Many readers comment that they flip through the book and see what page they open to randomly.  They then use the quote that catches their eye as inspiration.  The quote in the photo is one example.

I invite you to try this and let me know what emerges for you.

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Ideas


I appreciate the new and exciting ideas that come to me.

I take these gifts, like seeds, and plant them by accepting their potential.

They are nurtured and grow through the conscious use of my imagination and right action.

What ideas can you accept and imagine in this new year – World Peace?  Increased prosperity?  Opportunity for more people?  The healing of an illness?

I resolve to open my heart and allow more possibilities to grow.

What can you imagine?

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A New View

“What does it take to live peacefully on this planet?”

Isn’t this the ten million dollar question?  Do you, do I, do we have an answer?  I think yes, and it is grounded in the realization of each individual having a piece in peace.

As I sat in the New Vision Center for Spiritual Living (NVC) in Phoenix a few weeks ago, Rev. Dr. Michelle Medrano posed the question above to the 120 or so people before her.  I was ecstatic to have arrived on this winter sojourn just as NVC was celebrating the Season for Non-Violence.    Nestled between the anniversary dates for the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 30) and Mahatma Gandhi (April 4), Rev. Michelle was honoring their legacy and focusing four consecutive weekly messages on peace.  That was right up my alley and, having listened to her speak many times during our annual visits to the Valley of the Sun, I was anxious to hear what she had to say.

A story from Depok Chopra introduced her topic.  “He has given the example that the body is made up of cells.  Some cells may become toxic and hence influence the cells around them and begin to create disease.  Humanity is constructed like our body.  We are each a cell in the larger body of humankind and we each have a role in influencing the whole.”

This certainly explains how important each individual is.  It’s like a bucket brigade.  You pass the bucket to me.  I pass it to the person next to me and on and on.  If I, for whatever reason, take the bucket from you but don’t pass it on,  the chain is broken. The fire continues to rage.  There is a toxic reaction and it begins to influence those around me.

The question was posed once more, “What does it take to live peacefully as an individual?”  I waited for her further insights….

“Part of the secret of daily peaceful living, the first step, is to transform perception.  We have to rise up above it, see it from a new viewpoint, new vantage point, through other people’s eyes, through higher consciousness.  We have to see it from a new view.”

Ah!!!  New View.  Yes!!  The phrase alone produced goose bumps for me.  Back in 1987 I was contemplating what to call my new art and painting business.  The phrase New View popped into my head and ever since, through artwork, jewelry-making, Feng Shui, and now the publishing of my Power of Peace book, the name New View Studio has served me well.

Spiritual consciousness, higher consciousness or increased awareness all are ways, she offers, to point us in the direction of a New View.  The doorway into Spiritual Consciousness is the development of a daily spiritual practice.  We do it over and over again and it helps us to develop a place of spiritual strength to draw from.  It helps us to begin to see the other side of the story, to generate a creative solution or take a deep breath and allow a terse comment to pass.

The concept of developing a daily spiritual practice may sound scary, laborious,  time-consuming or even impossible.  But the practice can be simple, should always be fulfilling and will help us to continue to pass the bucket and keep the flow going.  Daily spiritual practice may be as simple as getting up each morning and saying thank you for this day, meditating, reading inspirational books or daily passages, being out in nature, saying a prayer or journaling.

Her words inspired me to get more deliberate about my own spiritual practice.  Meditation is now consistently a part of every day.  I Am affirmations and recalling my Feel Good Story are daily additions that help me feel more centered.

NVC now offers videos of Rev. Michelle’s past messages and I invite you to enjoy her powerful inspiration.  That day I found her closing words quite moving.  As I typed them below, they became like a poem for me, a mantra of hope, understanding and power.  I trust they will inspire you as well.

“For people, more and more of us,

who live and breathe and speak and talk and love

from this spiritual consciousness,

WE ARE THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.

We’ve got to be about this.

And there’s no more excuses

 for any of us who look out in the world

and refuse this practice and refuse this daily work

and then complain about what’s going on anywhere in the world.

You have no right.  We have no right.

If we’re not building ourselves up from the inside out

and being a contribution

that is greater than what we’re seeing out there,

nothing will change.  Nothing will shift.

THAT IS HOW WE FIND PEACE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES.

And so it is.”

