Day 15... birds

by Christina


We must live in peace with nature and other animals, before we can live in peace with other people.
— Anthony Douglas Williams

Respect.

Perhaps peace is as "simple" as that... respect for our home, both the planet and our bodies.

If peace was a priority wouldn't it be easier to respect the world, both the natural elements and the people?

What if everyone took a moment to go outside and firmly planted their feet in the soil and reached their hands to the sky out of true awe and appreciation for all that is.

Think of the stillness that would occur if everyone stopped and listened... to the birds sing.

If there was respect for the earth, the people, the animals...

then there would be peace.

What if it was that simple?

Sandhill crane migration, 2017, Albuquerque, NM

Sandhill crane migration, 2017, Albuquerque, NM

I'm not a birdwatcher, per se, however I take great pleasure in watching birds and thinking about what they accomplish. Migratory birds fascinate me with their dedication, commitment, perseverance, and effort. Watching the birds interact on the ground it is clear that they are disagreements, however when it's time to fly, they put aside their differences and work together to accomplish greatness. They share the workload communicating along the way to reach a destination often times 1000's of miles away. And they accomplish this year after year despite the fact that their resting grounds are slowly disappearing due to human "advances."

I recently made a purchase from a yarn shop that I discovered on Instagram called The Net Loft in Cordova, AK, a fishing community. Although I have yet to visit, I find the shop owner, Dotty to be inspiration with her thought-provoking blog posts and commitment to revitalizing the connection between fishing and knitting. When my package arrived, there was a 4x6 card describing the Birds by Hand project to celebrate the annual Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival that occurs this year from May 3-6, 2018.

The Net Loft has created the Copper River Delta Knitted Birds Project to celebrate the annual migration of hundreds of 1000's of birds along the Pacific Flyway and invites everyone to join in a knit-along and become a "ornitholoknitter," one who studies or is an expert on knitted birds.

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The goal of the Knitted Birds Project is to raise awareness of the value of the Copper River Delta and its rich tidal mudflats in regards to the mass migration of shorebirds each spring. To join the knit-along, all you have to do is knit a bird and send it to Alaska and it'll be included on display in the local museum during the festival. The goal is to collect 1000 knitted birds. All the details can be found here.

As soon as I discovered this project in August, I just knew I had to include it in Project Peace 2017. Just think if we sent 100's of peace birds to the festival. Not only would we raise awareness of the migration of birds and nature but also peace. I'm asking all of you to knit a bird of peace and let it wing it's way to Alaska.

Knitted dove by Nicky Fijalkowska

Knitted dove by Nicky Fijalkowska

I set out to find a pattern to include in PP17 and discovered the book Knitted Birds by Nicky Fijalkowska. I reached out to her and she has graciously provided all of you with a copy of her pattern for the knitted dove. You can download the pattern for free now through December 31 using the coupon code PEACE. So please, knit a bird of peace and send it to the Knitted Bird Project.

Perhaps knitting a bird of peace during Worldwide Knit-in for Peace Day would be an extra special way to think about knitted peace. Or ask your local yarn shop to host a gathering after the New Year to knit a flock of peace birds. There are a few "supplies" needed to create each bird so working together in the spirit of accomplishing bigger things like the migratory birds might be most efficient.

Day 15. Peace tip.

Take a moment today to go outside and sit. Close your eyes and listen for the birds. Think about birds and what characteristic of the birds provides you with a moment of awe and wonder.

~Peace in all things

Christina


Day 13... breath

by Christina


In the silence of the breath, is peace.
— Ntathu Allen
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I was recently in a yoga class and the instructor said "we do all this work in class for the sole purpose of finding our way to shavasana." Now, shavasna is the final pose in a yoga class where one rests, not to sleep but to recharge after a period of effort and work. At the time, I thought her statement was odd. After all, why would I spend 50 minutes of effort if the only goal was to lie down and relax for 10? Couldn't I just skip the work and go straight to shavasana?

