Making the Connections that Make Hearts Sing

I cannot be at Peace when I am unconnected. We live on a planet, indeed, in a Universe that is connected. Gravity. Symbiosis. Love. Yearning. Friendship. Seasons. Ideas. Values. All of these forces and feelings exist in connection with one another.

To be alive is to be connected. When we break those connections — or try to disconnect from these powerful forces — we lose our strength and wisdom.

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Values Make Us Who We Are

Asked us what our deepest values are, we’re probably quick to reply. Everything we mention will be meaningful and valuable to us and to the world.

But here’s the question. When you look at your life, at the way you go through your daily endeavors, how much are those values represented in your experience? Could your best friend or a colleague readily identify your values based on their observations of your actions? What about someone who doesn’t know you well, like wait staff or service people? Based on your interactions with them, what values might they say you live out?

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Your Beliefs: Where Your Heart Rests

At some point in your very young life, you believed in something wholeheartedly. It might have been your parents, the Divine, Santa Claus, Fairies, Trees, or Magic. Probably it was a heady elixir of all those things.

Hopefully you learned as you grew that they perhaps were not as omnipotent as you had thought… at that point, you began seeking other places your heart might be safe. All too often, someone takes it upon themselves to let us know that one or many of these entities were, shall we say, not as powerful as we had hoped.

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Living a Peacemaker’s Life

Becoming a Peacemaker is an honorable goal. As with every goal, there’s quite a bit of work to be done before you are really living into Peacemaking. (Keep reading! It gets more encouraging!) You don’t have to have completed all the work before beginning your Peacemaking — but it’s a good idea to engage with all of the components I detail below so that your style of Peacemaking becomes a natural expression of who you are.

Each of us finds our own way into Peacemaking. Writing about Peace set me on the Peacepath. As many of you may know, I have been writing daily musings for 12 years now. If you’d like to sign up, you can do so here. Since October, I’ve also been reading them on TikTok, so if you’d rather listen, find me there at Tiktok/annkeelerevans. My current musings explore what comprises a Peacemaker’s life. They are reflective exercises on principles and values – the components I consider central to Peacemaking. I now have a list of fifteen components which are detailed below. They are mostly in the order I think makes sense to consider, but you may find you’ll want to reflect on them in the order that is most meaningful for your Peacemaking.

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Community Tending is Peacemaking

The number of fatalities in the wake of Hurricane Ian are still climbing as the clean-up continues. What is clear is that most of the deceased are elderly. As a woman who has suddenly found herself in that age cohort, it gives me pause. 

As always, I have questions. Why? Were they slow to heed warnings? Were the warnings mostly on technologies that aren’t part of the lives of most seniors? Did they not take warnings seriously? Was there no place to go — or no way to get to safety? Do we become rigid in our age, and think we’re invincible and we know better, even as we become physically frailer, and often, and, this hurts, are we not thinking clearly? And then there’s that other question… Where are the family and community connections that involve people in preparation and decision-making, that help everyone get to safety?

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In Our Hands

Peacemaking isn’t a trickle-down activity. It requires believing in possibility and living into it. And sometimes it just depends upon our taking matters into our own hands.

As I was reading about hurricane Ian clean-up today, I read about two guys who spent the day before the hurricane hit picking up more than 350 pounds of trash on the beach — trash like lobster traps and other things that can do a great deal of damage blowing about inland. (I’m not sure where I read this and haven’t found it again, sorry.) A father and son joined them and they piled up the trash which was then picked up for disposal by their city. These two men have been plucking trash from beaches for years. One has promised to do it as long as he is able. In particular he works to clean up mangrove swamps because these trees do so much to sustain the environment.

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Why I got here from there!

Welcome Fellow Peacemakers!

I love talking about what I believe Peace means, but you deserve to know why it matters to me personally. Partially because I care about you and partially because I believe that telling our stories helps others envision their own ways in. My story is one filled with privilege, joy, and a lot of challenge. I had a wonderful family and childhood. In those times, I grew a trusting and reaching heart.

I grew up in a faith tradition that was healthy and formative for me. I was always a child who worried about fairness — since no one had taught me about equity — and I grew into an adult who continued to pay attention to what worked and what didn’t in societies. I traveled a bit and I began to understand how other communities made sense of things and built deeper relationships. As a young adult I lived in New York City and wept as AIDS ravaged my community of friends and despaired of the world’s response. That deepened my understanding and commitment to acting on my deepest values. Although I have left my faith tradition of origin, I am still seeking the beliefs that support my soul. My journey enabled me to see the places where things worked and didn’t for different groups of people.

I married a complicated and larger-than-life man. One of the great gifts of our marriage were his two amazing daughters and their families. Both my grandchildren are a quarter Chinese. My niece married a man from Kenya, her children are mixed race. A picture of a dear friend from college with her beautiful, bouncing, black baby boys in fuzzy slippers jarred me into action. I read and took workshops in racism and other isms. I was challenged, and I accepted the challenge to become an activist for the work of a Just world.

Today, I’m a Priestess and Peacemaker. I’m a different kind of activist — one that is perhaps not what most understand as activist, but one fiercely committed to change for the better. I’m a thealogian (which is to say, I find my deepest meaning in relationship with the Divine Feminine.). There will be more about what Peacemaking means to me in a later blog. However, in my Peacemaking is both the obligation and the privilege to care for and about the world, critters, creatures, planet, and all. Another crucial component of this is deepening and celebrating my relationship with my own health, well-being and joy. What is your story that leads to your deepest values?

Peace, Shalom, Salaam. Blessed be.