Rev. Dr. Michelle Medrano

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Peace Team

As you can see, my book is small.  Not in a concept kind of way but in its stature – 4” x 6” and 48 pages.  It is small by design, easy to carry with you, have by the bedside and, from my perspective, easy to digest.  Open to any page and there is something, hopefully, to nourish and encourage.

This small stature lead me to the decision to omit the acknowledgement page.  That does not in any way mean that I didn’t have people to acknowledge, for I most certainly do.  So, as they are long overdue, I have chosen to present them here, in this modern day venue, the blog.

As you may have read by now, the concept for I Hold the Power of Peace came to me on September 12, 2001, the day after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.  You may also recall that we recently commemorated the tenth anniversary of this fateful event.  I spent a lot of years cultivating this message, allowing it to blossom, regenerate and blossom yet again in a more full and concise way.

I really had no idea what I was doing and only knew what I wanted the outcome to be – a small book.  I let my intuition, intention and synchronicity take over at this point.


When I finally grew into an understanding of this message, it was in the context of telling my larger story of inquiry and intuitive development.  Aja Brownell of Earth’s Institute for Conscious Living and I became writing partners.  We met weekly and she worked on her memoir while I pursued this project.  Beyond the motivation of having an appointment to show up and write, we offered each other perspective and encouragement.  Aja was absolutely pivotal in making me see the importance of sharing my own insights rather than quoting others’ I’d read and studied.  The book became mine with Aja’s loving nudge and clear understanding.

These work sessions were the end of any prescribed approach to writing and publishing a book.  I really had no idea what I was doing and only knew what I wanted the outcome to be – a small book.  I let my intuition, intention and synchronicity take over at this point.  I was truly unaware of what to do, to move forward in the middle of the path in the midst of a tall, dark forest.  I needed help with the writing process but Aja had moved to the west coast by then and we weren’t meeting anymore.  One night while attending a monthly meditation circle I conducted with a friend I met a new attendee – Teresa Piccari.  In her introduction she explained that she was a writing coach – yes, a writing coach.  My first appointment was only a few days later and we worked together through the end of the project.  As my editor, she provided countless hours of guidance, support and education.  I have learned so much about writing from her through both our one-on-one sessions and her group writing workshops.

Shortly after connecting with Teresa I started to believe that the book could actually be written.  The next thing I’d need to do was get it printed.  Once a week I take a tennis clinic.  This is the only day I play and there’s a great group of ladies that attend regularly.  Since we were all getting to know each other, I started chatting one morning with Kat Stuart, an awesome tennis player.  She mentioned that she was a graphic designer.  Ah ha!  Did she know anything about laying out a book?  Oh sure, come on over and I’ll take a look.  What an angel!  When I handed her the draft she held it in her hands for a few moments then looked up and said, “This is big! You need to do this.  This is big!”  She was the absolute epitome of peace as she cheerfully revised over 18 drafts of the inside of the book and many more versions of the cover.

Kat could do the graphic design but not the cover art. Enter my best friend of all time, Holly Smith.  Holly has been my art buddy since I moved to Maine in 1978.  She is an accomplished artist as well as a high school art and photography teacher, so she is multi-talented.  In trying to pin down the image we wanted, she did some oil sketches then took photos of me and my vision boards but we still weren’t settled on the cover.  It was time to let the energy sit and redefine itself.  Holly and I have been members of an intuitive study group for over 16 years.  We meditate together and Holly makes sketches of the images she sees during our sessions.  She’d been looking through old sketchbooks and found a drawing she’d made several years ago of a hand holding a circling, spiraling energy. We both knew that was the image!  Holly put it together and I absolutely love it.

The book was physically coming together but I also needed to make the world aware of it with a website.  Kat mentioned that her friend, Jim Dugan, did websites.  His personality and skill level fit in perfectly with everyone else I had corralled into the project – patient, kind, thoughtful and creative.

These five folks are my A Team and all live within 10 miles of me (Aja did when we worked together).  Many others, with the beauty of email, helped with proofreading, giving feedback on content, cover art ideas, website analysis and general encouragement and cheerleading.  They include my husband Dan, my sons Adam and Evan, my mother Joanne Fagerburg , Aunt Judy Bricker, remaining group members Cheryl Evangelos and Elizabeth Thorson,  Sandhya Kochar,  Vidya and Kalpa Gopal,  Alisa Roman, Monica Perry, writing class partners Carolyn, Mary and Heather and everyone else that gave encouragement and support along the way.

Finally, I must acknowledge two of my mentors, as their ideas and insights are most definitely permeating throughout the book – Terah Kathryn Collins, founder and teacher at the Western School of Feng Shui and Denise Linn, my Soul Coaching® teacher.

I can say I wrote a book but not entirely.  It was a total group effort, which is just so perfect and in sync with what my whole point is.  I love it.  These dear, dear people were sent to me. It was my intention to put this message out into the world and they all obliged, stepping right into my path.  Thank God my eyes were open enough to see them all.

Gratitude, appreciation, gratefulness, love, absolute beyond belief thanks, wonder and awe go to everyone on this dream team, my Peace Team.  I am so blessed.

 

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Scrabble and Peace

Soiree – pronounced swaray (meaning:  gathering, meeting, get-together)

I was playing Scrabble with my son and husband.  It was a rare treat to have us all together but they were both in a sour mood. For the third straight game over two days I’d gotten most of the good letters – Z, Q, J, K, M, V – coupled with a nice mix of vowels and I was leading by 70.

We were nearing the end of the game and I had, for the first time, what was considered in my family’s Scrabble jargon as “crappy letters”.   Mostly vowels and all tiles with values of only one point, O-I-E-U-E-R-S stared back at me.

My outlook was good since I’d already had so many high point words in that game.  The word soiree popped into my mind.

“Hmmm, I can figure out something to do with these.” I thought, perusing the letters.  My outlook was good since I’d already had so many high point words in that game.  The word soiree popped into my mind.  I played around with the letters and came up with suoire.  My Aunt Judy teaches voice and piano in Seattle and does soirees with her adult students.  We’d discussed the concept many times so the word was very familiar to me.

It was my turn.  I inquired about the accuracy of my spelling – local rules (we even allow the use of a list of 2 letter words during play).  My son knew without looking it up – S-O-I-R-E-E.  That wasn’t the spelling I’d planned on but looking at my letters……I could do it!

Now, where to attach it?  The board was pretty full and I’d need a run that would cover six letters.  The “S” was nice because perhaps I could attach onto another word and get some extra points from that.  I pondered the board as the others’ turns filled in smaller patches at the corners.

Hmmm?  Ah!  Could that be?  Noticing an opening at the end of the word “HOLDOUT” I counted vertically down the side of the board.  Yep, it would fit.  Even better, I’d cover a Triple Word score.

After laying out the tiles I’d added over thirty points to my score.

I’d rather not reveal the exact details of the conversation that followed.  The “nice job” and “wow, how impressive you could get that score with those letters” I was expecting did not ensue.  Used to playing with the devoted veteran female players in my family, this move should have garnered some appreciation.

Let me just say that instead of accolades there was a bit of a throwing in of the towel involved.  Disappointed, I jumped in with them and allowed my triumph to become tragedy, informing my fellow players of their supreme disregard for established Scrabble etiquette with regards to being impressed.

Why do I share this night of fun and games with you?  Thought – imagination – feeling – the technique for Holding the Power of Peace are so finely illustrated in this tale.  I started the game with strong thoughts, a good attitude about my ability and desire to play.  When the tiles appeared, I imagined seeing a long, complex word emerge.  Moving the tiles around on the holder, I worked with my thoughts and imagination to develop the words.  I remained upbeat, enthusiastic and open, all characteristics of a peaceful outlook.

As one successful turn after another progressed my good feeling of accomplishment grew.  We all have thoughts, imaginings and feelings.  I was able to keep mine uplifted and positive and this was reflected in my results.

Unfortunately, I slipped and joined the lower energies of not getting enough compliments. Able to rebound, we finished the game by playing together with the remaining few letters, sharing ideas and techniques (using our imagination) to complete the board.  Not allowing the sour mood to prevail, we shifted our energy back to an upbeat, peaceful attitude.

A friend of mine recently commented on how she applied similar thinking to her game of Rummikub.  Understanding these concepts, she recalled being at a point in the game where many might give up.  Instead, she told herself, “I can figure this out.”  Taking this strong thought and combining it with imagination and feeling she was able to use all of her tiles.  It’s positive thinking expanded – she was able to “feel” herself solving the puzzle.  That’s what helped her succeed.

I encourage everyone to try these techniques. You can start with a situation, like playing a game or looking for a parking space, that will show you a direct result of your efforts.  Make it a game.  Give it a try.  I’m glad I did.

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Feel Good Day in Boston

SCORE!!!!!!!! We jumped to the sky in utter jubilation.  The Bruins had scored their third goal to Vancouver’s none and we were starting to imagine that it might become a reality.  It looked like they just might win Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup.

As many of you know, I like hockey.  I don’t care for the fighting part, but it is a game of incredible skill. It’s also something that my husband loves and for the opportunity to share his excitement alone I am happy to be an enthusiastic fan.

I focus on college hockey but as a resident of New England, I started paying attention to the Boston Bruins in the National League Hockey Championships this year.  Over a three week period I watched as the energy around the team grew.  They stretched all but one of their four playoff series to a Game 7, increasing their legions of revived and new fans as they went.  By the time they won the championship cup that last night, people all over New England, even those with only a passing interest in hockey, were rooting for the Bruins.

The energy that built around this team was phenomenal – so much so that their victory parade through the streets of Boston culminated  in a Feel Good party that had grown steadily during their playoff run.  One million was the estimate for the crowd which lined the two mile long parade route from their home ice at Boston Garden to the skyscrapers at Copley Square.

What brings a crowd of one million together to see a bunch of guys hold a big silver trophy over their head on a summer Saturday morning?  Feeling good.  The energy that this team and its supporting franchise was able to generate was palpable.  Watching the Bruins during this stretch was sometimes agonizing but mostly filled with inspiration, anticipation, admiration and just plain fun.  They exhibited some of the better qualities of humanity.  They worked together as a team.  No one player dominated the ice and sought individual glory.  The goalie rose, on several occasions, to a level beyond spectacular.  They were skilled, they were scrappers, they looked like they were having fun.

I sat by my television set watching the parade festivities and knew, in my core, that this was what it was all about — being inspired, being proud, celebrating and savoring an accomplishment earned from years of practice and dedication.  They were all feeling good and in the process Holding the Power of Peace.

I am curious how the city of Boston and the New England region will carry this enthusiasm into the summer.  It would not surprise me to see some unexpected good things come out of this consolidation and building of positive energy.  Let’s keep an eye out.

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Feel Good! I do.

Yahoo!  I jump to my feet and raise my arms in victory, turning to slap a high five with the fan next to me.  Then I begin to clap along with the 5000 other fans as the Pep Band plays the school song.  My husband and I have been U Maine hockey season ticket holders since 1993 so we’re into the fast paced, exhilarating, low fighting style of play in Hockey East. I use this goal scoring scene as my Feel Good Story.  It reminds me of feeling happy, feeling uplifted, of feeling good after seeing the Men’s Hockey Team score a goal.

That yahoo! is the feeling I got at the last The Gathering, a local monthly meditation and discussion meeting focused on raising consciousness, as so many beautiful souls sat in a circle with me and supported the launching and blessing of my book, I Hold the Power of Peace.  I’ve been riding high on that wave of love and appreciation for over a week now.  Many thanks to all who participated.

And Yahoo! was the feeling I had two days ago after weeks of planning and plotting my website www.IHoldthePowerofPeace.com, when my web designer, Jim Dugan, said to me calmly, “There you go, you’re live.”

Yahoo! My self-published book is printed, my website launched and now the heavens will part, right?  Well, they feel like they have for me.

This is my first I Hold the Power of Peace blog post – you get that by now – but it’s also a very definitive step on this almost ten year journey of mine.  On September 12, the day after the fateful attacks on the U.S., I went for a walk to clear my head.  I asked myself how I could help my fellow citizens given the uncertainty and unease in the world.  The answer I got was I Hold the Power of Peace.

We all are a part of this answer.  Creating, holding, and being peace within are overriding goals in my life now.  I understand the significance of creating inner peace first.  I know that whatever I hold within me will radiate naturally to others.  Whatever we all hold travels around the world.

I’m excited to share my ideas with you and hear your thoughts and experiences.  Let’s start with what makes you feel good.  What is it?  How important is it to you?  How often do you do it?

Let us join together to say Hold the Power of Peace.

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