An instrument of peace

“Lord, make me an instrument of peace.”

With that single line St Francis defined a life of mindfulness and loving kindness long before those terms were first used. Long before pop culture turned them into an industry. A t-shirt slogan.

He goes on to describe how that instrument looks. It is one of understanding and giving. A life in service of love.

“Lord make me an instrument of peace

Where there is hatred let me sow love

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

And where there is sadness, joy

Oh divine master grant that I may

not so much seek to be consoled as to console

to be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love

For it is in giving that we receive

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned

It is in dying that we are born to eternal life”

This is how I want my life to be yet I often fail in these intentions. Instead, I want to be understood. To be consoled. To wade deeply in my sorrow. To be loved despite my shortcomings.

When I find myself on the needy end of the spectrum that runs from giving to receiving I remember that I can not only offer these gifts to myself, I should.

My efforts to be an instrument of peace must begin with myself because to offer peace to others I must first have it within me. The good news is that inner peace is often gained in the offering of it to others. It is a beautiful, endless, self-sustaining circle.

This was my meditation this morning:

That I forgive myself and not beat myself up for being human.

That I keep strong the faith that brought me here.

That I keep the flame of hope ever burning within me to light both bright days and dark nights.

That I be willing to find and feed my joy, especially when it seems so far away.

That I love myself as I wish to be loved by others and that I share that love regardless of my pain.

That peace isn’t just something we feel, it’s something we practice.

I believe I need more practice.

Peace be upon you.

This house of Love

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Truth
Hope
Faith
Honesty
Courage
Vulnerability
Compassion
Care
Passion
All intentions of Love
Gratitude realized
They are the foundation
Upon which we build
Each supports the other
Builds upon each other
Seamless
The mortar between
Made from their union
A blending
Truthful hope
Hopeful faith
Faithful honesty
Courageous vulnerability
Vulnerable compassion
Compassionate care
Careful Passion
Passionate love
Each stone with deep roots
Based in experience and understanding
All firm
None are loosened by illusion
Or fantasy
Each floor laid
With deliberation and purpose
With careful design
The plan determined
By each preceding
It grows
Stone by stone
Board by board
With every loving action
Every caring word
Touch
Kiss
Passion
Floor upon floor
Rising endlessly
The walls form
Where floors end
Yet have no limit
Rooms without walls
Walls without ceilings
One with Gaia and the Universe
It is a house of Love

 


 

Image: “Solitude” by Christine Lantz

 

 

 

 

 

A Promised View

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She sits at the edge of the world
Unconcerned with my silent inquiry
In peaceful examen
Contemplating All
Serene in her surrender
To the known and unknown
Welcoming a future
She creates with intention
Every thought with purpose
Every movement decided
Every word chosen
Mindful and accepting
She gazes out upon her world
Created with the meaning she gives it
Surveying beyond the smoky skies
To a place where a promised view
Of the Milky Way
Conforming to her vision
Overlays the grey-blue background
With colors of her choosing
Where eagles glide
On winds that whisper the Sopurkh
While harmonizing
With the mystic forest below
Home to true magick
Where compassion is spoken
Not only when needed
Because compassion is always needed
But with consistent care and kindness
Where passion is more than a line in book
Or a poem
But resides in every touch
Every look
Every kiss
Because passion belongs everywhere
In everything
To everyone
Where Love is tangible
Something she can see
Touch
Smell
Taste
Drink
Something to be shared
.
I see her world merge with my own
It is a world
Where the promise of a view of the Milky Way
Is kept
If only in her heart
and in a picture I take of her unaware
.
.
.
.
.
.
If you’re not familiar with the So Purkh a good explanation and recording can be found here: http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/so-purkh/

This is my Heart

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I scan the news with horror
How can we
Presumed advanced
Assumed superior
Be anything more
Than most inferior
So long as we treat others
Our sisters and our brothers
With hate
Because of the color of their skin
Or the person they love
Or the person they are

They are Human
All of them Sacred
All of them
Us
All of us Carry
A Spark of Divine
All of us Sacred
All of us
One
All of us Sacred Human

I turn it off
There is no room for hate

This is my Heart
There is no room for hate
This is my Soul
There is no room for hate
This is my Life
There is no room for hate

My Heart is a place
Of Peace and Compassion
Of Truth and Passion
Of Hope and Sensuality
Of Joy and Sexuality
Of Teaching
and Learning
and Sharing
and Growing
and Acceptance

and Awakening

There’s no place here for hate
It has no place in my Heart
This is a place of Love
A place of Love
A place of Love
A place of Unconditional Love

This is my Heart

It is large enough for Everyone

 

 

Image by J.M.Greff

 

One person at a time

 

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As published in Elephant Journal 8/5/17

 

I see a young woman punished by a mind that differs from my own pushing a shopping cart through the dregs of society.

