Being Peace in the Midst of Anxiety



If a child smiles, if an adult smiles, that is very important. If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, ~ not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

This morning, I watched the bright edge of the dawn become covered over with a blowing, darkening cloud bank. The light of a new day disappeared before it was completely born. I stepped outside and found gratitude for the fresh winds, for the light rain which, for just an instant, thankfully replaced the sound of city traffic. 

Yesterday, I drove to work in early cold fog ~ but looked up to the swirling clouds and lightest blue sky ~ the migrating birds soaring over the water ~ Seeing the transient, brilliant, warm shades of autumn in leaves painted just for our need of joy.

Such a time of anxiety and fear our world has never known ~ and yet children still smile, leaves still vibrate in myriad colors, birds still fly and dive, winds still refresh and cleanse. Religious leaders….like Thich Nhat Hanh and Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama….insist that “being peace” is possible every moment, and our attention to that possibility is essential in establishing & maintaining a sane world.

I find this a difficult assignment at times….and only remember how to claim it when I really see the constant beauty & calm of the natural world, hear the subtle sounds which can help my mind and heart to believe and have hope once again. I stand up for tolerance and compassion, rail against the fears/anxieties being generated throughout the world , grieve with the victims of natural and man-made disasters~ but I try every day, over and over, to see the gift of a smile, the curiosity of a student, the confidence of my sons. The future is now; the past moment is gone ~ I am trying so hard to look forward and acknowledge the great good surrounding all of us, the open door which might take us through and onward to a real peace of spirit and community.