Have you ever felt the need to just crawl into a little corner of the day to comfort yourself? Maybe the tensions of work suggest you push away from it to soothe your aching mind. Maybe you would feel better about a recent argument with your spouse if you had just a little time and space alone to yourself. Maybe you just want to sit still — very still — by a window, in front of a personal altar, amongst some woods, in your favorite chair, or amidst your garden. Perhaps alone time in a special setting, even if for a few minutes, is all you need to regenerate yourself.
- Where do you go where you feel more yourself than any other place?
- How often do you give yourself permission to go there?
- What does sanctuary mean to you? Continue reading
Oh, Divine Mother of the Universe,
how can I doubt your Love for me?
In the sanctuary of your Love,
grant that I may have a
Mind of Peace,
Count my faults,
but never abandon me.
Count my blessings daily,
for they are jewels I bestow upon you.
Count my human burdens,
for I nightly lay them at your feet. Continue reading
Oh, humble Divine Mother Earth,
I am on my knees in your Garden,
inhaling your sweet fragrance,
pouring out my gratitude —
receiving your blessings.
Passersby see an old man weeding —
they do not know:
I pluck old habits, old thoughts
from my mental garden.
I prune old desires.
I do this lovingly, but they do not know.
They do not smell the Earth,
hear Her breathe,
sing through the birds,
sigh in the forest breeze. Continue reading
I see you in the garden, Mother One.
“Receive this gift,” your heart gently offers
the plant to the earth.
This garden is your child,
tendered and nurtured by your wisdom and kindness.
I am no longer surprised that you stay
until the last light of day puts your
garden-child to rest in the comfort of darkness. Continue reading
There once was a selfish gardener determined to keep the bounty of his garden to himself. So, he did anything to keep the animals and insects away.
“Pests, all of them!” he scowled. “Why, the birds come and eat my precious berries and fruit, leaving their droppings all around the garden. The bees pester me—I can’t even walk around without fear of getting stung. I don’t trust caterpillars—who knows what they’ll eat, maybe my tomatoes or prized dahlias! Those frogs keep me awake at night with their bellowing. The moles and gophers destroy my lawn. I’ve never seen a good bug, ever! And God help a neighbor’s cat or dog who gets in. Undesirables, all of them!”
For these reasons, the selfish gardener set traps, sprayed insecticide, squished bugs between his fingers, shot BB’s at the birds, and secured a very tight fence line to keep other animals out. Consequently, his garden was quite lovely but very quiet — nothing moved except the slight rustle of wind through the plants. Continue reading
“That is not a tree. I asked you to draw a tree.” My life as a writer began on my eighth birthday with these words of admonishment by my art teacher. Mrs. Brubaker hovered over my interpretation of a redwood like a hawk, my hand nervously clutching a crayon at her demand. The tone of her voice echoes within me even today: I am a lousy artist.
Today is my 63rd birthday, and I sit at my desk in a cabin amidst deep woods on a panoramic ridge line. Surrounded by woodland and meadow gardens, my daily life is immersed in putting what I see as beauty into words.
Confucius reminds us: Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. In a sense, Mrs. Brubaker’s caustic observation gave me a lifelong gift. Her sternness was blind to the deeper quality of a child’s purity of intention. As an artist, I was forever wounded; as a writer, I was set free. If she had asked me to write about a tree, she might have seen the world through wholly different eyes. Continue reading
Kindness encompasses a range of acts and habits that can be most easily described as thoughtful manners and heartfelt courtesy. Such etiquette not only applies to our relationships with other people but also to things, animals, plants and the Earth.
Kindness may be simple like saying “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” or “I’m sorry.” It may be offering a helping hand, patiently waiting your turn, returning a phone call or favor, or even cheerfully responding with a smile. Kindness is also characterized by being generous with your time, money, resources and a willingness to help. “Kindness,” as the Greek philosopher Sophocles said, “gives birth to kindness.” Continue reading
When images of destruction replace a thousand words, we become hungry for words. I awoke this morning with this thought and realized I had become starved for words of hope from the earthquake region in Japan. However, an American survivor in Sendai — Anne Thomas — has recently been corresponding to the blog of Ode Magazine (see post here). I have included excerpts of her letter further below.
Not all of Sendai was destroyed, as Anne points out. Higher elevations of this coastal area of over a million people have begun clean-up and restoration of services.
I am struck by a renewed sense of community — common-unity. It is indicative of the Japanese people and their character. They proclaim: Gambarimashou! (We must keep up our fighting spirit). Continue reading
Like many people today, I am caught up in the sudden jolt of natural disasters sweeping the planet. My heart is emotionally tender seeing landscapes denuded of vegetation, homes, businesses, farmland, animals and wildlife; tens of thousands of people made homeless and jobless; family members dead or missing. I am saddened for the loss of those cultural ways of life that enriched the day — schools, museums, libraries, gathering places, parks, art, music, festivals and events. I am haunted by images of massive debris piles of personal possessions that are now trash — photo albums, clothing, electronics, cars, appliances, tools, precious heirlooms, crafts, instruments, money, birth certificates, and the like.
For many survivors of a natural catastrophe, life is involuntarily reduced to simplicity and survival — simple shelter, enough food and water to get by for a day or two, an invaluable piece of clothing, a surviving family member or friend.
It has given me pause to look at my life from the perspective of what really matters. The question I am left with is this — In what ways do my desires fulfill my needs and yet allow me to live simply? Continue reading
Peace is not a commodity sold on the open market, yet it is available every step we take. It is in the free-spirit of our heart and mind. If we desire Peace on Earth and in our life, we need to know how to live peacefully. We need to know how to Breathe Peace every day.
Each day we are faced with the constant task of responding to a thought, event or experience. Instead of reacting mindlessly, we can be deliberate in our consciousness, if but one moment at a time. We don’t have to be perfect in all this — part of being human is to accept our flawed nature. If anything, the best reward is in trying to be peaceful within the moment, whether we fail or not.
Trying to create Inner Peace is a bit like trying to “watch” each in-and-out flow of our breath, as in meditation — it is a simple task compounded by spur-of-the-moment random thoughts. However, can we really say that we have failed in our task of meditating? No, simply because we have been rewarded by the conscious act and desire to try to sit in stillness and focus our mind.
And so it is with Peace. Trying to be peaceful, to live peacefully, to feel peace within, and to act out of a peaceful nature is perhaps the best way to create Inner Peace. Here is a list of seventeen ways to breathe peace into your life. Just practicing one of these ways is a worthy stepping stone toward all the others.
Peaceful blessings upon your journey.
17 Ways to Create Inner Peace
- Embrace your self-worth — minimize harsh self-criticism
- Replace judgment with acceptance
- Practice cooperation, not competition
- Turn away from conflict — strive for resolution
- Think and act in the present rather than out of fear of the past or future
- Enjoy the moment and be grateful
- Worry within your means
- Feel connected with Nature and all creatures, large and small
- Feel connected with others, especially those in need
- Smile, laugh, be light-hearted
- Be unconditionally generous and helpful
- Be reverent, respectful, kind and compassionate
- Be more a witness than a doer — just Be
- Allow things to unfold or simply be — replace the urge to resist, resent, manipulate, and control
- Practice stillness and self-reflection
- Live more simply so that others may simply live
- Live to create more beauty, hope, joy and peace in the world
For more inspiration, visit our website: www.onesanctuary.com