Peacemaker Ponderings

“No!” Is a Very Useful Word, But, It’s Not a Peace Word!”

Work on this blog post has gone on for weeks. It’s taken me that long to move from rant to Peace-blog — which is the purpose of my writing. What started the rant? The overuse of the word NO! in public and private discourse, often shouted. Ai, yai, yai! 

Oh, I could go on, but it’s exhausting. And you know what else it is? Immature. This is not, as they say, “adulting.” These are the very important expressions of toddlers. This is differentiating. Me. Me, Me, Me! This is a toddler learning boundaries: I’m me. This is mine. I can do this (myself)! As parent, caregiver, and friend, these phrases feel incredibly personal — and very frustrating, however, they are simply moments of discovering the edges of the toddler’s reach, a stage of exerting independence by testing: “No, I’m not going to bed.” “My toy!”

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Making Joy Your Daily Practice

“We encourage you to make the most of this moment,
for it is only in this moment that joy is able to exist.”
The Guides

For quite a while now, I have known two wonderful men who carry messages from Spirit Guides. Every week, I receive an email from them called Wisdom Wednesday.  The quote above is what the guides imparted recently. Tom Workman and AJ Cavenaugh, who are the “listeners”, clarified it this way: “Joy lives only in the now.” If you want to know more about what the Guides have to say when speaking with Tom and AJ, find them at Speaking From Source. Tell them I sent you. 

When was that last time you remember experiencing Unadulterated Joy? It happened to me today when I was preparing and then consuming a tomato sandwich. I’d made the herbed mayonnaise a few days ago. The salt and pepper stand always at the ready. The olive oil bread was a happy co-conspirator… slice bread, spread mayo, thickly slice a heirloom tomato, pile as much tomato on each bread slice as I can, salt and pepper… and ahhhh. Unadulterated Joy. 

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The Endless Work of Becoming (and “Un”becoming!)

Hopefully, as we age, we continue to work to improve ourselves. We understand that we are not one-and-done, but rather we step-by-step our way into healthier, saner, kinder versions of our younger selves. Becoming a Peacemaker is the work of my sixth and seventh decades. 

It’s interesting to me that at the same time we are “un”becoming. Aging “offers” its input here. Physically, I am “un”becoming the person I was when I was younger: I am more fragile, less flexible, and less fleet of foot. I have aches and an occasional pain. My physical skin is thinner and more spotted. (My metaphorical skin is actually much thicker with age, Hallelujah!) If I am interested in becoming older, I therefore must work at becoming physically stronger. Emotionally, I am “un”becoming quite as worried as I was as a younger woman about what others think about me. As a woman possessing her wits, her wisdom, and with a goodly few number of years under my belt, I am dying my hair purple and wearing red glasses that are a perfect compliment to my many black dresses and suit me to a T. (tip o’ the hat to Jenny Joseph whose poem was originally named “Warning!”). Mentally, I am “un”becoming bothered by the shoulds and musts and instead making connections with desires I never allowed myself in my youth. Witness: my Peacemaker’s Tarot for the 21st Century. Talk about things that have never been put in the same sentence, let alone title before!

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“Peace, Peace, When there is no Peace!”*

A friend of mine works as a chaplain at a hospital in another river valley not that far from ours. She forwarded a heart-breaking blog post to me (, that concerned the racism a young, male Emergency doctor encountered in his residency there. It was, pointed, blatant and horrifying and the institution has not yet figured out how to acknowledge, let alone address, their issues. 

In the meantime, they have lost a fine young doctor; forced him to work under hostile conditions — or lose his years of work in this school; shown themselves to be unwilling to foster the talents of all their students. All of this, in a time when there are already shortages of doctors. 

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Peace Is a Returning, a Trying Again.

As I’ve mentioned before: in Hebrew the word for sin means missing the mark. This is becoming a crucial, central concept in my understanding of building a world of Peace.

We’ve all missed the mark. The response to that is to analyze how that happened, what actions might bring you closer to the mark and try again — remembering of course that you might need to include an apology if someone has been wounded by your actions. 

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Let Us Fill ourselves with Possibilities of Peace!

There are so many words that define Peace. One of the things I’ve been pointing to throughout this series, is that Peace is a collage… maybe even a heady, glorious kaleidoscope of things.

We are so used to working within the parameters of the practical and the permitted. In contrast to this, Possibilities are endless. Let’s grant ourselves the permission to explore the many positive possibilities of Peace.

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Peace And Community

While we all strive to find our balance and our personal Peace, Peace, writ large, is a communal activity. This happens in (at least) two ways.

First, we live and work in communities. Those communities thrive when their citizens actively work for Peace in their hometowns and workplaces. We are constantly invited to sign up and participate and continuously seek Peaceful solutions to the issues at hand. This is daily living for a Peacemaker and its importance is not to be underestimated.

Peacemaking, however, is more than that. A second way of Peace is extending our hands in invitation and welcome and creating a Peace community, that may be part of where we work and live, but may also be so much bigger than that. The invitation to join in the work of Peace is an acknowledgement to move beyond the superficial to pursuing knowledge and understanding about one another. 

I recently heard someone say that it’s time to move beyond the Golden Rule, where we treat everyone as we wish to be treated, which is a laudable thing as far as it goes. The Platinum rule invites us to treat everyone as they wish to be treated. This is Peacemaking. It requires me to get to know you, and you to get to know me, so that we can begin to offer each other true welcome and a sense of belonging in the work of Peace. It’s a bit earthshaking, isn’t it? This rule doesn’t offer tolerance, it opens its arms and embraces and accepts. Wow. This is my goal for proclaiming myself a Peacemaker.

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Peace Is Its Own Balancing Act

How often do you get so wrapped up in that one thing you are doing that there is no time for anything else?

It happens to me, and to be honest, it could be something really important to me, like writing about Peace, or considering it, or reading about it.

Sometimes our focus on one thing or one person leaves us out of balance. I have to work at balance. I have to work at that hour by hour, day by day, and week by week. If I do, then it’s likely that month to month, season to season and year to year that I will find steady footing in my life Journey that I’m coming to know as Peace.

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Playing for Peace

Before we look at why we don’t play, let’s look at why we should…

In children, play is essential for developing social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills. These days, we find an emphasis on structured play as opposed to simple send the kid out the door play, believing that’s how we keep their brains growing. But rather than a waste of time or just a fun distraction, play is a time when your child is often learning the most. Sometimes, however, play is simply Joy. The sweetest ending of a day of play comes supper with a family, a bath, a couple books and a good night’s sleep. Any of you who had that opportunity, knew that time as Peace.

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Slow Down, We Move too Fast Now

The story goes that in agricultural times and even in times before industrialization. We lived slower lives. Yes, we might have worked from dusk to dawn during growing seasons, but there were whole periods of time when we could rest, and spend time with friends and family. Without as many distractions, stories were a way to pass time and pass along culture and history. Slow times leave spaces in between. That space is Peace.

And chores were often communal. Women put up food together and made candles, clothes, and baskets. Men gathered in crops and raised barns. Children herded the grazing animals to their seasonal grazing lands. Repairs were often shared. Again, stories were shared. Traveling laborers, such as spinsters (yes, that’s where that word came from) visited one farm after another, plying their trade for cash and bringing along tales from other places. The Peace of others became our Peace as the yarn and the stories were spun and we were woven into the stories.

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