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Blessed are the peace makers.

Several days ago I woke feeling a need to write about peace. And struggling with how. Because I was angry about the war in Gaza, and what appears to me to be blatant genocide (more than 30,000 Palestinians killed now, nearly 3/4 reported to be women and children.) And more disturbingly, genocide directed by the Prime Minister of a people who should understand and be merciful, given the horrific history of their own treatment less than a century ago.

So, now I have put that out on the table. I am not writing this entry to talk politics or to argue. I am writing because as a small business owner, I have been quiet for a time, afraid that as a healing practitioner and doula, I might come across as aggressive and angry- two energies that do not belong in a healing space- and lose credence in my community. However, I am nothing if not honest, and sitting by quietly does not suit me. And as a healing practitioner, I have a moral obligation to care for and help others.

So, I wrestled with how to write about a situation that is heart wrenching and tremendously important for us as One world to address. And then I joined a group of people from around the world convening online in Pathways Toward Peace, hosted by The Foundation for Shamanic Studies Europe, in which we "review the transcultural notion of pilgrimages (from Latin peregrinari, 'to walk in foreign lands') from a strict core-shamanic perspective and utilise it to build peace."

Downtown between my house and my office at the Laramie Plains Civic Center is St. Matthew's Cathedral. On the grounds of the church is a small brick labyrinth I've been meaning to stop and walk for at least a couple years. Following our meeting that day, I was inspired to make my pilgrimage to the labyrinth.

In the process of walking the maze in a strong breeze under a weak sun, I meditated on my personal struggle and what I can do to help build peace. My thoughts began to unfold, and questions arose, along with the inkling I need to commit to regular visits to the labyrinth to continue the process.

I walked out understanding that all our parts, no matter how small we think they are and how big we wish they could be, are important, and that action may take time if it is to be right action. As I walked back to the office, I passed St. Laurence O'Toole Catholic Church, a block up from the labyrinth at St. Matthew's. There on the corner stand stones with The Beatitudes inscribed on them. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven," leapt out at me, and I considered that phrase, the fact that there are many Christian churches in Laramie and a Muslim Center right across the street from LPCC, and that focusing on refamiliarizing with my community- and The Beatitudes, would help prepare me for my next walk in the maze.

Not only are the peacemakers and the merciful blessed according to The Beatitudes, spoken in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12) and the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-23), but the term "righteousness" arises twice within.

Righteousness is defined by dictionaries as "acting in accord with divine or moral law, free from guilt or sin, or morally right or justifiable," "the quality of being right (upright), just or fair," and "a state of moral and ethical uprightness, honesty and virtue." And philosophies and religions which value righteousness include Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Taoism.

So much food for thought. And a meditative space to chew on it right down the street.

Whatever your philosophy, religion or practice, I encourage you to consider peace and how you can- or do- contribute to building a safer, saner and more peaceful world.

Thank you. Peace be with you.

(Image below is from the St. Matthew's Cathedral Facebook page.)

Labyrinth at St. Matthew's Cathedral
Labyrinth at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Laramie WY

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