” Resnicoff noted that, from time immemorial, there have been those who thought they could kill the dream by slaying the dreamer, but – as the example of Dr. King’s life shows – such people are always wrong.

Source: Wikipedia

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martin-luther-king-jr stick with loveThis excerpt from the 1967 Massey Lectures suggests that the admiration Canadians had for him (and forever will) was mutual:

“It is a deep personal privilege to address a nationwide Canadian audience. Over and above any kinship of U.S. citizens and Canadians as North Americans, there is a singular historical relationship between American Negroes and Canadians.

Canada is not merely a neighbour to Negroes. Deep in our history of struggle for freedom Canada was the North Star. The Negro slave, denied education, de-humanized, imprisoned on cruel plantations, knew that far to the north a land existed where a fugitive slave, if he survived the horrors of the journey, could find freedom. The legendary underground railroad started in the south and ended in Canada.

The freedom road links us together. Our spirituals, now so widely admired around the world, were often codes. We sang of ‘heaven’ that awaited us, and the slave masters listened in innocence, not realizing that we were not speaking of the hereafter. Heaven was the word for Canada and the Negro sang of the hope that his escape on the underground railroad would carry him there.

One of our spirituals, ‘Follow the Drinking Gourd’, in its disguised lyrics contained directions for escape. The gourd was the big dipper, and the North Star to which its handle pointed gave the celestial map that directed the flight to the Canadian border.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Source: McGill

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If you have not already visited the official website of the foundation continuing his legacy and his work, I encourage you to do so. The website for the King Center is well organized with so much to read and learn about. Enjoy!

Official Website: http://www.thekingcenter.org/

Established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, The King Center is the official, living memorial dedicated to advancing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Our programs and partnerships educate the world about his life and his philosophy of nonviolence, inspiring new generations to further his work.

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Imagine World Peace

~ Imagine Our World At Peace ~

John Lennon ImagineJohn Lennon’s song IMAGINE is so popular because it resonates within us. It touches our soul, our psyche. The response to this song is rarely, “Oh, it’s okay I guess.”  We more commonly hear, “That’s my favourite song of all time!”

It has become an anthem of sorts. An anthem for World Peace. And we need an anthem about peace now more than ever.

We need to remember how important, how essential it is that we practice acceptance of perceived differences. We need to realize how this one step is critical to creating lasting peace in our lifetime. This year. Right now.

Let us move beyond the schoolyard manner of thinking and acting upon the outdated belief that ‘my religion is better than your religion’ or ‘my geographical location is more important than yours’ because these attitudes only keep us frozen in archaic battles.

chicago fire 'Mouch' actor christian stolteAs a fan of Dick Wolf, I’ve been enjoying his latest addition: Chicago Fire. In one episode we observe a secondary character named ‘Mouch’ express his intense hatred for Canadians when a couple of fire fighters from Toronto visit the station. He could not stand to be in the same room as they were. Towards the end we learn how he had fallen for a girl from Ontario through a website, and sent her money to come to Chicago, but she was a cruel person who scammed him and broke his heart. Through this one event, in his humiliation and heartbreak, he’d written off an entire country, dismissing with disgust anyone with that nationality.

It felt like a pretty good example of one way that exclusion, even racism, can begin to fester in a person’s heart. And everyone who allows these types of wounds to grow while refusing to forgive a larger group of people based on the actions of one or a few, are contributing the problem.

I choose to be a part of the solution. I choose to focus on peace, and the best way for me to foster a peaceful world and make a real difference towards world peace, is by ever deepening the love within my own heart. Peace within individuals grows outward to become peaceful communities, cities and nations. Peace in our hearts is the primary thing we all can do towards creating world peace.

i-dont-see-any-borders-do-youAs John Lennon invites us to imagine, what if there were no countries? No borders? I don’t feel borders. And I don’t see borders on our globe. To me, I feel like a resident of the continent of North America. And on a larger scale, as OAK at Only Abundant Knowledge wisely states in her blog, I am an Earthian and to be human is enough.

There is only one race: the Human Race. And I feel as much compassion, love and concern for my human ‘kin’ in Toronto, Aurora, and Newtown, as I do for my fellow ‘kin’ in Delhi, Sudan, and beyond. In my prayers, I feel deep compassion and love for all my fellow residents of this planet, and do my part to send my highest light towards these places where people are hurting and are filled with sadness.

I like to imagine the world at peace as John Lennon dreamt of.

I like to imagine a shift in consciousness, when enough of us on the planet pray for and believe in peace, when the angry ones suddenly wonder ‘what are we even fighting for?’, put down their weapons, and reach out with aid for others who they can now see as their ‘kin’.

And yes, that may make me a dreamer. To which I say thank God for John Lennon and his eternal anthem for peace, and for helping all of us dreamers know that we’re not the only one.

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Related articles:

http://professionsforpeace.com/2013/01/11/as-john-imagined-it/

http://professionsforpeace.com/2012/06/22/john-lennon/

http://everydaygurus.com/2013/01/07/promote-peace/

http://everydaygurus.com/2012/12/20/we-can-make-a-difference-right-here-right-now/

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Note: Images here were randomly sourced through Google except the bottom banner.