The 2020 Peace Day Theme: Shaping Peace Together Celebrate the International Day of Peace by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stand together with the UN against attempts to use the virus to promote discrimination or hatred.
Join me to spread PEACE together. Take 3 breaths everyday to inhale peace to yourself, and exhale peace to all. Together we can Love the world to Peace
Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream, a song by Simon and Garfunkel
Last night I had the strangest dream I’ve ever known before… I dreamed that all the world agreed to put an end to war… I dreamed I saw a mighty room… the room was filled with men… and the papers they were signing said they’d never fight again. And when the papers were all signed, and a million copies made, they all shook hands and bowed their heads and greatful prayers were prayed… and the people in the streets below were dancing round and round… while swords and guns and uniforms lay scattered on the ground… Last night I had the strangest dream I’ve ever known before… I dreamed that all the world agreed to put an end to war…
Take 3 breaths everyday to inhale peace to yourself, and exhale peace to all. Together we can Love the world to Peace
This Actions for Happiness post is about self-care and telling the truth! Living in a pandemic we need self-care and we need truth.
Part of self-help September is telling the truth, but what do you do when you have elected officials that lie, lie and lie some more, and citizens that believe their lies? People that lie are unhappy, they can’t accept reality. These are strange times with a pandemic, and the need for correct information is enormous. When elected officials have a misunderstanding of the truth, and create alternative facts, and others don’t correct and challenge them we are in big trouble. If we don’t have a set of facts to agree on, people searching for truth make things up and spread theories about what they believe might be true. This is like ancient people trying to make sense of what they don’t understand. We need to have a base of facts to work from and we have lost that. Yes, I misled the U.S.
Democracies can not survive without understanding what is really happening. That is why we have universities, scientists, news media and newspapers to search out the truth. In order to function as citizens in our society and in our democracy, we need to have a common basis of facts.
This is not ancient times, we have science, we have a hard working journalists and educators that are masters at getting the facts correct. At this time in history we all need a active commitment to always tell the truth. Start with telling the truth yourself, and demand truth-telling from all your acquaintances. Telling the truth is easy, demand it from everyone!
How do you start to search for truth?
Get the facts and be open minded. We often think we are correct when we aren’t.
Do additional research, read newspapers, and ask questions.
Make sure your sources are credible.
Ask yourself, does this make sense?
Never spread things unless you know the source and check at least 2 more sources. Facebook, friends, family, and Fox talk shows, are not reliable sources.
From September of 1939:
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die. By W. H. Auden
Ten more self-care ideas to get you through the pandemic from the Washington Post. Read here.
Here is the Actions For Happiness calendar for September. An important part of self-care involves telling the truth and never spreading falsehoods.
“Extra fresh? Extra wet? Extra extra? Extra beautiful? Extra Great? Extra gitchy? Extra deep? Extra wide? Extra voluminous? Extra fishy? Extra rocky? Extra clean? Extra cold? Extra Superior?” @Lake Superior (twitter)
Yes, extra Superior! A world pandemic is still raging, elected leaders incite violence, forest fires and hurricanes are constant, but no drama on Lake Superior. By August the lake has warmed and the contrast between the cold lake and warm air isn’t so extreme causing less drama. This lack of drama makes the big lake more peaceful as the gentle waves ripple to shore.
The loons call, and the eagles screech from their tree towering over the lake. The hummingbirds like little fairies hover and suck nectar from the last of the plants as they prepare for their long journey south.
Plants are turning brown, and yellow golden rod dominates. Blooming plants were early this year so they lose energy and turn brown sooner. Only a few butterflies remain, they have been replaced by grasshoppers, and like the birds the chipmunks are already busy preparing for winter.
July was a perfect time to indulge in watching butterflies and monarch caterpillars. Every new caterpillar was a celebration. Unfortunately, something else found them to be joyful food, and they disappeared. We suspect the chipmunks. Their numbers were too many this year, and they seemed to be watching my treasured caterpillars as much as I was! Every new butterfly I see I hope they were one of my precious fat caterpillars.
Surprisingly, in July the lake had a harder time keeping us cool from the hot humid summer south of us, but August brought 70 degrees days while a hundred miles south it was a hot humid 90 degrees.
On to September and more change, turning leaves and intense beauty! Extra beautiful!
Kindness and smiling create a ripple, spread them now!
Smile: A Poem by Spike Milligan Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu, When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too. I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin. When he smiled I realized I’d passed it on to him. I thought about that smile, then I realized its worth. A single smile, just like mine could travel round the earth. So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected. Let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!
Become mindful how your actions affect others? Smile, turn down the music, sweep instead of leaf blow, turn off your car instead of idle, pick up litter, control your dog, follow the driving rules, and wearing an a mask is an act of kindness. Thirty-one actions below for acts of kindness:
During August the idea is to do one or more acts of kindness daily. Let’s spread a wave of kindness all around the world.
