Tag Archives: Nature

A Letter for Peace to my Child

Dear {Insert top secret, hotly-debated name choice},

You don’t exist yet, at least not here. I don’t know when you’ll be a part of our lives, but I know deep down you will be. My mom, your grandmother, has this story of how she almost drowned before I was born. As she looked up through the water, she knew she had to stay, she saw two children, a girl and a boy. I’ve seen you in much the same way.

You appear in my dreams in circumstances I cannot attribute to just my overactive imagination. You love your dad and share rituals with him I do not understand, especially when it is time for a nap. I’ve felt you in my body, healthy and ready to be born. Others have seen you too. Your dad, your great aunt’s mom, my mom’s friend. They all know you’ll be here soon even when I myself am not sure how many years from now we’re really talking. Sometimes you feel near, others you feel worlds away.

This big introduction is not the point of my letter. Today I am writing to you about peace as part of a monthly challenge to create more peace in the world. When I considered who I would like to write, you popped into my mind. You see, when I was a little girl, your grandfather used to be involved in local politics. He wrote this letter to the editor that I have kept in a little box, the paper now yellowed, but his words even more significant than I could have ever understood then. He talked about wanting a life where his children had clean air and water.

That’s my vision of peace for you. A life in a place where the air and water are clean. Your grandmother will tell you all kinds of reasons why this is a challenge– but some places are still cleaner than others and it is my dream you will end up there. It’s a simple wish, but this world you will soon visit is full of a lot of chaos and trouble. Some people decide not to have children for this reason, but I feel you have made the decision to arrive for yourself. We all have lessons here and I could go on to envision a world full of peace for you, but the reality is that people have created chaos for centuries, millenniums maybe.

The best I can do is promise I will work hard to teach you how to find peace within yourself and pursue a life where you help to create peace for others, too. That is what I have begun to discover for myself, so it is what I will offer you as your mother. Those words feel strange, me someone’s mother, but I know you’re out there– whether you will truly be born through me or someone else, you will be part of our family, one day, and you have a magnificent group of people, family and friends (and dogs!), who will help you navigate this world where both inner and outer peace take effort.

As I wrote that last line, I could see all the smiling faces that await you, especially your Uncle Seamus. He promises to take you on some good adventures and bring you back in one piece– with an even deeper love of nature than anyone else could give you. A few tears and smiles were shed as I wrote all these words, but they are true. Of all the monthly peace challenges, this one has affected me most deeply. Our children, whether they be truly ours or ones we help to raise as teachers, aunts, uncles, friends, are our greatest contribution to peace.

This letter just made me all the more excited to meet you one day.

Much love,

Your mother

My wish for you is a deep love of nature and peace through this love.

My wish for you is a deep love of nature and peace through this love.

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Trees are still my friends.

It’s funny what stands out to us. Ever since I was a little girl, I always noticed trees. If there was a tree in our yard, I climbed as high as I could and sat and watched the world from above. I would push the palm of my hand against the tree’s bark and feel connected.

Moving from place to place, I often felt alone, but the trees were my friends. Even as a young teenager, I’d climb up the branches and find a spot to sit and write. Often I climbed too high, regretting my decision as I clung to the branches on my way down. I had tree houses, tree swings, tree benches in the sky. I loved trees. They told me things. Like it was okay that we cut them down as long as we were grateful and used them wisely.

When we moved into our first house a few years ago, I was in awe of all the old trees in our neighborhood. From any window in my house, I could sit and stare at their magnificent branches. It truly was my favorite feature of our established neighborhood, the glorious old trees that guarded our little home, their leaves changing colors in the fall then reappearing again to signal spring.

One of the things I have noticed about slowing down to be more present is the trees. They stand out again to me. Not that they ever disappeared, but now they have returned to play a role in my daily life. At home, the spot I do my yoga and seated meditation looks up at the magnificent branches of an old tree. An altar more meaningful to me than any I could create.

At school, the trees remind me to breathe and that life is beautiful, even on tough days. The trees where we line up outside my classroom, their leaves amazing shades of red and orange call to me daily that life is precious, giving me a moment’s rest even as little voices sneak a few words in my line. There are also a set of trees down an old corridor of our previously Catholic girls school that may be the most beautiful sight on earth. A sea of pale yellow leaves beneath white bark on an old brick walkway, stunning.

What reminds you to stop and be? For me, it’s obviously the trees.

Meet my yoga tree. Staring at it day-to-day, I feel calm and amazed how much changes overnight.

Meet my yoga tree. From the floor, this is what I see. Staring at it day-to-day, I feel calm and amazed by how much changes overnight.

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Everything is a miracle.

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

-Albert Einstein

I came across this quote a couple weeks ago and let it sit in my document of random thoughts. It’s hard to always live your life as though everything is a miracle. Driving home from my mom’s house a couple weeks ago, I did. Even the trash blowing down the side of the freeway in the autumn sunset was somehow beautiful, the rain on my dirty windshield meaningful.

I’m slowly learning to live this way more often. It requires conscious thought, work, and desire. However, when achieved, everything starts to make a little more sense. Everything is more alive. I have always had little mantras for those moments I most need them. Today is the best day of my life was one for an entire summer. Now they change more frequently. Last week, my students are a gift. Yesterday, you are safe. Today, everything is a miracle.

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