Piece Together Peace

October 27, 2010

At the end of September I received an email from Elizabeth of Threading Light letting me know about a new project that she and co-writer Lisa DeNardo were taking on.

Here is a piece of that email

I wanted to share with you a new project that Lisa and I have launched recently called Piece together Peace.  We are proposing a personal peace movement to take place simultaneously with one that is literally walking through the heart of America beginning 10.10.10 and ending 11.11.11 called the 13 Moon Walk 4 Peace. While it is not practical for everyone to leave their homes and go walking across the US for 13 months, anyone can make an intention for peace in their own life.  So we are asking the blogging community to make a simple intention for peace at the beginning of every month by focusing on one area of their life and sharing their experiences as they do this work.  The idea is to inspire and support each other as we do this peace work.

I was really taken with this project, and I spent some time thinking on what exactly peace means to me in the life that I am living right now. I find that the most peaceful moments in my life lately have been the ones that come from just watching my children enjoying their childhood.

That may sound simple, but children really do hold the key to happiness, to peace, and to a more harmonious world. The simple things that make them laugh, that bring them joy, and that allow them a freedom of expression is not only joyous to watch, but truly awe inspiring as well. Maybe it sounds naive, but I really believe that if we could all live as simply and easily as a child, the world would be no where near as complicated as it is.

Having said that, children seem to be bombarded with so much these days, that it feels as though those peaceful and simple qualities are more limited than when I was a kid. The challenge that I gave myself this past month, in taking part of Piece Together Peace, was to allow for as many moments of childhood as was possible. To put down my computer, to walk away from all the tasks that I put on myself to accomplish, and to just live with my children in their world, rather than trying to prepare them for mine.

I have to admit that in trying this approach, a lot has shifted for my little family. There is nothing major that you can spot, nothing out in the open that seems different, but there is a subtle togetherness that surrounds us in a new way. Work, finances, stress, marriage, relationships, housekeeping, these are things that we all face and that sometimes are surprising in the ways that they prevent us from fully embracing the joys of our own family.

As Joel and I set out to not force those things to go away, but rather to embrace the time with our kids more fully, we both felt that our own relationship with each other has shifted and grown. It is important to us that our kids do not define us by the time we spend on the computer or the phone, but it also important that they feel that we not only schooled them and taught them and cared for them, but that we truly played with them.

It is in the play that the peace occurs. The tossing of leaves for hours, watching them jump from trees into those same leaf piles for as long as they wanted us to, and sitting back and choosing to be fully present in those moments, that is where we found the peace.

When my oldest child wakes early in the morning, instead of sending him out to work on a project, I have gotten up and worked on one with him. It has gone from sleep I felt that I felt I was missing, to the best part of my morning. Instead of encouraging the kids to play a game with each other, I have tried to get down and play one with them every chance I could get. Instead of knitting while they are in the backyard climbing trees or playing hide and go seek, I have gotten involved (to the extent that I can) in their imaginative play. I may not always be right in the thick of what they are doing, but I am not just observing anymore, and that has felt much different.

We all work hard, and in so many ways we believe that we have to live within the stressful confines that the world puts on us, but choosing to seek out peace through the children we love so much is the best reminder that we get to choose the lives that we lead, and the way that we lead them. We can create peace by allowing as many opportunities for our children to find joy, and in doing so create a world of leaders for the next generation who will hopefully feel more connected to each other and the world they inhabit.

It may not be much, but it certainly has made a difference.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy October 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

What a beautiful idea! Your photos are lovely, as always. It looks like your family is definitely enjoying the leaves. :)

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Julia B October 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Such truth. Bless you for stopping and breathing it in. {Sigh}. Thank you for sharing this because in our hearts – we all know this to be true. Shutting the world and its demands out is a mighty difficult and important endeavour! As it is said, Peace be with you and your family! 😉

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PlainandJoyfulLiving October 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm

This gives much for me to think about. I observe and support my children much throughout their days – as well as encourage and give ideas. I don't fully engage in their play very often now that they have the older ones to guide the little ones much of the time. I think it would be a good idea for me to play more with them. When we read together or dance together, I do find myself completely at peace and perhaps this would also occur during times of play.
Thanks for sharing

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ItsLily October 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm

This is beautiful and exactly right. I would like to share something my middle son shared with me 20 years ago while I was struggling with being a single parent after a divorce from their father. I was worried about not being able to give them enough of me when he said, "mom, you do things with us. Dad just does stuff for us." Serious words of wisdom so I would say you have it exactly right.

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Kelly October 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

what a great reminder (as usual). thanks!

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Anna October 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Such beauty, simplicity and understanding in your words. You've given me something to think about today.

