Peace Can Be Fun!

Yes!  Peace can be fun — and is fun at Peace Village!

In our last post, “What’s the Name of Your Village?” I shared with you many of the classes and activities the campers engaged in throughout the week.  From meditation to walking the labyrinth, from learning about nature and nutrition, to experiencing the wonders of Mother Earth.  All the while, having fun in a relaxing, loving, and peaceful environment.

Here, see for yourself….

Peace Village is surrounded by these majestic mountains:

 

Classes were held both indoors and outdoors:

Peace Village Co-Directors:

Co-Directors Susan Finch (left) and Kaylah Glasgow (right)
Thank you BOTH for all of your heart and soul.

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I met Barbara last summer and we instantly became fast friends.
Thanks to her generosity, Peace Village has been held at her High Mesa Healing Center for the past nine years.

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As I’ve said on numerous occasions, I believe we, as humans, seek Peace more than anything else.  That’s right.  More than love.  More than happiness.  I believe we seek Peace.

Thank you, TLT readers, for accompanying me on this journey.  As a lasting reminder, as we depart Peace Village this week, please join me in reading the words on the “exit sign” of the High Mesa Healing Center:

 

Yes.

Go

In

Peace

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Love,

Leslie

 

What’s the Name of Your Village?

I hear a lot of talk about Tribes and Villages.  They seem to be the new words/concepts for how we used to say, “My peeps.”  Regardless of the vernacular we use, we know when we’re among them.  These are the people who See us.  Because they want to see us, but also because we allow ourselves to be seen by them.  We breathe a little bit easier when among our tribe.

[Aside prayer:  I pray that one day I will be comfortable enough in my own skin to breathe easily no matter who I’m with or what the circumstance may be.  And so it is.  Amen.]

Back to our village.  This week I am here.  I am among such people.  And this place has a name — it’s very appropriately called:  Peace Village.

As I mentioned in the previous TLT post, “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is… I Did,” I’m spending this week at a camp in New Mexico, sharing lessons on Trust with kids ranging in age from 7-13.

Peace Village is a national organization which holds camps, as well as after school programs and adult workshops, all focusing on non-violence.  These programs are located in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.  Several of these states have more than one city where Peace Village is offered (Oregon with many locations) and there’s even one site in Haiti.

From the About page of their website, you will read that their “programs host teachers and students from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Native American backgrounds.  They offer students a comprehensive view of the messages and practice of peace from a variety of world traditions, both spiritual and secular.”

The particular Peace Village I’m attending is the only one held outdoors.  It’s located on the beautiful grounds of the High Mesa Healing Center in Alto, New Mexico.  Being surrounded by nature adds an element of peace which would be difficult to replicate within a church or university setting, which is where other Peace Villages are held.

Entrance to Peace Village. Alto, New Mexico

 

What a blessing it is to be here.  To share such an experience and loving energy with all you come in contact with is the epitome of a blessing.

And whether the kids connect the dots now or connect them later in life, they are also receiving a true blessing.  Their parents chose to enroll them in a camp that feeds their Spirit.  Each day they begin in meditation, then attend classes on topics such as:

  • nutrition
  • caring for Mother Earth
  • learning about the Circle of Life
  • nature and fire prevention (Remember the recent fires in New Mexico?  This was not a news story for many of theses kids, it was their life.)

 

The campers engage in the powerful, centering act of Walking a Labyrinth.  They learn the 3 R’s:

  • Release any stress, negative thoughts, emotions, or feelings as you enter and walk to the center
  • Receive blessings, love, and all Life has to offer
  • Return back the way you entered, with a sense of balance and peace

 

 

 

As these campers are guided through the wonders of Life, may they feel inner peace.  TLT readers, may you find your inner peace, as well as your tribe, your village — your peeps who See you.  And may you allow yourself to be seen for the beautiful creation you are.

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Love,

Leslie

How To Stop Feeling Annoyed

Oh, How This Synchronicity Wowed Me!

Do you ever have days when you just feel IRRITATED — BY — EVERYTHING?  Like everyone on the planet is conspiring to annoy you?

You go, sit with your cuppa tea, dog at your feet, and breathe.  (Not that this is me I’m writing about — heavens no!)

But the cuppa doesn’t help.  The breathing doesn’t help.  Okay, stroking the dog gently with my foot does help….  So I stroke some more.  I feel her warmth.  Her peace.  I rest my foot lightly on her torso, observing the rise and fall with each inhale and exhale.  Before I know it, my breath is aligned with hers.  I shut my eyes and smile.

Grateful.  Grateful.

Except, I never got to the bottom of the annoying feeling.  There was no pinpointing as to why it was there.  My guess is that some therapist would tell me the feeling would come back shortly because I didn’t identify the root cause and address it.

Perhaps.

Probably.

But what if life doesn’t have to be that complicated?  What if I’m simply dehydrated?  Or hormonal?  Or had poor sleep last night?  Or my ponytail is too tight and I just haven’t realized it yet?

Stroking the dog, aligning my breathing, those things help to calm my Being and put me in the right space to be grateful.

Pause….  At this point, I should tell you that the original title of this post was, “How to Self Soothe When You’re Feeling Irked.”  But I got here, to this point in writing, and noticed that my usual Grateful Practice wasn’t working.  So I continued to explore….

Taking it a step deeper.

Let’s say mere minutes after offering gratitude, your smile begins to fade, and annoyance sets back in.  You think, Damn, didn’t I just get rid of that?!

Hmm… this time you wonder, What’s at the root of this?  You remember a conversation with your spouse or the lack of conversation with a friend.  You recall a co-worker who not so gently gave you feedback (in your mind, code for criticized you).

