October 15th, 2014

Pushing The Pause Button

For the past two days for some reason I wasn’t able to post on Tumblr. While there are times that persistence is important, I also think there are times when I just need to let go and come back to something later. It may be that the universe is putting me on pause for a moment for some reason I don’t understand. I have had several examples of this in my lifetime, like coming back later and finding an item I was being blocked from buying was on sale, or something I had written needed better editing, or thinking of a better way of doing something when I had time to think through it. I think the key for me is peace, if I’m feeling frustrated I need to let it go and retry later when I’m in a better space.

October 13th, 2014

Peace Begins With Me

Being a peacemaker isn’t easy. Especially when you truthfully realize, it is yourself you most have to make peace with.

October 12th, 2014

The White Feather

Some dreams are more real than others.  Last night I dreamed I was walking down a  long hallway.  My husband and some other people were walking ahead of me.  To my left was a room with a large opening.  Everything in the dream was a muted sepia color except for a single, tiny, brilliant white feather that floated out of the room to my left to float directly in front of me. 

White feathers are very symbolic to me.  They appear in my life when I need to know that I’m on the right path.  They remind me of the peace I have within myself to make the right decisions.  The memory and peace of that feather have comforted and guided me today.

October 11th, 2014

And So Much More…

So today is Saturday and this morning I caught up on writing about some of the numerous peace choices and thoughts I had over the week.  The enlightening part is, even with all that writing there are still a lot of things I left out like the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded Friday to India’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai for their efforts against the oppression of children and their promotion of  the right to education for all. 

I also didn’t mention that my niece and her Austin based band, The Mrs. was featured on Good Morning America on Friday for their #imenough promotion. A song/project that helps people to see their own beauty in a unique way.

I didn’t mention the incredible coffee date I had with an old friend that felt like reading a beloved familiar book that I hadn’t read in a long time.  A timeless afternoon that revolved around her sharing her life choices that have put her in a very different and peaceful place from where she was the last time I saw her.  Nor did I mention the quick lunch with a younger friend that wanted to know more about living a spirit led life.

The most surprising thing I didn’t mention was sitting on the walking bridge in Chattanooga next to my son, Liberty, having an intense conversation in which no words were spoken at all.  Sitting next to him, watching the sunset was without a doubt my very favorite moment of peace from the entire week. 

kidpres:

ALERT! All profits from Kid President posters sold in the month of Socktober will go to helping our friends who are homeless in Little Rock, Arkansas! Buy one or two or seven! http://bit.ly/peptalkposter

My friend Brad and his little brother-in-law, Kid President, do lots of fun things, including changing the name of a month on the calendar.  Soctober is now the time of the year when you think of how scary it would be to be homeless, left to sleep on dark and dangerous streets at night, and you want to make sure the 600,000 people in the US that have to face that Nightmare on Elm street or Main street know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is the light of the peace train coming to help them! On Friday, I loved catching up on Brad and KP’s new video featuring Grover from Sesame Street.  So I invite you to join me in Socking It To Homelessness in Soctober!

kidpres:

ALERT! All profits from Kid President posters sold in the month of Socktober will go to helping our friends who are homeless in Little Rock, Arkansas! Buy one or two or seven! http://bit.ly/peptalkposter

My friend Brad and his little brother-in-law, Kid President, do lots of fun things, including changing the name of a month on the calendar.  Soctober is now the time of the year when you think of how scary it would be to be homeless, left to sleep on dark and dangerous streets at night, and you want to make sure the 600,000 people in the US that have to face that Nightmare on Elm street or Main street know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is the light of the peace train coming to help them! On Friday, I loved catching up on Brad and KP’s new video featuring Grover from Sesame Street.  So I invite you to join me in Socking It To Homelessness in Soctober!

