Peace

The journey of self-care

“For to see the end from the beginning is a sign that it’s already finished. It’s just a matter of walking it out to completion.“
Dorothy E. Young

I read this on another Tiny Pepper’s NanoPoblano 2018 blog the other day.

It struck me with its profundity. It seemed quite biblical.

  • I can’t see the end of this journey I’m on. I see the transformation pictures of other women who started out my weight and judgy, cynical, self-defeating thoughts start popping in my brain like popcorn. Thoughts like:
    • How skinny is skinny enough?!?
      I could never get THAT small.
      That’s just too thin.

    The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter what their size is and it’s not mandated that I get that small and have my body look like theirs. Their journey is different than mine. Their whys are probably different than mine. They are different from me. We are all unique and special in our own way. So are our journeys.

    We do have something in common, though, other than our need/desire to lose weight.

    Learning how to care for ourselves well is key to making it through to the end of this stage of our life’s journey AND not having to go through this stage again.

    Ultimately, many self-care habits and routines are going to vary as much as those of us on this journey do. However, the basics are all the same:

    • Nutrition
    • Activity
    • Rest
    • Relaxation
    • Passionate purpose

    There are some internal prerequisites to achieve those basics. The first of which is deciding that you have value, that your life matters, and your needs are as important as anyone else’s needs.

    That belief in one’s own value leads to the second prerequisite: boundaries. What are those?

    • The ability to say, “No,” to unreasonable demands and requests, is a key boundary.
    • The ability to decide how to deal with and whether to take the criticisms, snide & snarky remarks, manipulation, and verbal abusiveness, all of which are so prevalent in our lives.
    • The ability to stand up for one’s self and assert the right to exist, breathe, and occupy the space you’re in, unapologetically.

    These are the foundation of this journey of healing, recovery, and growth we’re all on. Once those things are in place, as much is possible, then, self-care is possible. Once caring for and about oneself is primary, then, belief in our own abilities comes next and we become unstoppable…even if we can’t see the end from the beginning, at first.

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    Writing Prompt: lettrs Three in One – Skylark Challenge 152, Word of the Week, Finish the Story

    The sky turned darker and darker as she walked toward the beach. “This can’t be a good sign,” she thought to herself as she watched the flotsam and jetsam of the tideline being washed back into the ocean. Crest ravaged crest as the waves rose higher and higher, each one violently crashing into the next.

    Conscious of the increasing danger in the charged atmosphere, still she persisted in wading through the lacy, white edges of the ocean’s skirt where it brushed the sandy shore. Inhaling deeply, she felt calmer, even as the storm heightened around her.

    Turning to face the vast, explosive power of the swelling tide, with hair blowing in the gusting wind, her eyes closed against the mist, she threw her hands in the air, and let out a howling scream, venting her ire and frustration about the painful events and circumstances she’d been experiencing, which were out of her control. It felt as though the elements were speaking through her, for her.

    Finally, as the skies opened and heaven poured out it’s laments, she turned and slowly made her way back to the gray and brown weathered beach house. Step by weary step, she steadily paced herself as she sought refuge from both the actual storm and the storm her life had become.

    As she closed the door behind her, she was filled with a calm resolve. She felt centered and at peace with vagaries of her life. With the storm raging around her, she slept soundly, for the first time in what felt like decades.

    Upon waking, she saw the morning light coming through the window and meandered outside to the porch. Feeling the warmth of the sun contrasting with the cooling breeze, she finally felt content and knew the course she would take upon returning home.

    After packing the car and leaving the house key in the lockbox, she cast a final glance towards the calm ocean, whispered a prayer of gratitude, and drove away.

    Skylark Challenge 152:
    Wading, Washed, Tideline, Crest

    Word of the week: Packing

    Finish the Story: The sky turned darker and darker as she walked toward the beach. “This can’t be a good sign,” she thought to herself…

    A Travelling Smorgasboard Work Party for Peace

    Let’s close out 2013 and bring in 2014 by having a Smorgasboard Party for Peace!

    The theme for the final Monthly Peace Challenge by Kozo at Everyday Gurus is: Party On, Garth! We were challenged to plan a party that would promote peace throughout the world. Who would we invite? What music would we play? Who would we want for entertainment?

    I’m not a party person. The thought of parties kind of leaves me in a cold sweat of anxious panic. I don’t do well in crowds. I get overwhelmed by the contrasting and conflicting cacophony of sound, sight, and smell. I like low-key events where there is space to move, room to breathe, and an openess of thought and mind for people of differing backgrounds to come together and explore each other’s ideas and experiences. I enjoy exploring the environment of the host: seeing the pictures, art, furnishings, and memorabilia the host has around. I also enjoy seeing and learning about the mundanities of the host’s life and experiences.

