Tag Archives: Peace

Wishcasting Wednesday

from Jamie’s post

What Peace Do You Wish For?

The peace of accepting, loving, being who I am. No more pushing or improving or rejecting or denying or hiding or smashing myself to bits, but rather radical self-acceptance as Tara Brach describes it, “the willingness to experience ourselves and our lives as it is.”

To have the peace of confidence the way Susan Piver describes it, “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.”

The peace of knowing, as Patti Digh describes at the end of this video conversation with Susan Piver, that what I once thought of as my brokenness is actually my superpower.

The peace of my innate worth, my fundamental nature as Pema Chödrön describes it,

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.

The peaceful awareness that I am meant to shine, as Marianne Williamson explains,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I wish for the peace of showing up as I am with my heart open, even when it’s hard and it hurts, the contentment and clarity of embodying the openness, intelligence, and warmth that is my basic nature. While I wish this for myself, know that it would bring peace to my heart and to my life, I also wish it for others, so that this peace would manifest in the world, that our comfort and courage, our collective awareness and mindfulness, would ease suffering in the world.

One of my favorite hymns in church as a kid had these lyrics, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” This is my wish.

Day of Rest

Growing up, I attended a Catholic church. At a certain point in the mass, the priest would direct the congregation to offer each other “the sign of peace.” This meant turning to the people near you, one by one, and depending on how well you knew them, giving them a hug or shaking their hand and saying “Peace be with you.”

At my Sunday morning yoga class, my teacher ends with this: “Om Shanti, Shanti Om. May there be peace in your hearts, peace in your lives, and peace in the world.”

All of us, every mortal being wants the same thing: to be safe and happy, to have peace. Today, on this day of rest, it is what I am wishing for all of us.

Peace be with you, kind and gentle reader.
May there be peace in your heart, peace in your life, and peace in the world.

An Ode to the Backyard

the sky over my backyard

This post is Judy Clement Wall’s fault. A little over a week ago, on her Zebra Sounds blog, she wrote a post that was an ode to hiking. In a related post a few days later on her A Human Thing blog, she wrote about places of solace, and asked readers to share theirs in the comments. This led to a conversation between Judy and I in the comment thread about my love for the backyard, where I said “someone should write an ode to the backyard” and she replied “you should.”

Okay.

sam and dex in the backyard

An Ode to the Backyard

My whole life, from the very first house I remember living in (we moved there when I was still a baby), the backyard has been a place of solace. I find comfort and relief there, safety and peace. Almost everywhere I have ever lived, the backyard has been my favorite spot.

According to me, a good yard needs four things:

  • Lots of green stuff, (bushes and trees and grass and fruits and vegetables and flowers and at least one Lilac)
  • A privacy fence
  • Chairs and a good mix of sun/shade for sitting
  • Dogs

obi (oh how I miss that boy) and dexter in the backyard

The first yard I remember was magic. We lived in a small house (by today’s standards, but the same size as the one I live in now) with a huge yard, almost a full acre. In fact, the yard was so big that when my mom and dad sold that house over twenty years later, they sold the “garden” as a separate lot and someone built a house on it.

I remember a huge cherry tree, plums, lilacs, a weeping willow, maples, birch, pine and fir, and a hazelnut. When I was in the second grade, a forester visited our class and gave us all Douglas Fir seedlings. I planted mine in the corner of our yard, years later buried my hamster underneath it (apparently my second hamster, my dad informed me a few years ago–the first one had died and he’d replaced it because he knew I’d be upset). The last time I saw that tree, it had grown to over 25 feet tall, and made me feel small, old and so young all at the same time.

I remember pink roses, purple irises, tiger lilies, bluebells, and in the garden raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. There was a long slopped hill that we attempted to sled on when it snowed (which wasn’t often or much where we were in Oregon), and a long, wide field of grass below that saw many a football and baseball game. Our patio was a big enough stretch of concrete for both a basketball hoop and rollerskating. There was a family of Quail that lived in our backyard, came back year after year to have their babies, protected from the neighborhood cats by my dad. Quail babies are still one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in my life, running in a line behind their Mama.

I remember my favorite spot, under the biggest maple tree. I would take a book and my green blanket and sit for hours under that tree. When I looked up, this is what I saw:

it was magic, it was medicine

Over the years, Eric and I have shared a few backyards, (we moved 12 times in the first 10 years we were married).

our very first backyard

this one was so small, I “mowed the lawn” with a pair of grass clippers

The backyard we have now, at the house we’ve lived in for 12 years, where all of our dogs have lived, is one of my favorites. When we were looking, we kept telling our realtor how important the yard was to us, that we planned on getting dogs, that it was in fact the whole reason we were looking for a new place (our condo had a patio but no real yard), but I don’t think she really believed us until we picked the one we would buy. She kept showing us nicer houses with little to no yard. When we picked this one, she said “I guess you were really serious about the yard being more important.”

obi at six months old, the first boy to enjoy our yard. i’d give just about anything to see him back there again…

the current residents, “helping” the mom garden

why the backyard needs grass

We live just a block away from an elementary school, so during the day, while they are at recess, our backyard fills with the sound of kids playing.

Because our neighborhood was built in the early 60s, there are lots of mature trees. In the early morning, this time of year, the sky is filled with bird song.

the view from my chair

succulent garden on the back step

There’s a Jeb Loy Nichols song called “Heaven Right Here” that is its own ode to the backyard.

So I’ll just take my time
And relax my mind
So I’ll stop – slow down
Watch the sun go down

Come on over to my yard
Sit around and let your troubles all disappear
Come on over to my yard
‘Cause right now heaven’s right here

raised beds, lilacs along the fence, a gifted garden of flowers, and a chipmunk we adopted after he was abandoned by the previous owners

sweet boy tomato plant

Maybe it’s because there is farming in my blood, encoded in my DNA, that makes me want to pick, plant, dig, and tend the earth, and this gives me a place to do so.

Maybe it’s because I love dogs and they love being in the yard, playing and lounging, rolling in the grass and chasing squirrels and barking and peeing on stuff.

Maybe it’s because I love to read and it’s a quiet, comfortable place to do so.

Maybe it’s because I am an introvert who loves solitude, being alone, but also loves nature, would rather be outside and barefoot.

Whatever the reason(s), I love a good backyard. It’s a place to retreat, to rest and relax, to read, to play, to listen, to be calm and still and quiet. It is my place of solace, magic, medicine, a living meditation on the preciousness of life.