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Angela October 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Lovely, lovely, lovely-what a great reminder! It is so hard to shut out all of the have-to's. I think I get stuck in the have-to mindset easily. Taking a breath and playing a little will be better for all of us and I think maybe even create more mind and time space (if that makes any sense)!

Peace to you,
Angela

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Lisa Q October 27, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I agree with you Heather, that when we can fully be with our children, there is peace there. It's when I'm trying to do too many things at one time that I often feel frazzled. Thanks for the reminder that I need to be 'with' my kids fully!

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kerry October 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Yes, fully participating is something that I need to be so much better at. I am slowly realizing what a gift it will be for me and for my children. Thank you for sharing your experience!

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sandee October 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I have experienced bits and pieces of this too with my kids. I have spent more time reading books with the girls, playing cards with my oldest son, and playing a board game with my middle son. Just stepped away from my to do list, and did it. And it has brought peace…along with a little love and joy

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Ariana October 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm

How I love this blog, Heather. You always seem to express so eloquently what has been simmering in my mind for some time. Things have been going a bit rough with my little one in the last few weeks (a combination of her desire to test the limits of her growing freedom, and my feeling overwhelmed and little burnt out as a single mama). After reading you post this morning, I scrapped all the plans I had for what "needed" to get done today, and instead went outside and played in the mud with my sweet little bird. I soon found my laughter joining hers. In that one act, I think we both found not only peace, but joy.

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Rose October 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Beautiful! Thank you! I have really need a reminder to just sit back and ENJOY right now.

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Melinda Taylor-Kelly October 27, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Children are amazing source of peace and joy. My children bring a smile to me daily, even when it is a bad day. Thank you for sharing this and also for reminding me that I need to stop and just be with my kids. It is the little things that are important in life.

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kendra October 27, 2010 at 10:14 pm

i agree – a great reminder! i need to set my peaceful intentions for november!

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Lovely World October 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Important post. I try to remind myself to simply LOOK at my children's faces when they are talking to me, or I am talking to them. So often, I know, I am really not listening to what they are saying because I am so caught up in my own mind chatter.

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Sachi October 28, 2010 at 12:58 am

This is a really wonderful post. I too have been trying to be more present to my children these days–more playing, more painting, more time. And it is amazing how much more I enjoy my days and in the end it seems that i get the same amount done!

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peacebeginsathome October 28, 2010 at 3:08 am

YES!!! It means so much to our children when we really play with them. I try to spend time being really present with my girls every day, to join in their play and let them lead. And peace in the world has so much to do with what is happening in every home and every family.

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a little crafty nest October 28, 2010 at 4:56 am

Oh, yes indeed! This is something I find that every once in a while, I get caught up in my world, and I need to distance myself from my world, and jump with both feet into theirs. For truly, they really are my world. And all that other stuff can wait. Thanks for the reminders.
xo Jules

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Valarie October 28, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Thank you Heather for sharing you little corner of created peace. It's such a huge thing that you are doing. Not only are you at peace but your whole family is at peace. Just think how many other people you are affecting from you peaceful bliss. I love playing with my children. Our motto is "Grow in size but keep your heart of a child." I love this post. It gives such great feelings.

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wisdomofthesages October 28, 2010 at 4:47 pm

beautiful Heather

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Earth Mama October 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

What a beautiful reminder. In fact this very thing was on my mind yesterday. Hawthorn wanted to go for a bike ride, even though it was a bit drizzly out, and kept insisting, so my husband got everyone together and off they went. I thought I would get some "stuff" done on my brief break, but I kept feeling the nag of wanting to just go with them and forget the chores at the time. It turns out on their walk they saw two giant rainbows. Next time, I am going to remember this! Stuff can always wait, but our children grow up to darn fast! Thanks for joining us Heather. Your words are always a blessing to read.

:)Lisa

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Sarah October 29, 2010 at 3:13 am

Thank you. I have felt it layed upon my heart to stop all the "stuff" and just "be" and "do" with my family. I thank God for this post that you so honestly wrote.

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agambroult October 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm

your words are so true. I think I could take a cue from you, and walk away from my "stuff" a little more often.This is such an inspiration. thanks for the reminder.

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emmalina73 October 30, 2010 at 12:22 am

This post seems really significant to me. This same idea is something that has been in my mind recently as I become aware of a distance between myself and my littles during a stressful time of moving, loss and change. I know if I can engage and throw myself into our interactions instead of creating distance so many issues will drift away. I find myself longing for the days where I don't have to think about packing, moving, cleaning and major upheaval. Where I can spend my days in the moment, sharing the day with my children. What bliss.

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molly October 31, 2010 at 4:00 am

Heather, this is just beautiful.

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Nicola @ Which Name? November 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I think as many of us are parents/mothers, many of us would agree with you. I do.
Nicola

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