Oh grasshopper, of course not. One must experience the process of both the work and the rest for the full experience; both parts complete the process and neither one can stand alone. Again, it's about balance... too much work without rest leads to imbalance and vice versa.

Yoga has also taught me the power of breathing. Using my breath to calm me down or to provide focus. A strategy needed not only on the mat. See, we breathe all the time without ever giving it much thought and that right there is the most bizarre concept. Our breath is the most important life-sustaining act that we do. How long can we go without oxygen? A couple of minutes? maybe 5? Yet we don't even think about it.

We know how to do the work now let's learn how to do the rest part. Using your breath to recharge is a powerful technique that takes only moments. If you find yourself thinking "I don't do yoga" or "this is silly," I encourage you to give this one a try. It isn't "yoga" per se and so what if you feel silly... that's ok too.

Day 13. Peace tip.

Breathe. We can use our breath strategically to guide us and help us find a calmer state of being. Focusing on our breath provides that moment of rest we need to recharge ourselves in this busy, chaotic world. Today, I'll teach you nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing.

  1. Take a comfortable seat, making sure to sit up tall with feet placed firmly on the ground.
  2. Relax your left palm comfortably into your lap and bring your right hand just in front of your face.
  3. With your right hand, bring your pointer finger and middle finger to rest between your eyebrows, lightly using them as an anchor. The fingers we’ll be actively using are the thumb and ring finger.
  4. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.
  5. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.
  6. Pause holding the inhale for a brief moment.
  7. Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly through the right side; pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.
  8. Inhale through the right side slowly.
  9. Pause briefly with both nostrils closed.
  10. Open your left nostril and release your breath slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.

When you're feeling stressed, anxious, or looking for a calm and peaceful way to begin your day, repeat 5-10 cycles, allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales.

Steps 5-9 represent one complete cycle of alternate nostril breathing; one cycle should take you about 30-40 seconds.

Consistency is helpful, so try to match the length of your inhales, pauses, and exhales. For example, you can start to inhale for a count of five, hold for five, exhale for five, hold for five. You can slowly increase your count as you refine your practice.

May your day be filled with peace and a few conscious breaths...

~Christina

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Day 12... an orange

by Christina


The hunger pangs set in so I dug through my satchel to find any remaining snacks that I'd packed earlier in the day. At first nothing, but then, a bright albeit tiny clementine appeared. It'd been a few days since I grabbed the little fruit while in a rush on my way out the door but I was delighted to find it.

I grabbed it, sat back at my desk and began to peel the outer covering away. My stomach growled again as if to say "hurry up, what's taking you so long." But the peel was thinner and forced me to slow down.  The citrus smell soon began to fill the room and my mind shifted to the many times I'd enjoyed an orange.

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I find it odd that an orange, a citrus fruit which seems so summery actually reminds me of winter. A few oranges from the knapsack were enjoyed on many a ski-outing or finding a orange in the bottom of my stocking on Christmas morn. I always thought it odd that my parents found great delight in this tradition but as I grew up I began to cherish finding the simple orange... a reminder to be thankful and to strive for simplicity amidst the chaos.

And while I ate this orange, I paused to marvel in the wonders of this little fruit. So neatly packaged with a protective shell and all the imperfect yet perfect segments. A bit wonky each of them yet fitting together rather magnificently to make a sphere. I hadn't stopped in quite sometime to reflect on the food I was choosing to eat.

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Food as peace. This topic is as vast and enormous as the actual food supply. We can consider food as peace at the individual level, family unit (however defined), within a community, nation and policy. And really it could be "Food, War and Peace" because at each of those levels there's an aspect of war and peace as it relates to food.

Day 12. Peace tip.

Take a moment today to reflect on food and peace. Reflect on one food item and marvel in it's splendor. Use this opportunity to slow down and savor what you've chosen to consume. 

~Peace,

Christina