Greetings to all who are reading! With a new year there's endless potential. Every year, every day and each person has endless potential, of course. It is the simple awareness of this fact that activates it. Then there are times when life is so richly varied in its experience that we almost miss the most important parts. What important parts are those? It's us; our lives, our circumstances and the magic of life as it is.
As a people, we are always striving to move forward. This is the natural progression of life. The essence of life is change, growth and development. Within our ever-present desire to do and be more, we increase our progress when we appreciate what we have. Appreciation expands life in countless ways. It is not just saying thank you or being "polite." Appreciation is a state of mind that enhances all that we see, feel and are.
The Dance of Peace is a prolific art form which constantly evolves. Its simple purpose (peace in every heart) remains constant, yet the context changes always. In its quest to conquer apathy and hate, the Dance of Peace has increased its frequency (now five days each week). To reach this goal, creativity and imagination have been essential. These attributes are being mentioned here because they are at the top of the list of things that we can show appreciation for. For instance, when it rains the Dance of Peace is launched indoors, wherever that may be. Recently, it was inside at our local O' Connor Hospital. While waiting for technicians to arrive, the Dance of Peace was quietly launched in the ER. It's true that it's not always “understood.” The vibration of peace does not require understanding to be effective. It is easily felt by those who are open to it. Ten, twenty, thirty pairs of eyes met mine questioningly. Hospital workers smiled curiously. Those who were sick in their beds seemed calmed and comforted by the frequency of peace. There was a notable decrease of noise and tension in the air. Minutes later, an RN came over saying, "We can't have you doing that in here, ma'am." Too late! It was already done. Fellow Peace Dancers of the World: If you have danced long enough to receive a reprimand, consider yourselves impactful for that day! Within the realm of appreciation, this event stands out as one to grow on!
This week at San Carlos and Meridian, the Dance of Peace was launched in the cold, bright afternoon light. Points of appreciation included the fact that it wasn't raining that day, but that the rain we had, cleansed the air and the ground in a part of the city that perhaps can't be described as 'tidy'. My personal gratitude included the honor of being an avid contributor of life, something we can all engage in. As the Dance of Peace unfolds, it beautifies life. It multiplies life within the dancer, the immediate space and all those observing with eyes of appreciation. Halfway through the dance, an elder with snow white hair, a colorful cap and matching scarf approached. She was a fellow dancer of peace, ready to share her gifts! She'd joined the dance before over the past few months, inspiring others with her grace and by being living proof that age doesn't matter in the pursuit of peace. As soon as she saw the Dance of Peace from her car she said that she, "simply had to come out." We embraced each other with glee and she fell right in step with the music. We don't know each other's names. There is no need for formal introductions when the spirit of peace unites people. Without knowing it, she fulfilled the entire purpose of peace in a brief dance. Her words were affirming when she said, "The world needs this right now." This is a common response. We can all sense that conditions in our world improve when we produce peace.
Finally, working with the energy of appreciation, we can start from where we are at the present moment. Step one: Don't let constant thought of the past or future consume our enjoyment of the present moment. Being grateful requires us to be present to receive the gifts of life in the moment that we are currently living in. Step two: Breathing. It's not as automatic as we might think. When stress sets in, often our breathing is shortened, tightened or otherwise interrupted. By taking a few conscious breaths (now) our awareness naturally rests on what's in front of us. Whatever that is right now, let's be thankful. Thanks and see you out there!
Join the weekly Dance of Peace class at the San Jose Peace and Justice Center in the heart of downtown every Friday from 10-11am.