Breathe in Focus, Hold, Think.  Breathe out.  Smile and say “Ahhhhh” or thank you.


Five great enemies to peace inhabit with us:  avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride.  If those enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.  

Francesco Petrarch, Italian poet

ABOUT THIS PHOTO  So how does one banish the enemies of peace?  When I went looking for quotes to introduce this topic,  most talked about finding peace within as the first step.  Many said meditation was the way to peace within.  When I looked for pictures, this one was the first I found that I thought “Might work.”

Cranky Old Man took this on our journey west to become Cranky Old Cowfolk.  That was back in 2009.  We traveled down the Atlantic Coach, stopping here and there.  This stop was in South Carolina on one of the many plantations open to give the public wanting a glimpse of life in the old South.  I am not a great museum viewer, don’t like a lot of sight-seeing, particularly if it involves standing quietly, walking miles,  and listening  quietly to a guide surrounded by other people.  A failing I know and one that has worsened as my feet grow crankier.   Anyway, Cranky Old Man had gone off to a lecture of some sort and  I settled down to un-crank on the huge porch, got out my knitting and un-cranked.

Back to meditation for a moment.  One of the reasons I am cranky is that I am hyperactive.   Never really diagnosed, but as a mental health professional I have diagnosed myself, I know the symptoms.   And yes, I know on my Shrinks Think posts I tell all not to do that.  But Cranky Old Ladies can break all rules even their own. Any way being hyper means not liking to sit, stand, or in any other way stay still.  Made meditating hard.

Don’t like to meditate?  You might be a bit hyper.  Don’t diagnose yourself,  you aren’t old enough or cranky enough.  However, you can rate yourself on how comfortable you are at sitting, standing, or staying still, what one is supposed to do when meditating.   I had my graduate students do that by standing as if in the armed services, but in the at ease posture.  Stand that way for three minutes.  Don’t move, don’t look around, just stand quietly.  Here is the rating:

  1. No desire to move, you probably meditate with ease
  2. Fleeting thoughts of moving quickly sent on their way, you are still probably able to meditate with ease.
  3. Think reasonable often of moving, the norm particularly if not someone who has learned to meditate
  4. Must concentrate not to move, feel uncomfortable, want to scream.  Probably hyper.
  5. Cannot do, move.  Probably hyper and if experiencing difficulties at school or work, might want to see a mental health professional.

Somewhere on the way to becoming a Cranky Old Lady, I figured out the way I could meditate was by adding some small movement.  sitting in a rocking chair is one way to add movement.  Knitting is another.   At  long meetings, which can make anyone cranky,  I folded Peace Cranes–sometimes unseen and  under the table, sometimes openly.  When giving workshops I always had  stuff for coloring or doodling.  People often said that was the best part of ny workshop.  No, that is an exaggeration, as that would have been rude and people coming to my workshops were never rude, never.  Too scared of me.  Nevertheless people did come up personally to thank me for the coloring materials.

As an aside, I think I got the coloring idea from Bruce Perry. a shrink who says he never interviews a child without a coloring book and both  color as he talks and asks questions.   Even at my crankiest I like to give credit where credit is due. Thank you, Bruce Perry.

Confession:  I wasn’t as peaceful as I looked.  My bleeding heart, liberal self was cranking about slavery and how too many still find a peaceful way of life while ignoring the horrors others face or worse enslaving them in one way or another.  And, of course, everything was prettified and romanticized while the plantation owners were reaping in the most money.  End of crank.

THINKING ABOUT WHAT MATTERS  Finding peace isn’t easy.  Extremely hard in a world that is dividing.  Cranky Old Lady was born before the start of WWII, lived through those horrors, was proud of my country, proud of the way we made our enemies our friends.  I relished the Civil Rights, Women’s Liberation and Gay Rights movements.  Tolerance grew and hope lived.

I remain hopeful, but less so.  I am saddened by the hatred sprewing back and forth on so many fronts.  The  media thrives on fomenting hatred and the world is in great danger because we know longer “Allow peace a chance.”

STAYING STRONG TIP  Going a bit against the idea that you have to find peace within, I suggest you work for peace without.  One way is to get to know your enemy better.  Don’t define anyone as an enemy.  Good for you.  Then get to know the Other’s better.  Others are the people you don’t normally hang out with.  Let’s get political as an example.  I am definitely a bleeding heart liberal.  Ask Cranky Old Man.  He is pissed I am a registered Democrat.  Because he is of the opposite ilk, I spend lots of time with the opposition.  So if you are a Tea Party Person, don’t read your usual posts, read Bleeding Heart Liberal Posts.

Here is the big way to make that a step toward peace.  You have to read not looking for all the things you disagree, but looking for what you agree on.  The main point of difference between the two parties seems to be how  to achieve peace and prosperity, how not to be hated by the rest of the world, how to end war.  And yes the how to can lead to lots of fighting.  So go a step further toward peace.  Look for commonalities in the how to get where we all want to go.

Staying strong is about coding reality and that requires stepping out of your opinions.  When you most think you are right, you are probably most wrong.

End of a cranky Be With Beauty Post.

STAYING STRONG TIP: Share, like, and care.  Help me, yourself, and others get and stay strong.

Image by me:  Don’t want to be a tiresome Cranky Old Lady, and just focus on myself. Do email your ideas about Peace and Peaceable.   Email them to me as  jig peg attachment at [email protected]. If you want to add a comment, will make me happy.

It has to be your picture and pleae let me know how to identify you.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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