A DWELLING FOR PEACE


INSIGHT: A CALL TO PRAYER AND PEACE

By Marisol B.

This little project wants to focus on the beauty that this life reveals in so many ways (sometimes evidently, while others barely visible); yet, there is also the awareness of the reality that many things don't go well. Our senses get to witness tragic images of war, violence and destruction.

It is easy to be discouraged, or even attempt to come up with answers that give a glimpse of justice and resolution (some more objective than others).

Several years ago, I wrote a few words regarding our desire for peace, as we get to witness horrific images and injustices towards humanity. While I pondered about a specific event, I added:

"I believe that the most powerful action towards such situation is first and foremost prayer, because God is the only one with enough power to soften the callous hearts of those involved. We know; however, that apart from putting things in the hands of those who know best, a good part is within our own hands. I personally do not consider myself to be wonder woman; able to rescue the entire human race; therefore, I do my part greatly by being at peace with those who surround me. That is where everything begins; right at the nucleus.

It is interesting to witness how we suffer for the world and wish to attain peace, when we fail to get along with our own family, neighbors, or those who happen to cross our path. We have all fallen into this behavior every once in a while, and that is why I hope that we more deeply reflect upon this and do our part."

Given the fact that the above words were written after the 09/11 event in the US, I then wrote:

"We were asked to create a visual with one word that would describe what had happened, and the word I chose was SEARCH:

Because we are in SEARCH of whoever is responsible of such atrocity; we are in SEARCH of the people trapped inside what remains of the tall structures; in SEARCH of answers, solutions, our identity as humans, and an explanation.

We search for many things, and we will continue to do so; however, I diligently pray that we SEARCH in the right place; that we search within ourselves, and find the right answers; because, he who finds himself, finds something else. He finds peace and true happiness."

This weekend, I am reminded to do my part. To PRAY and to be filled with love, that I may understand suffering, spring into right action, be filled with compassion, and make a difference; no matter how small.

I invite you to join me in #prayer

A couple of years ago, I was getting ready in the morning as I listened to music. When Anna Nalick's song Breath (2AM) came on, I thought about how perfectly "Just Breathe" could be adapted to the words "Just Pray", and that is how a little song was born. If you would like to read the words and apply them to your own reflection, you can find them RIGHT HERE.

A BIRTHDAY REFLECTION

THOUGHTS ON THE MANY ASPECTS OF LIFE TO BE CELEBRATED

BY: MARISOL B.

BEAUTIFUL IMAGE VIA LEUIE

I woke up to a new day and to the celebration of another beautiful year. It has been a bit rainy; which is quite wonderful, as it makes for a great metaphor of life and growth.

I wanted to remain within warm and cozy covers, and as I laid reading kind birthday wishes from family and friends, I had an interior voice that invited me to spring out of bed and begin living the day.

As I allowed some light to enter the different rooms, I was suddenly reminded of a little song with the following lyrics:

A vivir, a vivir, a vivir; que la vida se te va, se te va, se te va; son tus días nada más, nada más, nada más; no los dejes escapar, escapar, escapar….

(Time to live, to live, to live, for life slips away, away, away; these days are only yours, only yours, only yours; do not let them escape, escape, escape…)

I was left with a feeling of great joy; for this is a little tune that I once heard my mother sing, when I was a young child. I quickly understood that she had subtly delivered her birthday wishes, and my heart kept the message within a place to be remembered.

We are what we celebrate, and I would like to celebrate the great gift of life and the opportunity to follow my individual purpose and mission.

After breakfast, I came across a little video of a generous lady who helped people in dire need. At first; compassion filled my mind and I had a couple of reflections, but I then allowed compassion to get into my heart and I was left with the clear reminder that there is much work to do. There is much beauty to be restored within this world and I must be more diligent in my mission.

I would like to invite you to join me, to be a little instrument for good; a light for others.

We are what we celebrate…… cheers to life!

A TALE OF FORGIVENESS


PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: By Marisol B.

LETTERING: By Ian Barnard as part of his recent project Inkwell

when you have a bad day; a really bad day, try and treat the world better than it treated you.
— Patrick Stump

I write these lines after a few days of event styling. Despite my tired body and mind, I look back with joy; given the beautiful results of the project. It is; however, a particular experience within the design process that I feel inspired to share.

A few months ago, I was printing a few graphics and I requested help from one of the staff members at a printing company. My request pertained to a specific type of paper offered as an option in the past; however, a usually lovely lady insisted that this particular paper was not offered as an option unless I paid an unreasonable amount for it. What she mentioned seemed out of the ordinary - this was not my first time printing there, and my tired-self frowned upon it; instead of just asking for simple clarification.

