Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists
and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Play music, memorize the words for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
as the outbreath of beauty or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious:
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
No matter who you are voting for tomorrow (or perhaps like me you have already cast your ballot), there is much fear and anxiety in the air. I invite you on this coming election day to wage peace for a few hours. Instead of sitting anxiously awaiting the final results, let your breath transform the world around you (and I say this as much to remind myself as to invite you).
I keep politics out of my blog because that is not its purpose, even though in the rest of my life I have pretty strong political opinions. I do know the next day matters tremendously for our sense of hope and unity as a collective body. I pray that whoever is elected, that those on the margins are seen and responded to, those who are suffering are cared for.
In the meantime, contribute your own act of compassion and peace. Meditate with the poem above, allowing its words to be knit into your bones. Go for a long walk spreading seeds of beauty on every corner. Hold a loved one and press your body close, listening for the heartbeat of love. Sing a song that makes you cry at its tenderness. Visit Bell of Kindness and submit your name and email to receive a lovely meditation on peace from the even more lovely Trish.
Remember that each of these acts matters, truly. Remember that you are the center of peace in the world, each and every one of you.
-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts
PS — and don't forget to actually vote, that matters a great deal too!
(the image is of my favorite angel)