Breathe in Focus, Hold, Think. Breathe out. Smile and say “Ahhhhh” or thank you.
365/6 PHOTO CHALLENGE –TOPIC OF THE WEEK–PEACEFUL
Breathing in “I have arrived”; Breathing out “I am home”
Breathing in “In the here”; Breathing out “In the now”
Breathing in “I am solid”; Breathing out “I am free”
Breathing in “In the ultimate”; Breathing out “I dwell”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Walking Meditation at Plum Village in France
ABOUT THIS PHOTO The Rainbow Labyrinth is one of four labyrinths I funded in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. If you have read Jonathan Kozel’s Amazing Grace or Tom Wolfe’s Bon Fire of the Vanities, you know a bit about Mott Haven. But as with all of life, life in Mott Haven is not as depicted in books or the movies. Mott Haven is full of wonderful people, overflows with children, hope–many residents are new immigrants as well as the crime, poverty, and hopelessness both the above books portray.
Two of the wonderful people I met there were seeking to build a labyrinth. Harry Bubbins and Arianne Burgess. I partnered with them to fund the Rainbow Labyrinth and three other, and one portable labyrinth we took to health fairs. The funding for the Community Mental Health Programs I directed came from a federal government System of Care grant. The grant included some discretionary funds for “community building”.
The Rainbow Labyrinth was the first. Arianne painted it on abandoned baseball court in a small area called Brooke Park. Harry use part of the lot for urban gardening. He hoped to see a permanent labyrinth built. Sad fact of life: you have to go where the funding is and there is more funding for gardens, so Brooke Park is now a community garden and a wonderful place for the people living in Mott Haven.
The five years we had the labyrinth there it also served the neighbors and children well and helped the reclaim an abandoned lot for the community. My staff named our labyrinth projects Camino de Paz, and that also became the name of Arianne’s labyrinth building business.
Two more permanent Labyrinths exist, one in a housing project in Mott Haven that was built by the Housing Authority after seeing the one at Brooke Park. Then the one that will live longest is in Battery Park near the World Trade Center. That was build by the Parks Department also after seeing the ones in Mott Haven. Visit it if you are in the city. It looks out over several war memorials. When I walked it, I usually thought how hard it is the give peace a chance. Here is a picture of it:
THINKING ABOUT WHAT MATTERS Finding peace isn’t easy. Extremely hard in a world that is dividing as our seems to be doing. Families working together, people helping people, children being put in touch with nature, urban gardens, growing your own food. This may not bring world peace, but make for peace within for many.
STAYING STRONG TIP When angry, a walking meditation can cool you down. Pair it with a calming slogan. I use “It is all all right” as mine. I stumped and crank, grumble and groan, might even curse in my mind; but I keep saying my slogan and walking, as I cool down, I slow down, eventually the anger departs and peace returns.
ANOTHER STAYING STRONG TIP: Share, like, and care. Help me, yourself, and others get and stay strong.
Image from the Camino de Paz website. 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 Emotfit@live.com. 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.