Give Peace A Chance

It is a bit of a stretch to ever think of your mom as being “cool” so it has been eye opening to me this week to realize that she is from the same generation that produced both Leonard Cohen and John Lennon.  They could have all been classmates in school if they had been in the same place. Thursday would have been John Lennon’s birthday.  My opinion of John Lennon is that he was mischievous, full of love, very confused, and had a difficult time traversing the trajectory of his career.  He was also a person that believed peace should be given a chance.  He went about this through his music and in lots of over the top ways, but just like Gandhi and the salt march, it wasn’t necessarily the exact result that was important, what John Lennon did best was to plant the seed of “giving peace a chance” into the soul of the collective consciousness. 

The interesting thing to me is that very few people could name off the names of the assailants that murdered Gandhi or John Lennon, because those aren’t lasting impressions.  What is a lasting impression is the message of peace that Gandhi and John Lennon spread through their lives.  That message did not end with their deaths, it withstood and transcended.  Moral to me being: Love Wins.  Every Time. 

Real Mail From A Real Person!

On Wednesday of this week my husband and I spent the day working on various filming projects that will be used for publicity for the East Chattanooga Academy of Art and Social Justice.  I was also able to do a few side activities including participating in a fun activity called, “The Neighborhood Postcard Project”. 

This project which was started by artist Hunter Franks, was organized by the Glass House Collective as a part of Chattanooga’s Start Up Week, a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit of the city. I met with people that live in and love East Chattanooga.  We spent the lunch hour downtown at Miller Plaza coloring 100 post cards that said, “Greetings from Glass Street”.  The post cards were addressed to random people in other areas of town.  Residents from East Chattanooga will write personal stories about why they love their neighborhood on the post cards.  Real mail from real people that hopes to change thoughts and ideas about an area of town that generally may not have had positive connotations in the recent past.  This effort on a very grass roots level is filled with creativity and personality.  It also continued to play on what seemed to be a theme through my week: the energy of positive thoughts and words can change the world. 

To learn more about the Neighborhood Post Card Project go to: http://www.neighborhoodpostcardproject.com/

To learn more about the Glass House Collective go to:

http://www.glasshousecollective.org/

To learn more about Start Up Week go to:

http://startupweekcha.com/

To learn more about the East Chattanooga Academy of Art and Social Justice go to:

http://eastchattanoogaacademyofartandsocialjustice.com/about.html

Coming Soon

On Tuesday I did some research on peaceful civil resistance.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the next book I want to write and one topic I keep coming back to is a book about the history of civil resistance and peaceful ways to solve conflict on both small and large scales.  I ran across these two quotes by the historian Judith Brown about the salt march led by Gandhi that was felt by many to eventually lead to the independence of India from Britain:

"Gandhi grasped intuitively that civil resistance was in many ways an exercise in political theater, where the audience was as important as the actors."

"Civil resistance was a crucial part of the environment in which the British had to make a choice about when and how to leave India."

When you looked at the actual salt march and the agreements that were made immediately afterwards you may not have felt Gandhi accomplished very much, but it was the energy and thoughts that he sowed into the hearts of the people of the world that made the big difference.  This was the victory.  We may feel that we are small or don’t have very much of an impact, but our thoughts and passions are powerful and when love meets that intersection, the world is changed, even if that change seems small, in reality it ripples through time impacting everything around us.

A big part of my week during fall break has been helping with different aspects of the new East Chattanooga Academy of Art and Social Justice,  a new Master of Fine Arts program that my husband is creating in a low socioeconomic but art rich area of Chattanooga, TN.  This is a picture of Eric Finley, Jr. a.k.a. Seven, creating a sign for the front of the building where the school will be located.  Just like this sign, I believe our thoughts are a big indication of what is “coming soon”.  Think peaceful thoughts, live a peaceful life, change the world around you. 

Let It Be

I have been on fall break this week, so I’ve taken a little break from writing, but not from making peace choices or thinking about peace.  This is a picture of me enjoying the beauty and peace of fall on my front porch on Monday:

October 5th, 2014

Wear One Share One

If you are a fan of the concept behind Tom’s Shoes, you will love the mission behind OutsideIN at http://www.wearoneshareone.org/.  Adorable t-skirts made out of recycled t-shirts by women that have been marginalized in society.  Every skirt that is purchased not only helps them, but also goes towards sending an OutsideIN Bless dress for a needy girl in Zambia. 