    I suspect that if more people took the time to get to know these things about others in the world, instead of pushing personal agendas of accomplishment and aspiration, we might co-exist a bit more peacefully.

    I once heard of a kind of travelling party where various people within a community hosted an open-house style of party on the same night or succeeding nights. The premise was that people attending could spend time visiting each location, getting a bit more familiar with the hosts and those in attendance at the same time. It kind of reminds me of attending a school’s open house where the students do special projects and put together special portfolios in each of their classes. Then, their families visit each classroom and view, not only their student’s contributions, but get to see the contributions of their classmates, become familiar with the teacher and the subject at the same time.

    I recently remembered something which happened in early elementary school. I’m pretty sure it was a social studies unit. We were studying our family tree and learning about the countries and cultures in our family origins. At the end of the unit, we had a potluck smorgasboard with each student bringing a dish which came from a country our ancestors had originated from.

    This past Summer, I joined in with others from my church community, in partnership with another church community to bless and serve the local public high school and the community of students and families which are connected to it. Some of us provided supervision and activities for the children, some of us prepared food, some obtained donations, while many others took on the various down and dirty tasks of garbage pick up, painting, weeding, cleaning, and making repairs around the school and its grounds.

    Yesterday, I saw a posting about what one person did, in conjunction with 20th Century Fox, to provide relief efforts to the Phillipines after it was hit by a typhoon, instead of a movie trailer.

    So, here’s my concept for a party to promote peace:

    Have a person, family, or organization host an open-house party where they share the artifacts and memorabilia of what it means to be from their culture/country. They could play a mix of the cultural variants and styles of music which represent the fullness of their experience. They would serve a tapas-style variety of foods which express the full-spectrum of gastronomic experience, including historic and cultural stories which may underly the development and creation of the music and food. The decor would reflect the culturally significant art – folk, functional, and fine. Each one would also show, through all of these things and whatever else they could think of, historical and current areas where their culture was not at peace and where peace has had an impact. Finally, a service opportunity for the attendees to participate in peace efforts would be provided.

    If I were to do this in my community, I might host it at The Portland Art Museum. In each different room or section, I would invite leaders, musicians, artisans, and residents of the different segments of Portland to create a representation of their subculture in each room: LGBTQ, Street Youth, Homeless families and individuals, representatives from the various ethnic and cultural communities, immigrant and non-immigrant.

    I would like to see someone else host and ecumenical open house party hosting the various faiths and spiritual paths. The various denominations and sects of Christianity, Islam, and Jundaism would be represented, as well as other world faiths, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Practitioners of alternative spirtual paths commonly identified, accurately or not, as Pagan, New-Age, Wiccan would also be represented.

    An ideological open house would be interesting. Representatives from the different schools of thought and philosophies where readings from different teachers and philosophers would be recited and discussed, would be enlightening.

    The only way we stop being enemies to ourselves and each other is to explore and understand the histories, roots, origins, beliefs, and passions which make each individual and collective what it is and learn to embrace the differences as necessary to the functionality of us all. Celebrating each individuating experience of the collective is what will create unity and enable peace.

    Retroactively Visualizing Peace: Belated Peace Challenge for October 2013

    Back in October, my life: mind, body, spirit, environment, relationships, was anything but peaceful.

    I visited the Monthly Peace Challenge for the month of October, posted by Kozo on Everyday Gurus, but I could not wrap any part of myself into visualizing what peace looks like or could look like in my day to day life, much less in the larger world. Here’s my vision for World Peace 2014:

    Reverse the organizational pyramids ~ Individual people in positions of power and leadership: economic, political, familial, spiritual would stop seeking more power in order to assert their self-interested agendas. Instead, they would commit to humbling themselves in service to the betterment of those whom they have authority over. “Ask not what the people can do for you, but what you can do for the people.”

    Return to interdependence ~ Each individual will come to recognize and honor all other individuals as members of the same human body.

    “Many Gifts but One Body

    3 For by the grace(G) given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think.(H) Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith(I) to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body,(J) and all the parts do not have the same function,”

    Romans 12:3-4, HCSB

    I know this passage is a bit out of context, since it is speaking to a first century sect of Judaism, which we now call Christianity. However, I believe that all of humanity is a creation of God, whatever name or understanding any human may have of that. That belief falls within the belief that the God which was, is, and shall be pre-existed all of creation and all of creation was formed from God’s own essence and returns to God when it ceases to be. Therefore, in my understanding, even if we are divided in our spiritual/religious beliefs, we are still living, breathing, walking, talking pieces of God, with function, worth, and purpose, whether we believe it or not, regardless of our own awareness or cognizance of our connection to one another or God. Just as the human body has many parts with many functions, some deemed desirable and good, others deemed undesirable and offensive, all are necessary to the continued functioning of the body. Independence, superiority, and dominance are false constructs obscuring the reality that all people are reliant and interdependent on all other people in existence. “Humanity divided against itself, cannot stand. Humanity united and functionally interdependent, will get back up and keep going.

