Tag Archives: Peace

Morning Messengers

Carol A. Hand

She who is born to seek peace
will live through times of conflict
She who seeks light
will walk through dark nights of the spirit
She who seeks to live love and compassion
will sometimes be surrounded by
hatred and cruelty to test her earnestness
And she who seeks to live joy
will know the depth of aloneness and doubt
and the wrenching sorrow of witnessing suffering
she cannot heal

But one morning after 70 winters
she understands why it is so
as she gazes up at the morning sky
in mid-November before another winter
watching the last leaves fall
twirling, floating, and dancing
in the wind as they return to source

Leafless Willow – November 15, 2017

A little grey squirrel quietly joins her
and sits at her feet gazing up at her face
unafraid for the briefest of instants
Somehow the paradoxical journey
to this moment suddenly makes sense
But the moment passes
signaling the need to return
to a different paradoxical constructed reality

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Juxtaposed

Carol A. Hand

Watching the last leaves in the cottonwood trees

fluttering as they cling to branches in the breeze

then swirling and floating as they reluctantly release

landing on the earth with crispy whispers, at peace

blanketing both city’s pavement and sacred ground

Sunday morning traffic’s whir the only other sound

Nature’s gifts visible despite an otherwise bleak landscape

***

Sunday Morning View – October 29, 2017

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Simply Present

Carol A. Hand

Taking moments to simply breathe and observe

Another morning shrouded by clouds and mist

Misty September Morning – 2017

A drive to work fraught with potentially dangerous obstacles
that could easily trigger feelings of anger or fear
but choosing instead to marvel at nature
admiring the scarlet and green maple near
nestled amid towering sun-scented pine

Energized once again by the creativity and excitement
of students eager to explore life’s challenges and mysteries

Coming home from an evening walk with my dog
through the fog and drizzle at dusk, his pace increasingly brusque
called forward by lights glowing within our humble hobbit dwelling
illuminating an overgrown fairytale garden as we approach
somewhat out of time and of place, yet compelling
amid stuff-filled lawns on either side that continue to encroach

Drizzly September Dusk 2017

Gazing up at the darkening southwestern sky
As the waxing September moon momentarily appears
sharing its reflected light with all as night draws nigh

September Moon – 2017

Life’s simple blessings

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In The Moment

Carol A. Hand

Being in the moment for a moment
Simply observing
as a busy ladybug climbs a blade of grass

I smile as the grass bends to the ground
Undeterred, she climbs another
When it remains upright she flies off
finding another blade that bends to her will

A father and son come into view
talking excitedly as they pass by
on their way to the playground
enjoying the moment
on this rare sunny afternoon

The ladybug, undisturbed
continues to explore and experiment
but it’s time for me to leave her
and return to a different reality

***

Microsoft WORD Clip Art

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Reflections about Then and Now

Carol A. Hand

Let me take just a moment
to put aside the chaos of the world
seeping into my soul

Remembering
a recurring childhood dream
soaring above the earth
simply watching
with compassionate detachment
as people went about their busy lives

Remembering
my safe wooded place
sitting beneath a large maple
on a soft mossy knoll
by a little brook
sunlight and shadows shifting
joining my voice in song
with rustling leaves and birds
in harmony with the water
brushing over and around stones
in the small singing stream
wondering how many years
it would take for the rocks
to dissolve into rich soil

Breathing in
feeling the presence of peace and light
and sending out gratitude
for the beauty and wonder of life
then and now
even during days that seem darker

***

Lake Superior Shore – 2017

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August Reflections 2017

Carol A. Hand

August has been busy. Preparing to teach a research class, tending gardens, spending time with grandchildren and family, and taking time to simply live and reflect have kept me away from the blogosphere. Although my life will continue to be busy until the first freeze and beyond, I will try to stop by periodically to visit your blogs and share when I can. Your art and thoughts are thought-provoking and inspiring. Today, I’m sharing a few simple reflections recently penned as I send my best wishes to all.