June can be the best time of the year for pollinators. In northern Wisconsin and Minnesota it is an awesome time for seeing bees, and butterflies! Within two minutes I observed monarchs, swallowtails, sulphurs, northern crescents, painted ladies, dragon flies, and many skippers and bees on a small patch of hawkweed and daisies.
Everyone comments about the beautiful lupine near Lake Superior, and it is beautiful to human eyes. If you look closely, very few butterflies and bees crave lupine like they crave Canadian anemone, blooming chives, wild geraniums, blooming trees, forget-me-nots or daisies. The blooming plant that has surprised me the most this year is the orange hawkweed. It is not a native plant, but the butterflies love it.
It’s not the best time of the year to see birds, but if you can recognize their songs they bring constant musical joy. The song sparrow, chestnut sided warbler, and a pair of red starts joyfully sing all day.
As long as the sun shines the birds, bees and butterflies seem oblivious to the battle taking place on the big lake. The cold lake ties to dominate the warm tropical winds from the south, and the temperature can fluctuate from 60 degrees to 80 degrees every few minutes. It’s fascinating and refreshing! The days are long in these northern climes with the sun setting past 9pm and twilight lasting beyond 10pm. No matter where you live get outside and enjoy the marvelous butterflies of summer, in a few weeks they will be gone!
This Juneteenth is a rare moment for all of us to proclaim in one voice that Black Lives Matter and that we won’t tolerate anything less than justice for all Black lives.
“I implore all of us to take a breath for justice, to take a breath for peace, to take a breath for our country and to take a breath for George.” Benjamin Crump
I hope we are all indeed breathing deeply, always, but especially now. Breath clears the body of toxins; breath renews. The Israelites under Pharaoh could not hear the words of hope offered by Moses because of “kotzer ruah” — shortness of breath (Exodus 6:9). They could not breathe, so they could not hear, so they could not hope. We have a choice. I hope we are appreciating the miracle of breath — how it sustains life, how it brings calm, how it creates spaciousness of spirit, so that each of us can act with compassion and wisdom, with intention and focus. For all those suffering in this pandemic, and for George Floyd of blessed memory, let us all indeed take a breath for justice, for peace, for our country and for life itself. Rabbi Shosh Dworsky, St. Paul in a letter to the editor, https://www.startribune.com/
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
In memory of George Floyd:
This is my progressive city, and we are heartbroken. As I write this, it is noisy, military helicopters are flying around my neighborhood.
Why?? George Floyd was killed just a few miles from my home. Sadly, a broken law enforcement system has been allowed fester. and like the coronavirus it should have been faced head on instead of taking innocent lives. The injustices faced by our black and brown people should not exist in 2020. We need to start with educational injustice, healthcare injustice, air quality injustice, and living wage injustice. As we give tax breaks to the wealthy, we can invest in the future of an important segment of our community.
From an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It is what needs to be said:
“Tears flowed from my eyes this morning, though I am — or was — the type of man who prided himself on not crying. What brought tears? I read that with his last conscious breath, George Floyd cried out in anguish for his mother. Floyd was a large, strong, proud, vibrant and healthy man and yet as death rushed in upon him, he craved only the love of his mother. His cry pierced my heart. In an instant, I knew that if I were in his place, pushed to the ground and choked by another man’s knee, I too would have called out for my mother. Does that make me weak? No. It makes me human, and so was Floyd. As I struggled with his death, I found my heart cracking open and I did the only thing I could think of at the time — I placed Floyd, his family, and his loved ones in my ailing heart and bore witness to his and their pain and suffering. With my next breath, though, I surprised myself — by placing Derek Chauvin in my heart. Does this make me weak? No. It makes me human, and so is Chauvin. I remain outraged that a grown man — an officer of the law no less — could have such a hard and uncaring heart that for seven full minutes he was capable of slowly squeezing the life out of a fellow human being. But the reality is that my heart, as well, has been hard and uncaring for too long. Thousands of similar deaths have occurred over the span of my five-and-a-half decades and I have looked the other way and barely raised a finger on behalf of justice. I don’t have all the answers, but until we all soften our hearts and see both Floyd and Chauvin in ourselves — and as ourselves — little meaningful progress will be made. I can’t bring George Floyd back. And I won’t protect Derek Chauvin from the hard justice that awaits him. I can only begin by changing myself. I intend to do this by taking the pain, anger, fear, hate and contempt I feel, channeling it through my softening heart and working to transform it into love — the kind of love a mother has for her son, be he saint or sinner — and then strive of behalf of real and lasting justice for the disenfranchised and the downtrodden.” Jack Uldrich, Minneapolis.