I decided to go back at a later time when I had all necessary materials on hand; but as I left, I knew I had not been the most pleasant person to the lady assisting, so I felt a bit silly. I knew I would have to go back to the same establishment eventually, and my pride crunched my heart.

The following time I went back to the same printer, I was assisted by a very lovely staff member and I left with everything that was needed and more. I was grateful, but somehow, I still remembered my previous incident with the other employee.

This week, as I worked on yet another project, I noticed that the one person available to help, was the lady previously mentioned, and filled with pride, I went about my business; however, my heart knew there was a little corner that needed to persevere in love; especially in the small opportunities one is given.

As I began to make some paper cuts, I realized that I was short on time, so I inquired about help for a particular stack of items. She provided a very dry "yes", and proceeded to announce the price for each cut, to which I peacefully replied with a "yes please, that would be wonderful."

At that point, I went back to finish cutting the rest of my items and she began to work on the stack I provided. As I made progress, I began to reflect on whether it would be appropriate to clarify the confusion, we both had a few weeks ago, and let her know I was sorry if I sounded a bit stressed.

After completing my task, I approached the counter and she walked towards me with a worried look. She asked whether I had brought extra paper as she had made a mistake with the cuts and ruined the job. I calmly added that I did not have any extra paper, but would not mind using some of theirs to reprint the job. She showed me the options and one of them included the same type of paper that originated tension on my previous visit.

After I re-printed everything and she made the correct cuts, she apologized and added that she would not charge for them. She said it had been a long day and her eyes were a bit teary. I told her not to worry at all; that I understood perfectly well, as we have all experienced those kind of days.

As I left the place, I was deeply grateful for the opportunity to reconnect humanly with her. I was glad we were both given the opportunity for humility and rectification.

What a great peace is felt when we practice compassion towards one another; regardless of our own little battles and sense of urgency.

A simple lesson of forgiveness within ordinary events of life...

THE BEAUTY OF COMPASSION


  Image by P. Wiggers via UNHCR     

Image by P. Wiggers via UNHCR

 

EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF EXPERIENCING TRUE COMPASSION

“Welcome to the country which has no flags and does not appear in maps, a country where tourists do not arrive. You do not need a passport or a visa to live there; you only need to have lost it all.”

This is the introduction of a documentary presented by UNHCR Spain in collaboration with director Fernando León de Aranoa and actress Elena Anaya. It is a window into the way of life within Ethiopian refugee camps, where thousands of Sudanese and Somalie refugees are sheltered.

As the trailer for the above documentary ends, a little girl voices to the audience "WELCOME TO MY COUNTRY". An imaginary country of over 45 million and increasing in numbers.

A country of mothers, children, fathers, brothers; separated from some of those whom they love, due to the need to flee from a highly dangerous situation. They find themselves in need of food, shelter and a way to communicate with those who were left behind.

Looking at the conditions of life and the stories behind each person, there are different possible reactions from someone who watches from afar.

One could be moved to pity and helplessly carry on, or one could identify their suffering with our own; allowing us to reach a level of compassion.

As I watched other stories from refugee camps around the world, I found images of people with similar living arrangements. Beautiful mothers holding their children, families playing together within their small shelter, children smiling as they held books or backpacks which would help them go to school (none of which would be possible, without the generosity of many).

Through each one of these images, I found myself and each one of you.

While we are all living different realities; based on individual circumstances, we do not live so distant from theirs, since we have all experienced suffering to some degree. Each mother knows the pain of seeing a little one cry, and a parent knows the pain of not being able to provide.

Each one of us knows; that despite of circumstances, there is always an opportunity to forge ahead, to grow and give to others.

Everyone can learn to experience true compassion; which does not seek pity as much as it seeks understanding. 

The documentary directed by Aranoa on Ethiopian camps showcases the great ongoing needs of refugees. Other camps have already created small businesses and commerce; such as the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, with a market avenue nicknamed Champs-Élysées , or the beauty salon in Uganda, which brings confidence and hope to Congolese refugee women.

Each one of us can be deeply compassionate and take action.

If you are in a position to help; move forward, if you are in a position to pray; do it. Each of us is in a position to act; no matter how small, there is always something that can be done. Even when there is not much to change, love and compassion are the great transforming virtues that allow us to live a beautiful life filled with dignity.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

01. Do I feel the need to help, but pass on the opportunity thinking that someone else will do it in my place?

02. Do I realize that each one of us is called to be generous and take action?

03. Do I identify with the human pain of strangers in hard situations as I would with my close friends + family?

RESOURCES TO TAKE ACTION:

There is always a need for all refugees and at the moment there is a great immediate one for Syrian ones.

You may visit the following agencies for information on how to help:

UN Refugee Agency

(Syria Emergency)

World Vision

(3 facts you should know about the Syrian Refugee Crisis)

Refugees International