I fell in love with these skirts tonight when my friend Dawn Bramblett and her daughter both wore them tonight.  They looked so stylish and comfortable! The store is located in Troy, Tennessee but you can also order the skirts and other items from their online store at http://www.wearoneshareone.org/

October 4th, 2014

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Do Their Share

Today I read this article published by the AP: 

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s prime minister joined millions of schoolchildren, officials and ordinary people who picked up brooms and dustpans Thursday in a countrywide campaign to clean parks, public buildings and streets.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept the road in a poor neighborhood in New Delhi while launching the Clean India Campaign. Elsewhere in state capitals and small towns, lawmakers, school principals, factory workers and millions of common folk swept and cleared garbage, and cleaned ditches and parks.

Modi chose the birth anniversary of independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi to launch the five-year drive to clean public spaces in a bid to change India’s image as one of the filthiest countries in the world.

Modi, who has made cleanliness and hygiene a major plank of his speeches since taking office in May, led thousands of New Delhi residents on a walk through newly cleaned roads in the heart of the city.

There is so much to love about this initiative.  As in the microcosm, so in the  macrocosm.  How powerful to elect a leader that inspires others to clean up the world around them, joins in, and makes it a fun project in the process! I look forward to seeing the difference it makes in their lives, and how it impacts the world around them!

!

October 3rd, 2014

Full Stop

Blessed are the moments when we stop worrying, stop striving, stop planning, and stop just where we are to be grateful and in the moment. 

October 2nd, 2014

Gandhi’s grandson: The need to become conflict managers instead of crisis managers.

(Source: youtube.com)

Dear Ghandi, I get it.

We are all connected. We are all connected. We are all connected. Everything we think and do impacts everyone and everything else in our lives.  These are the concepts the universe seems to be not so quietly whispering to my soul everyday. 

Sometimes I want to turn away from those connections that hurt.  When I see a young girl that once had bright promise and that I have often cared for, fed, and prayed with, now filling her life with alcohol and drugs, I am not sure that I want to stay connected.  Not because I don’t still care, but because I do care, and it hurts to watch her decisions pull her down.

We are all connected, we are all connected, we are all connected.  How can my thoughts and love energy pull her up?

When I see injustice in the world, families torn apart by forces outside of their control, I want to turn away, I don’t want to be connected.  Still the whisper continues…

We are all connected, we are all connected, we are all connected.  How can my actions help transform an unjust system?

When I see the love of power crushing the power of love, how do I continue to believe in peace?

Because we are all connected, we are all connected, we are all connected.  I am only one, but I am connected to the stars and to the maker of the stars, and our connection is far more powerful than the illusion of disconnection. 

We are all connected, we are all connected, we are all connected. 

October 1st, 2014

Happy 90th Birthday President Carter!

The truth is when I first met my husband to be, I didn’t think we had anything in common.  We would spend hours sitting silently together (and not because we were Quaker).  I honestly don’t know how we became such good friends.  It was like he met me and then he never left my side…whether I wanted him there or not, and being a good Southern girl I didn’t want to be rude and tell him to go away. 

I remember trying to come up with conversation topics and we really didn’t have a lot in common, until one day we started talking about the former president Jimmy Carter.  I remember how excited we both got talking about our admiration for him, and especially about how impressed we were with the way he gave back through Habitat for Humanity after his time as president was completed.  I just remember that specific conversation being a game changer in our relationship.  In that conversation I felt like we suddenly saw our pasts and our futures as having a connection that wasn’t there before.  We talked about peace and how politics plays into peace, and doesn’t play into peace.  At that point in my life while I’m sure I had thought generally about peace, it didn’t mean that much to me,  so that conversation was in many ways a turning point for me.

Many years later my husband and I were able to meet Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife.  It was one of the highlights of my life. He lived up to every expectation I had of him. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes by Jimmy Carter in honor of his 90th birthday: