At a breakfast meeting this morning, Cindy and I were waiting in line to fill our plates. The line moved quickly. The others were friendly. The food supply was ample. And as I stepped, stopped, stepped, stopped, stepped my way to the scrambled eggs and hash brown potatoes, I realized today’s topic.
Research from Cal State – Sacramento says Americans spend some 37 billion hours a year standing in line. That is a number too large to comprehend. It equals more than 42 thousand years.
That’s a lot of good time, I suggest.
For the moment, ignore the stress, tension, anxiety, feeling of time-loss you can feel when waiting in line. Whether it’s at the grocery store, the movies box office, the security gate at the airport, sitting in your car at the service station or the freeway merge, waiting in line doesn’t usually get high marks.
But it should. Carolyn Gregoire makes the point that “Most of us would like to have more peace and stillness in our lives…” I take that as a near-universal truth.
And standing in line gives us great opportunities to know that peace, to nurture it, to grow our ability to enjoy it.
How? Certainly, your thoughts of what will bring you the most peace-awareness are the best answers. For starters, I offer:
- Smile. Make eye contact with a stranger and send a smile. Chances are you’ll receive one in return.
- Perform a random act of kindness by letting someone in line in front of you or helping with a suitcase or unloading the grocery cart.
- Create — in your mind or on paper — a list of people, places, things for which you’re grateful. IOW, a gratitude list.
And when you’re through the line, a bit of praying will nicely complement the new-found good from waiting in line.
Maker of Peace,
how wonderful that you let me know
what might make me impatient
can be a chance for knowing peace instead.
Let me give attention
to specific sights and sounds around me.
Let me share a moment’s friendship
with a truly perfect stranger.
Let me release my time and energy
for the well-being of someone else.
Let me remember I have the power
to do all this myself,
to cherish line-waiting as peace-making
and realizing it is your Peace.
And so it is. Amen. Amen.
In: Inner Peace, meditation, Peace, Peacefulness, Praying, Spirituality · Tagged with: Intention, Joy, Peace, power of good, praying, spiritual simplicity
Do you like to doodle? I do. Though I sometimes say I’m sketching, a doodle is a doodle is a doodle.
The fun of doodling is just that: it’s fun. No rules. No judgments. No standards. Just fun.
And that’s why it’s a peace-giver. You can be free from spelling words right or keeping them on the paper’s lines. Free to create the lines — straight of curvy, wiggly or dashed — all over the page.
And the bigger the page the better.
Lesson: peace is not just seeing or hearing or smelling something outside myself. Peace comes to me, comes from me, by the actions I perform. Those actions are ways I create peace for myself. That’s a lesson to myself, btw.
For 100 days I “sketched each day”. Anything that caught my attention: a thought, what someone said, an idea, an image. (I did quite a few sketches of my messy desk!) After each small sketch, I was definitely relaxed. I felt peaceful because I’d let my mind relax, taken a break from the “had to do” consciousness, and had fun.
I started with a small notebook and a handful of colored pens. I always had them with me because you never know when doodling will call. Now I also have an over-sized drawing pad that’s replace my over-sized desk calendar. It offers constant invitations to scribble, sketch, doodle. An invitation to peace.
And from there it’s easy to remember: these tiny bits of peace that I enjoy are stars in the endless universe that is Peace. If my little bits of peace are fun, that awareness of Peace is fundamental.
Supreme Sketch Artist,
the talent I have is in my willing-to-doodle,
my joy in putting pen to paper without worry
that it won’t be art.
It will be fun.
It will be restful.
It will be a reflection of your Peace.
It always is. It doesn’t matter
if the eyes aren’t even or the words
made more sense than the picture
(it’s worth a thousand anyway).
How neat and sweet, Dear GOD,
to doodle what I want and have it be
the peace-filled way I see it.
And so it is. Amen. Amen.
We’re familiar with peaceful listening: soothing music, ocean waves, birdsong.
Listening itself– the art and science of listening, regardless of what’s heard — brings peace.
Mom often said, “You hear me, but you’re not listening to me.” She distinguished between my ears automatically receiving sounds and my mind not paying attention to what I heard, which meant whatever she was telling me. Hearing is easy; listening is hard. For me, at any rate.
This afternoon I sat outside my office, just to listen. I didn’t force myself, didn’t tell myself to pay attention, to concentrate, or to take in every single sound. I wanted whatever I heard to feed my mind, my heart. That would be listening, I figured.
The listening was good; the peace was outstanding. After 15 minutes I had listened to — distinguished — dozens of sounds: a crisp door opening, laughter that rose and rose and floated away, a car without a muffler, voices intent on keeping something secret…….
Accomplishing distinction meant peace. Clear sounds, all of them beautiful, meant peace. The mindfulness of separating the sounds meant peace.
I am thankful at how easy it was. Easy after years of striving to become a better listener.
I settled at the table outside. I thought, “I’m here. What will I hear?”
I attended, allowing my ear-mind connection to pick up surrounding sounds.
I received. A sound would become predominant and perk my hearing.
I accepted. I felt the sound enter my hearing…my mind…my heart.
The more my listening embraced each sound’s subtleties, the more my heart felt joy. That joy meant peace.
thank you for the power to hear
to receive and recognize and respond
to the world around us.
And thank you more that we can listen.
We can let go attempts to wrestle
understanding from what’s heard.
We can let sounds caress
awareness from our hearts
up to our minds.
We can respond to the world we love
to hear, to listen to.
And so it is. Amen.