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”
I hope you can find peace with the sounds of nature. April is the best time of the year hear singing birds. I have chickadees and cardinals singing outside my window. Ducks are flying overhead, frogs and crickets are singing. Maybe the wind or the sound of waves or running water gives you peace. Listen for an enjoyable sound, or maybe search for complete quiet. What sounds of nature give you peace?
From 2 writers in the Star Tribune see below:
“Whatever it is that gets us thinking “spring” should lift our spirits and nudge us forward in this period of newness. The despair surrounding COVID-19 leaves us numb and sad, but events in nature’s spring tell us of better things to come.
These spring mornings are the best time of year to hear the symphony of bird music. Listen as tree swallows chatter; mourning doves coo; ring-necked pheasants crow; both northern cardinals and black-capped chickadees whistle; common grackles squawk; red-winged blackbirds trill; Canada geese honk; American robins sing “cheer-up, cheer-up;” and woodpeckers drum.” Jim Gilbert
“It’s the start of spring in the north. The birds are returning and in contrast to other years when I step outside, I listen for and enjoy the singing. It’s everywhere I stop. I try to listen to what they say — I could be imagining it, but they are saying it all goes on. We’re here. Nature is here. Despite your stress, relax. There’s nothing you can do about the pandemic other than listen to nature and seek refuge in compassion and the truth.” Bryan Hansel
Nature is not cancelled, pollinators are not cancelled, blooming trees and plants are not cancelled. There is a whole world of beauty outside our homes and from our windows. On this fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, celebrations are going virtual, but as individuals I hope we can each think about what our wonderful world means to us. We are all connected and our collective action against Coronavirus is working. Let the healing of our Earth and our people begin, and lets put our collective action together to make a better world. Because we are all connected let’s come out of this crisis stronger as a people and stronger as a society. Our resilience will get us through this. I have a daily activity for everyday as we celebrate and count down to Earth Day. I hope you will join me. Please have fun, connect to nature, experience the hope of spring, be kind, and be part of a healing world!
Collective action to reduce our meat consumption*** can make a big difference. Monday is a good day to try a new vegetarian dish. Find a recipe for Lentil Cacciatore here. It has been amazing how popular beans have been in this crisis. The grocery store shelves for beans are still empty, and I hope we are cooking and making healthy food choices. Enjoy a meatless day!
Plastic-free/Zero waste Tuesday
Spending the day at home makes it easy to be plastic-free. Always use real dishes, utensils and glasses/cups. Make Tuesday the day to use up food left-overs from the week. Create wraps, soups or a stew from your left overs. Before the Coronavirus 40% of food was wasted in the United States. With so many hanging out at home I suspect that number is now lower. Let’s save water, labor and energy and continue to reduce food waste.
Clean water and water use have become crucial topics. Flooding and droughts are happening everyday, and we all have a right to clean drinking water. Become aware of your water usage and how lucky you are to have inexpensive clean drinking water. Water Wednesday is to concentrate on our water usage. It is a day to pick up litter, sweep our sidewalks, and clean debris from our storm drains. Redirect your drainspouts onto your lawn, and figure where you could plant a raingarden?Is there a place in your yard or porch/balcony you could add some native plants the bees and butterflies love? Collective positive energy works!
Thoughtful Thursday Everyday should be kind and thoughtful, but make a special effort today. Our collective actions for kindness can make a difference. Put water in your bird baths, fill your bird feeders, check-in with someone you haven’t seen or heard from in awhile. Be kind and smile.
Become totally engaged in your surroundings. Create a scavenger hunt: look for sidewalk art, a butterfly, a beautiful tree. Look for blooming flowers, a bird building a nest, something that surprises you or a special cloud. Everyone that finds something new wins!
Singing Saturday What sounds of nature catch your attention? I have birds singing outside my window. Ducks are flying overhead, frogs and crickets will sing soon. Maybe the wind or a rushing creek give you peace. Listen for an enjoyable sound, or maybe listen for complete quiet. Find peace in nature.
What ever your spiritual practice, nature can heal us. Today find beauty and love whether through the gospel, through a poem or picture, time outside or a meditation. Dare to dream. Spend the day focusing on what you love and finding beauty in your day. If the weather permits go for a long walk. What do you love, how can you have more of what you love in your life? Find quiet beauty from your walk or from your window. Wishing you peace.
***”Now is the time to try out any plant-based recipes you’ve saved. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that keep your immune system strong, and they have a lower carbon footprint, too. For example, beef is about 34 times more climate pollution–intensive than beans and lentils, pound for pound. If you’re finding it hard to keep your produce fresh given your newly limited shopping habits, get creative. Whir brown bananas into smoothies, or simmer soft tomatoes into sauce. There are plenty of ways to salvage fruits and veggies slightly past their prime. So boost your repertoire. Share recipes with friends. And come out on the other side of this crisis a climate-friendly chef.” NRDC