The aisles of humanity staggered randomly like blockades of sheeple that spite or ignore or pretend she does not even exist.

She winds carefully through the labyrinth. A test of the gods. A test of her worthiness that she believes she failed long ago.

I wonder: What test? What god would be so cruel to allow this woman, who carries the spark of the divine itself within her breast, to live like this? Why threaten to extinguish the gift of that spark?

I step in front of this woman, only occasionally glancing behind, and part the cascade of ignorance like Moses in a sea of flesh so she can make her way to the hovel that is her home.

I see a man on a corner with a worn sign that says “will work for food” and I know, without a doubt, that he has neither worked nor eaten in far too long. I watch the constant flow of people pass by like a river of wealth that is just beyond his reach while he slowly dies from dehydration.

I wonder: Why should he work for what the planet gives freely? Why should he be reduced to begging for that which comes naturally?

I step into the closest convenience store, a place convenient only to those with means, and spend what little is left on my debit card to ensure that he will not go another day without that which is his right, and I bring it to him with one request—that if he knows another who has not eaten, he share it. He looks at me and offers a portion, and I gently refuse because I have a job.

I see an old man struggling to carry his meager supplies to his humble home. He staggers under the weight of the few small bags that are his sole source of sustenance for the next month. His “retirement” is barely enough to pay for the two rooms in an ancient building that could, at any time, be condemned and leave him homeless.

I cross the street, add my own bags to his, and carry them all to the crumbling facade which represents the dreams of his youth. Without a word, I leave all the bags, including my own, at his door and walk away in silence as he speaks the only word we shared in those six blocks, “Why?”

I wonder: Where did he work so hard that I can see the memories of his past etched deeply into his face? Why did the system he paid into for so long leave him with not so much as cab fare to transfer a true month’s worth of food? Why would my actions, which seem so natural to me, leave him questioning my motives?

When I return home, I see myself in the mirror: this man that proclaims love, who shares it freely with the hungry, who widens the aisle with his imposing figure and intimidates the sheeple with a glance so the meek can pass, who carries the bags for those who are too weak to carry them, and leaves them with more than they started with—where would he be if not for the love and care of the one person who first offered the very same compassion that he feels for others: his Self.

I see their faces in my reflection. I feel their pain, know their suffering, and, in fact, share it.

Where would I be? Exactly where I am now—with them.

I quietly acknowledge my gratitude to a universe that gave me the gift of this vision and know that I am home.

If you want to change the world, begin with yourself, and then carry that change into the world one person at a time.

~

~

~

Author: J.M. Greff
Image: Pixabay/quinntheislander
Editor: Travis May

You don’t know me

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You don’t know me.

Maybe we’ve met or spoken. Maybe you have read what I write. Maybe you only know what it is that I do for you, that I love you, that I care.

But you don’t know me.

You know the man determined to live by the simple and incredibly difficult intentions of love and gratitude, but you don’t know why he loves so deeply or what it is that he is ever so grateful for.

You know the man who shares his heart openly. Who is unafraid to admit that he cries as much as he laughs, but you don’t know what it is that would make him happy or why it is he cries at night.

You know the man who is generous to a fault, but you don’t know that his son tells him, “Dad, focus on yourself. You seem to focus on everyone except yourself.” You don’t know why you come first. Even his son doesn’t.

You know the man determined to change himself and his world, but you don’t know why he is so determined. Who he was before the change and why it’s so important for him to change.

You know this man only because of what he does for you.

I could tell you that he goes without food for weeks in order to be sure that you don’t. That he falls four months behind on rent to be sure you have what you need or why his landlord is okay with this.

You know the man who will always be there for you, no matter what, but you don’t know how he cries for you when you are afraid
or when you feel as alone as he does.

You don’t know where or when I was born, what towns I grew up in, my favorite foods or colors. You don’t even know my middle name.

I could tell you these things but you still wouldn’t know me.

It’s okay. I don’t know you either.

You know what you need to know.

You know that you are loved.
~
~
Almost as published in Elephant Journal (except they tried to turn it into a poem)
~
Author: J.M. Greff
Image: Jake Davies/Unsplash
Editor: Taia Butler
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Wa

 

Will you

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If I cry
Will you look away
Will my tears
Make you want to run away
Or will you
Hold me close
Hold me tight
Tell me everything’s
Going to be alright
Take me by the hand
And lead me back into the light
Will you make love with me
All through the night

 

From an unfinished song I started many years ago for a lover that didn’t make it past the fourth line 🙂