Peace, Love, Community

What does this holiday season bring to your mind?  While we may have a love/hate relationship with gift giving, for me the strongest contender for the most important thing about the holidays is being with others in community…the sharing of time and food with friends and family, the gifting to others who have been part of our lives this past year.

Recently I have been watching a BBC series called Candleford.  It’s set in the rural England in the late 1800’s when there was so much change in how their society functioned.  However, that just provides the plot of each episode, it is the human relationships that are the main players.  We, the viewers, love to see the conflict resolved.  We, the viewers, cry when the good ending doesn’t play out.  I think that human lives still revolve around our human relationships. We intersect and interrelate with different people throughout the year.  Sometimes those interactions make us feel good and sometimes not.  That is life.  We each are points of a matrix of a community.  We are always in exchange of energy in constant connection with others whether we mean to or plan to.  This matrix of interaction is integral to humanity’s thriving.

A friend of mine was once told that she would only impact one person in her lifetime, and she would never know who that person was.  What did that do for her?  It simply meant that everything she did could impact another in ways that she can’t know.  Each person that she interacted with had the possibility of being that one person.  It changed how she acted in the world with others.  Isn’t that the same for all of us?  How do we know when our kind word, or our courage or kindness is not just experienced by another but also viewed by many others? How does that experience or observation impact the one who experiences or views the act? We never know.  There was a great commercial last year in which this was acted out.  It showed the viewers that when we are treated well, we extend that good treatment to the next person that we meet.  Isn’t this what we each need in our lives?  Treating others as we wish to be treated.

My hope for you this holiday season is that you treat others as you wish to be treated and that others treat you as they would wish to be treated.  Doesn’t matter what gender, race, religion, or ethnic group they identify with.  It matters because we are all human and as such are part of one human soul, interconnected in a magnificent matrix of life.  How we choose to live each day impacts our life and the lives of others whether they are family, friends, neighbors, store clerks, or strangers, rich, poor or homeless.  Let’s all remember this as we choose how we act with others this holiday season.

Diwali has passed in mid- November.  Hannukah has just begun.  Winter Solstice, Christmas and Kwanza are yet to be celebrated. In all these celebrations, our hearts are rich with friendship, shared food, and ritual.  One ritual that I love to lead at my Winter Solstice parties is the Blessing Circle.  In the first round, each person says what they are grateful for in the past year.  In the second round, each person shares a blessing for the person next to them.  These blessings are for people they know as well as for someone they don’t know. These blessings are always beautiful, shared from heart to heart.  It’s a lovely way to end a party celebrating the new year of life coming into our community and our world.

I recently read an article in  the Sun Magazine(Nov 2021)about an interview of Paul K.Chappelle, a peace literacy teacher.  He points out that we don’t teach peace in schools and that being peaceful is one of our most needed capacities in this modern world.  Chappelle went to West Point and served in Iraq.  His early life and his work in the military led him to create the Peace Literacy Institute. He notes that our personal and ancestral lineages all carry different traumas and that these traumas impact how we act with others. He calls it trauma tangling.  He suggests that one way to untangle the impact of past trauma is to become peace literate. These past traumas of our personal lives and our ancestral lineages are automatic ways of acting and thinking. These patterns get in the way of our learning how to live peacefully, to think differently and to stand in our strength as peaceful Beings.  The Creation Exercises of the Language of Creation are a great tool for this process.  Their structure supports the writer in shifting their automatic thinking in trauma patterns to thinking of only that which is life-enhancing, life-generating for them.  My holiday wish is that we all listen more to peace than war, to note what we are present to in our life, to open up more to others and to that which is rising and to stand for peace, love and community.

In the coming year, we all usually make resolutions to be and do better.  Let’s take a step in the New Year to be more of whom we came here to be; more of our unique and essential selves; more loving to ourselves and others; and braver to stand when the rights of the individual or the whole are being violated. We must stand for our highest values.  We must listen to what is being said and done and stand on the side of the greater good for humanity and the earth.  That would be the best resolution of all.

May your holidays be filled with loving exchanges and may your new year be filled with all the being and doing that your Soul is aching for you to manifest in the world.