Day 21... choose peace

by Christina


A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.
— Osho

And here we are on the 21st day of our journey together on this path of peace. Sharing my morning with all of you has been a delight. You truly are the brightness in this world that has come to feel a bit chaotic and dark. It is my wish that we'll continue to find time in our day to create a space of peace whether it's in the still of the morning with coffee and knitting, sitting and just being, or maybe a walk in the afternoon. Find that time that's just for you... create that ritual and then hold onto it tight. That ritual is like the cupboard in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe... it's the gateway to something grand.

Before I tell you the rest of the story, if you have not had a chance to read Chapter 1 of the story I wrote for all of you, please read it now.

Chapter 2.

And so her adventure began... Candace walked, walked and walked. She climbed mountains, scurried down hillsides. She stopped to marvel in all that was around her and to breathe in the fresh air. She met people that were happy and those that were sad. She asked everyone she met what peace meant to them pondering each response. Since she knew not where she was going, she relied upon the advice of strangers to point her in the right direction. Through good times and the bad, Candace moved forward on her quest knowing that she must find a cure for Penny.

Meanwhile back in the village, the villagers gathered in the community center to discuss how they might assist Penny, the one that had provided them with all their basic needs. They recognized that Penny could not continue to give for if she did there would be nothing left. And so, a shift began to occur. The villagers began to care for Penny providing her with nourishment, warmth and friendship. They sat by her bedside through the long dark hours of the night...giving back but also in those quiet moments accepting their role as provider and giver.

No one really knew how long Candace had been gone yet she was beginning to grow weary from the long, hard days of travel. The days were growing darker and colder and Candace began to feel hopeless in her efforts to save her friend. She stopped in a quiet spot in the forest overlooking the ocean. She listened to the sound of the wind in the trees and watched the waves roll up on the shore. She began to weep... "how can I save my friend?"  She reached in her knapsack and found an orange. As she peeled the orange and slowly ate each segment she pondered the simplicity yet wondrous orange. It was at this moment that Candace knew the cure for Penny and where she needed to be.

Candace walked and walked and walked. As she drew closer to the village, she began to notice the forest looked healthier, a vibrancy existed that hadn't been there before. She rounded the corner and saw the most magnificent sight... knitted flags surrounded the village waving proudly in the breeze. The flags knitted by each member of the community in honor of all that Penny had given. There in the center of the village stood Penny as strong as ever awaiting the return of her beloved friend.

Candace had learned that the cure to what ailed Penny had already been found. A peaceful community gives and receives; the people are connected and dependent upon one another to share their dreams and hopes as well as sorrows and grief. 

Now it would be wonderful if we could say that from here forward all was good but that my friends would put an unrealistic expectation on how to achieve peace. Instead, the villagers came to realize that peace was a choice and not an expectation.

The end.

This story was inspired by Project Peace 2017, Candide by Voltaire, The Odyssey, and the four elements (Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water). Penny was short for Penelope, Ulysses' wife who knit by day and frogged by night waiting in the hopes that Ulysses would return. Penny also represented Earth and our continual dependence on what she can give. Candace represented Candide who searched the earth for utopia only to discover that the physical place of perfection was not all he quested.

Day 21. Peace tip.

It's solstice. A day in the Northern Hemisphere that is the shortest and darkest with the promise that the light will return whereas in the Southern Hemisphere it is a day to celebrate all the wonders of the light. Today's tip is to ask that you take time to reflect on peace. This isn't the end of your journey but rather the beginning. Where do you go from here?

Knit for peace today... in solitude, in a group, in public, in your home. Light a candle for peace.

GIVE-AWAY

Jaala from KnitCircus has generously provided some incredible yarn including a skein of the most amazing colorway "peace, love and understanding" for the final give-away for Project Peace. KnitCircus is a yarn company committed to creating beautiful yarns with a giving spirit. Jaala will host a kindness knit-along in the New Year so be sure to sign-up for her newsletter to find out more.

To enter the blog, leave a comment about peace... something that made you say "wow" during the last 21 days. I'll close the entries at 6 a.m. central time on 12/22. I'll send a final email tomorrow announcing the winners of the candle and yarn give-aways.

~peace is a journey... one stitch and step at a time.

Christina

 Photo by August Wren. Used with permission.

Photo by August Wren. Used with permission.


Day 19... water

by Christina


The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.
— Isak Dinesen

The most essential nutrient to human life. Two simple little hydrogen molecules and one oxygen. The energy needed to create these bonds is beyond human capability. We can build mass weapons of destruction, send people to outer space, and build computers with communication systems that allow us to send electronic messages to people around the world instantaneously yet the ability to create life-sustaining water remains illusive. 

Think of how many times a day we use water... drinking, cooking, bathing, washing dishes, to carry away our wastes, to grow crops, hydrate livestock, or even the water that was needed to "grow" our yarn. Each of these acts could be considered tiny miracles. We are so fortunate yet there are so many that don't have these luxuries... along the way perhaps we've lost our perspective on the extreme importance of water. We've come to expect it and that it will "arrive."

Having lived most of my life in the mountains near streams, rivers and a few lakes, I've not had the opportunity to spend much time around the ocean. On a recent visit to the Atlantic Ocean I walked for miles across the sand chasing the waves or rather being chased by waves and I began to ponder "water." 