    I fully believe that if we, as a species, can internalize these truths, that peace is possible on a world-wide scale. That being said, it starts with me, in my home, in my relationships, in my life today.

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    Peace: Six Word Friday

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    Fearful, anxiety in towering, terrible waves
    Rise up, surrounding me, crashing down
    The driving rain of mute despair
    Piercing mind, shredding heart, drowning soul
    Smothering and threatening newly rediscovered joy
    Scattering perfect seeds of love, faith
    This time, the storm guides them
    To well prepared and fertile soil
    I see over the cresting waves
    Looking through blurry, tear-filled eyes
    Gazing up, I witness clouds break
    Blue skies open, releasing bright rays
    Comforting light, scattering dread, affirming life
    Love descends, enveloping my fragile heart
    Stilling the torrential, raging internal storm
    Instilling abiding peace beyond understanding

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    Peace: Drop It Like It’s Hot: Six Word Friday

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    Peace: Drop it like it’s Hot

    Draw in the most positive energy
    Release the need to control everything
    Other people’s issues don’t define you
    Practice the elements of love daily

    Invest in what energizes your life
    Treat self and others with kindness

    Let others see inside of you
    Immerse yourself in what life offers
    Know you are valuable and loved
    Exude the good you want returned

    Involve and engage in the present
    Time is precious, share it freely
    Smiles are priceless gifts, costing little

    Help others without expecting a return
    Occupy yourself by seeking the positive
    Trust that everything will work out

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    P.E.A.C.E.

    This month’s Peace Challenge to make Peace go viral is called, “Mad Men.”

    This month we are asking you to be Don Draper and construct an advertisement for peace . . . create a simple advertisement, . . . Let’s create a slogan that manifests peace . . . write a poem or a song that can become the “Imagine” for our generation . . . If you are a photographer or artist, how about a piece that we can post on billboards that will promote peace? . . . you could write a short story or screenplay for a short film that can be made and broadcast for peace. ~ Kozo, everyday gurus, Mad Men Peace Challenge

    Practice
    Empathy
    Acceptance
    Compassion
    Esteem

    1) Peace is not a passive, do-nothing, sensation which manifests simply because we wish it or will it into existence. It requires thought, determination, and action. Be what you want to experience in the world. Repeatedly. Intentionally. Practice peaceful action. Rehearse peaceful thoughts. Exercise peaceful choices. Make a proactive decision to choose peaceful responses in the midst of volatile and conflicted situations and relationships. If not you, then who?

    2) Empathy is a critical component in the practice of peace. It is not to be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is two-dimensional, it offers soothing platitudes to the one who is suffering while allowing the one offering it to remain somewhat detached. Empathy means I let go of detachment and allow myself to feel what you feel. Your hurts become my hurts; your joys become my joys. Empathetic beings instinctively practice peace since peaceful action generates peaceful energy infusing those around them with peace, which, in turn, reenergizes them. Practicing empathy creates a peaceful and positive energy feedback cycle.

    3) Acceptance is a key to practicing peace. Accepting does not mean agreeing or condoning dysfunction. It means releasing the expectation of how things should be and acknowledging them as they are. Accepting things as they are also means identifying root causes and conditions while letting go of associating blame or fault. Acceptance opens the way to practicing peace because it allows peaceful action and choice in the here and now.

    4) Compassion goes hand in hand with empathy. Compassion establishes the framework for empathetic and peaceful action. Empathy enables us to feel what others feel; compassion compels us to take positive and constructive action. Empathy stopped the Good Samaritan when he encountered the bruised and bloody man on the road. Compassion is the thing that enabled him to set aside his agenda, get himself dirty, expend his own efforts, and use his resources to see to the care of a stranger. The practice of peace requires compassion for those we are familiar with and for those we are not.

    5) Esteem is the essence of peaceful action. The people, principles, and things we hold in high regard are what we value. If we value peace, then we hold it in esteem. We show respect to peace by showing esteem and respect toward all people we encounter – especially the ones who may trigger our least peaceful thoughts and emotions. Esteeming all persons equally enables peaceful action.

    1 Corinthians 13 New Century Version (NCV)
    13 I may speak in different languages[a] of people or even angels. But if I do not have

      peace

     

    , I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal. 2 I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have

      peace

     

    , then I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything I have, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned.[b] But I gain nothing if I do not have

      peace

     

    .

    4

      peace

     

    is patient and kind.

      Peace

     

    is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 5

      Peace

     

    is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others.

      Peace

     

    does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6

      Peace

     

    takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. 7

      Peace

     

    patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.

    What are you doing to practice peace?

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