Thursday, September 22, 2011

We are the Tide, We are our Actions

This week was a funny week for the year of letters. I know that I forgot to write letters on 2 days (within the past 10 days), just because I've been quite busy. Working during the day, meditation and yoga on the weekends, is abundance, but free time has not been in abundance and hence my slack in letter writing.

And forgetting - then realize that I forgot - is an exercise in mindfulness too, I suppose!

I'm finding that mornings and afternoons are the best time for met to write letters. If I leave it to be the last thing I do all day, the letter suffers.

Today I received some exciting mail (though not part of the letter writing project, per se): the new Blind Pilot superfan set! (It wasn't officially called the superfan set, but I think only a superfan would order it). They just released a new album called We are the Tide. It included an autographed lyric book, CD, vinyl, T-shirt, AND a beautiful copy of the album artwork signed by the artist. So beautiful!

Getting stuff in the mail is fun, even if it's stuff you bought! (And if you haven't heard Blind Pilot's new album - go check it out!)

There's been a lot of talk about the post office cuts. Cuts, cuts everywhere. Granted, I don't really think we need Saturday service (who wants to get a bill on a Saturday?), and our mail service is superfast - something I've become particularly aware of since starting this project. However, I greatly appreciate the post office and hate to hear that it is among the government agencies that are struggling right now

This week was International Day of Peace (Sept. 21). I participated in the minute of silence at noon, which was intended to be like a wave of peace and compassion that swept across the planet for 24 hours. In that minute, thousands of people across regions and hemispheres were honoring the day of peace. I hope that it will inspire more than just the day - peace needs more than a day, it needs a lifetime.

I've been thinking about how letters could be related to peace. I suppose the aspects of spreading love and joy and cultivating mindfulness are absolutely peace-related. I was also thinking about writing letters FOR peace - as in, writing letters to world leaders.

When I was a kid, I was a prolific letter writer, and not just to people I knew. I frequently wrote to public officials to tell them what I thought (I once wrote to Sophie Maslof, then mayor of Pittsburgh, to ask for a pro basketball team. How little I knew about politics or sports...). I haven't done it so much in adulthood, but do send the occasional email to my representatives. I wonder if a handwritten letter would be more effective. I think this week I will set is as a goal to try!

And maybe to President Obama. I thought his speech about peace at the UN yesterday was great - if only it was more than words. If our actions - as a nation, as a world - aligned with his speech, we would have peace. Perhaps just having those words (abolishing nuclear weapons, Palestinian statehood, universal human rights) be said by the President of the United States is a big step (certainly a big step from the cowboy diplomacy of the Bush years). I hope that in my lifetime we can align our actions with his words.

Aligning words and actions was something that Thich Nhat Hanh talked a lot about at the mindfulness retreat. He said that the answer to the question, "Who am I?" is: your actions. When our actions reflect the right view and are coherent with our speech and thoughts, then "everything you do will be an expression of love."

When you think about that idea, you are your actions, doesn't it make you want to make the best actions possible? Doesn't it make you want all of your actions to be an expression of love?

If you are your actions, who are you?

If we are the tide, could we create a tide of peace, joy, compassion and love with our actions, a tide to sweep across the planet? I think we can!

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