Would-Be Dreamcatchers
August 9 2017

My heart is heavy as I think about my Native friends in Montana
Their incredible gifts and future visions palpable
They voiced so many hopeful possibilities
for the community health organization they guided
Valiantly, we faced daunting challenges
each carrying a compelling blueprint of what could be
We worked and laughed and cried together
as we overcame one obstacle after another
to help reweave an inclusive healthy community

***

Dreamcatchers – allowing only good dreams to survive and pass through to sleeping children

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In the end, I had to leave for my own survival
before our task was completed
Vultures descended and shredded our dreams
Over the years I have learned of my friends’ struggles
against political adversaries and serious health issues
I wonder if I helped make their lives more difficult
by inspiring hope, by believing their strengths
and visions would be enough to overcome resistance…

And what of the people I refer to as vultures?
Perhaps they’re unaware that their actions
as agents in status quo structures of oppression
appear to motivated by protecting their positions
at any cost, destroying lives and what could be
Their actions limiting healthier possibilities for all in the process
Perhaps I will never understand why
this was the path they chose
and where it will finally lead them

Yet, I still mourn possibilities lost

It makes me wonder if it’s wiser and more compassionate
to simply find and live my own truths
though the suffering in the world remains unabated
weighing heavy on my heart…

Sufi Poet, Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, offers an insight I continue to ponder:

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Today, I also send prayers for the safety of my friends and all others in Montana as the Lolo Peak fire rages so close to their homes.

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Reflections about Shifting Light and Shadow
August 12, 2017

gazing close at hand
watching light and shadow
move across the land

August morning

revealing a constant in my life
one moment knowing peace and joy
the next difficulty and strife

often shadows bring gifts despite our sorrow
sometimes unanticipated miracles appear if we’re patient
to reignite our gratitude upon the morrow

A Hollyhock Surprise – I’m not sure how it grew here

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Just Here Now
August 19, 2017

so grateful for the peace and love in this “now”
a brief quiet moment as the day begins
sunlight filtered by leaves of rain-nourished trees
and muted by unopened window blinds
a little dog resting, curled beneath the bird’s cage
a parakeet silent and still beneath his protective night cover
dog and bird both patiently waiting for music to begin
so they can join their voices in song
greeting the peaceful morning
illuminating our shared place in the world

Queenie and Pinto

***

peace – a privilege so many are denied
sending blessings to all who are suffering

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Gratitude for Gardens and Granddaughters

Carol A. Hand

Sometimes, one doesn’t have to travel far

to observe serenity and beauty with beloved companions

Neighborhood Garden – July 3, 2017

Even in the context of critters, city “upgrades,” and unpredictable weather

City “Upgrades” on a Drizzly Day – July 12, 2017

sometimes there are possibilities to create little sanctuaries

Gardens in the Rain – July 12, 2017
Sanctuary at Sunset – July 16, 2017

to enjoy a simple life and share love and laughter

Enjoying the Sunshine – July 16, 2017

weaving deeper appreciation for things that matter

knowing that these precious moments will pass

with the ever-changing seasons of our lives

***

Joni Mitchell – Circle Game

Looking Up

Carol A. Hand

Looking up
Watching the eagles gliding high above treetops
in the hazy cloudless sky
on this Sunday morning
the beginning of July

Enjoy peaceful moments while you can
before fireworks signal warning
“The rockets’ red glare, bombs bursting in air”
don’t symbolize “freedom,” but reasons for mourning
the never-ending costs of war

Crouching Child by Carol A. Hand

War – I do not cower as a child anymore

Carol A. Hand – photo by Jnana Hand

Peace – I look up and stand steadfast, an elder
My spirit one with soaring eagles
knowing no matter what comes
I’m not standing alone

peace.

it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble
or hard work. It means to be in
the midst of those things and still
be calm in your heart.
(unknown)

 

Reflections about Invented Traditions

Carol A. Hand

All of the sacred lifeways of the past

that we now revere as traditions

were once newly created, seen as divine messages

passed on through seers and bodhisattvas

around the world throughout human time

Visions were given meaning and substance

from so many different cultural vantage points –

stories passed down from generation to generation,

recorded on stone tablets and sacred birchbark scrolls,

and in bibles, constitutions, and scientific texts

 

That doesn’t mean the messages are untrue

It simply reminds us that all traditions

should be continually re-examined

in the critical light of changing contexts and times

What we believe to be cast in stone may no longer serve us

Perhaps it’s time to make adjustments

or invent new ways to socially construct

different, peaceful, inclusive possibilities

instead of simply continuing to repeat

the divisive, oppressive, violent ways

we mindlessly use old traditions to justify

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Dandelion Field – May 23, 2017

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A simple but relevant question to ponder:

Why are dandelion fields less valued than well-manicured grass lawns and flowerbeds?

Notes:

The question of traditions is something I am revisiting as I edit my book manuscript and reflect on old family dynamics that keep repeating. Two helpful resources are listed below if you are interested in scholarly discourse on the topics of invented traditions and imagined communities.

Benedict Anderson (1995). Imagined Communities. London, UK: Verso.

Eric Hobsbawn and Terence Ranger (Eds.)(1992). The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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