The lull of the waves coming in and retreating quickly becomes a rhythmic constant that comforts. In and out, in and out. A guarantee that the ocean promises that it will return over and over again. 

As each wave approaches the shore one begins to wonder how long has this water been working it's way here. As the wave slips back into the ocean underneath the incoming wave, it retreats with grace into the vast depths of the sea. Will each water droplet that reaches that line where the sand and water meet, ever return to that same place again or is it a one time event? 

The waves lapping against the shore soothes the soul and has been described by many as peaceful. We become convinced that this big massive body of water is gentle and nurturing. Yet the power that can be generated by the tiniest and simplest drops of water when they work collectively can accomplish great things, both negative and positive. The same can be said for people...when we work together we can be unstoppable, in negative and positive ways.

As we near the shoreline on this current journey with peace we have the opportunity to make more choices. 'Cause after all, this is your journey and your choice. Will this be a one time visit to the shoreline? Or will you be persistent and return again and again? Will you be a water molecule that joins together with others to work collectively for something grand? Or will you allow yourself to be carried away back out into the ocean and overcome by the power of everything else going on around you? C-H-O-I-C-E.

Day #19. Peace tip.

We've talked about snow, trees, birds, and oranges as symbols of peace. Now we are adding water to the mix. Pull out a piece of paper, put on your favorite music and start to doodle. No artistic ability required just put pen to paper. Doodle peace...whatever it is to you. It might be a scene, words, or a collection of colors. It might be trees, water, snow, yarn, people...the sky is the limit. You might choose to doodle a quote or two that have been in the posts or one that hasn't. No inner critic allowed.

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I'd like to ask a favor of all those that are reading this blog and knitters. Please consider knitting for peace on December 21, Worldwide Knit-in for Peace Day. We began this last year and decided to continue with this tradition. It's my goal to make this day widely known around the globe.... but it only happens if we work together. Here's my request.

Place a pin on the map for your location. If you are knitting as a group, please have all group members place a pin.

Knitters from the US: If you know anyone that knits in North Dakota or Rhode Island, tell them about WWKFP Day and have them place a pin. Then all 50 states will be recognized.

Knitters from Canada: Please take a look and see which provinces still need representation... let's get all of Canada represented.

Knitters from Europe: Take a look and see where there are places that need to be pinned, reach out to folks from countries still needing some peaceful knitters.

Knitters from Asia: ok, if anyone knows someone in Asia, please contact them...we need knitters from Asia.

The list goes on... the map is looking full but let's get this map covered!

Thank you.

 

 

 

 


Day 18... Switzerland

by Christina


Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chocolate, fondue, Heidi, the Alps, a country with three official languages, the place my father grew up, home to one of the United Nations offices...

So many items come to mind when I think of Switzerland but perhaps the most immediate response I have is "neutrality." In middle school, I recall learning that Switzerland is the only neutral country that exists. I found that fascinating but never truly understood what that meant. Oh, yes, I understand the concept of neutral but that implies there are "sides" that one isn't taking...what are those sides?

I've said many a time when pulled into a disagreement between people "I'm Switzerland." Reflecting on that statement, perhaps it was a bit of a cop-out... I didn't want to engage in someone else's dispute and instead of working to resolve the situation, I could walk away declaring my neutrality.

On my walk the other day while pondering peace, my mind settled on a point that I've heard said or someone has said to me many a time. "I can't do peace right now; peace is passive and the world needs people to be engaged, stand up for a cause, and fight."

Peace is often interpreted as being passive and neutral; the inability to take a side. Peace is thought by many to be the easy way out so that one doesn't need to engage or to create change.

Is this true? Is peace passive? Is peace easy? Is it a cop-out?

Can't we create change through peaceful actions? What about Gandhi? He created huge social change through peaceful protests.

Might I suggest that cultivating peace is active and not passive, challenging and not easy. And maybe to choose any other option to create change that is not peace would be the cop-out.

Peace is balance. I've heard (and I've said), "I need balance in my life." As if the accomplishing "balance" was a destination to be checked off a list. Has anyone ever said "I now have balance?"

A teeter-totter goes up and down and the varying degrees of height depends on how hard the riders push off against the ground. Tiny fine movements can bring the two sides into equilibrium only when the opposing ends are equally weighted and staying in that perfect moment of balance is usually for a brief moment.

Perhaps peace is like the teeter-totter...a constant state of flux with moments of harmony when one achieves that neutral space of balance. The work to get to that spot is active, challenging and time-consuming. Peace takes work.

Peace is not passive. Finding neutrality means understanding both sides of a disagreement. Peace means despite our differences we listen to one another with respect.

Peace... it's a choice.

Day 18. Peace tip.

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic as we draw closer to the end of our 21 days. In the Northern Hemisphere our days are getting shorter and darker with freezing temperatures predicted to arrive in a few days. My morning time with all of you will shift to a few moments in the peace and quiet of my home with time carved out for reflection, writing and knitting. If you've been finding stillness with Project Peace, perhaps now is a good time to think about how to continue to bring peace into your life daily as a focus. Don't wait for 12/22 to arrive and then feel a little lost.

Create an action plan, not a to-do list, but your own personal call to action plan for peace.

What are 3 specific things you can do after Project Peace to keep peace as a on-going goal and not in your rear-view mirror?

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