If you’re anything like me, it’s typically not one event that causes this stir, but lots of little ones that have piled on top of each other, making the pinpointing even harder to identify.

Around this time, you look down on your desk and see this stone your mother-in-law gave you.  It sits to the left of your laptop as you work.

Yes, it has a nice, bright word on it, but more than the word, is the stone itself.  It shines so much it’s almost glossy.  Your brain itches with the trigger of the stone, the words shiny, glossy….

That’s it!  Polished!!

All at once your brain connected the dots and you remember Rumi’s words (because he’s one of your favorites!):

With the Laws of Synchronicity dancing around my head, here is the rest of my true story, unfolding real time.

Current Day & Time:  Tuesday morning, 6:06 AM (I’m writing this  post for tomorrow).

Reading Rumi’s quote, over and over, thinking how I’d like to conclude this post, I am struck by how the quote came to me, how the brain** works.

First, I was writing about feeling annoyed.  I thought gratitude had fixed it (it usually does).  Then the feeling reappeared.  I looked down and saw a stone.  Its shiny and glossy appearance reminded me of the word, “polished”.  Which triggered my brain to Rumi’s quote.  And with his words, there really isn’t much more to say.  That did it for me.  I don’t feel annoyed anymore.  I see.

(But I still need an ending to this post.  And a new title to go along with the shift I’ve taken.)

The peace I felt after reading Rumi’s words soothed me, reminding me in very simple words why we are sometimes irritated.  But how could I end my article like that?  Sure, those words did it for me (in this instance), but I’m here to share stories that I think will also help you.  And what if that just doesn’t cut it for you?

Feeling stuck, I distract myself by checking email.  Not because I want to, but because I feel drawn to.  (I rarely check my email when I’m in the middle of writing.)

I read the following comment from a reader, which was sent six minutes ago:

“Well that’s right on the mark, exactly what I needed today. I think I’ll go find a nice stone to put on my desk today. Love Nadia”

(Just to be clear, I’m writing this post, tomorrow’s post, in Pages, Apple’s version of Word;  this article has NOT been posted at the time I’m reading Nadia’s comment.)

You know that little feeling when your heart skips a beat?  Mine did that.

How did she know just minutes ago I wrote about a stone?  On my desk?!

And now she’s going to find a stone.  And put it on her desk.

While I was sorting out what had happened: that she was commenting on my most recent post about Stone Stepping, I couldn’t help but wonder:

Why had this synchronicity occurred?  She didn’t say rock, she said, “stone”.   She didn’t say she’d keep it on her vanity, in her car, or in her purse — she’d put it on her desk.  The wording and circumstances are much too EXACT for me to shrug them aside.

And I now see the bigger picture.

**It wasn’t my brain at work, as I formerly stated, it was something much, much larger.  It was how the Universe, how the Divine within each one of us “works,” that aligned all of these dots in order to teach me there’s something bigger than being annoyed or not being annoyed, and yes, that something is Trust.

Trust was the foundation holding everything together:  the stone, leading to Rumi, his words being the ones where I ‘got it’, Nadia’s comment mirroring back what I had just written — all reinforcing that without even making a conscious effort to Trust, I do, and therefore, Bam!  It all came together, annoying feeling gone, with the reinforcers of the Universe surrounding me.

At this point, I’ve gotta tell you, I’m laughing out loud as I type.  Can you imagine what an odd sensation this is to me?  To be writing and not know what words I’m going to type next?  To not follow tried and true writing techniques?  To ditch my subject, my title, and go with what the Universe is presenting to me real time instead?

And why would I ignore such a lesson, a blessing, a gift?

I wouldn’t.

I share this gift with you now:  Look, see, be aware, embrace.  Trust.

 

Thank you, Nadia, for sharing your comment and this gift with me.

And thank you, TLT readers, for sharing this post with others.  Lessons and gifts, man, I love this stuff!  Love, Leslie

Feeling Oneness

I was invited to participate in an event on Facebook from a group called Piercing the Darkness.  Here’s the description:

WORLDWIDE EVENT: It’s happening wherever YOU ARE AT!! January’s event is super easy: Leave a Note. On January 17th, take 30 seconds to write an encouraging note on a piece of paper. Leave it anonymously somewhere that someone who needs it can find it – and let destiny do the rest!

I like the idea of leaving a note for someone else to find, something that will be precisely what they need to read at precisely the right time… something that will speak to them on a soul level, perhaps even serve as an answered prayer or a blessing.  At the very least, it will put a smile on the finder’s face.

I know, because I was the fortunate recipient of such a note last year.

After leaving yoga class, I stopped off at the restroom.  While washing my hands, I glanced up at the mirror and read the following neon green post-it note:

“Above all, be true to Yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.”  operationbeautiful.com

My heart soared when I read it.  It felt as if I’d won a secret lottery.  There’s someone else out there who speaks MY language.  This message was meant for me!

At the time I hadn’t heard of Operation Beautiful.  I didn’t know this was something people did or how a year later I’d be invited to participate in such an event.  All I knew was someone had left a note especially for me.

It may seem like something small, but that one small gesture prompted me to stop and give thanks.  I gave thanks for the beautiful words, for the feeling of connectedness with another individual, someone I didn’t even know.  I gave thanks for the reminder, for the Truth it spoke.

I often write that we are not alone, not in our struggles nor in our joy;  there is always a higher force surrounding us.  With this act of kindness, I felt the warmth of that force.  In that moment, tossing intellect out the window, I felt on a visceral level, Oneness.