Imagine the world without anger, without greed. We have the power, the tools, the skills and the resources right now to build a peaceful world, where people live in harmony with the Earth and each other. This blog explores ways we are doing just that, one post, one change, one day at a time. Join me. Tell your stories. Ask for help. Spread your ideas for making the vision real and, well, ordinary.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

San Francisco turns green for St. Patrick's day while we stand for peace

All around us, messes like this; look closely
to see the Irish flag flying over City Hall doors
© L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved
The plaza is crammed with trucks and cars when we arrive for our stand this morning. A green, white and orange Irish flag flutters languidly over City Hall's main doors.

Weary, drugged and sick homeless, who normally would be huddled in soggy sleeping bags after a rainy night, are mostly gone, displaced by red, white, blue--and a few green--canopies under which sleepy-eyed hawkers busily lay out their wares and goodies.

White sweet potato pie, crab garlic fries, and Verizon phones, vie for our attention. I'm heartened to see the greenest, most Irish looking booth on the plaza is owned by Zip Cars--selling a greener lifestyle on the greenest day of the year.

No busloads of tourists offload this morning, no gaggles of gawkers taking pictures of each other in front of San Francisco's storied dome.

We smile, though, when a happy family of five pauses to take pictures of one another posing artfully next to an adjacent tree. Their laughter lightens our hearts, makes us smile. Sharon says out loud, "All it takes is one happy person to change the mood." I think, yes, I want to remember that next time I'm in a difficult situation.

Green-Haired Tuba Player passes
by as we leave the plaza
© L Kathryn Grace
All rights reserved
Sharon and I chatter frequently this morning, our silence continuously broken, like our concentration, by the bustle, odd characters and blaring country music from the loudspeakers on the bright red booth next to us. Continuously we return to our meditation, soon breaking into conversation yet again.

This festive, temporary tent city surrounding us represents tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of products made overseas by sweatshop workers, and a considerable quantity of greasy, GMO-laced food.

Thousands of people will wander through today, many celebrating our mutual Irish heritage. Others here to sample the food and wares, listen to the speeches and live music, and ogle the costumes and characters.

In one of my silent interludes, I pray for peace in the plaza, that all who come here will be blessed and energized by the camaraderie.

In another, I imagine what it would be like to come here by the thousands once a year, not to celebrate our heritage, but to celebrate peace. What booths would we erect? What wares would we hawk? Where would they have been made, and by whom? Would the foods we offered be healthy, locally grown with care for the soil, air and water on which we all depend, and just as delightful to our taste buds as the offerings here today?

How would we celebrate the peace we are making in our lives and our world? What speeches would our dignitaries make? What songs might we sing? Would we dance? Would we laugh? Would we meditate together, a throng of thousands, in silence for a time?

It takes just a little shift to move from a celebration plied with near-slave-made doo-dads and clothing, and food that, studies increasingly show, poisons our bodies, to an event filled with products manufactured by companies who care about the well-being of their employees, and filled with nourishing, whole food grown and harvested sustainably, prepared by people who love the art of cooking and feeding as much as they love profit.

Despite the clamor and bang around us, despite our inability to stay focused on our meditation practice this morning, I feel peace in my heart, gratitude for the individuals working so hard to make today's celebration safe, fun and happy for the people of our town.

May you feel so blessed wherever and with whomever you may be.


We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.


Dee said...

Dear Kathryn, You always make me think. I become meditative after reading your postings. I've thought of what a peace academy might offer students but not about a festival of peace. Thank you for expanding my thoughts and my horizons.

I spent an hour on the couch Saturday morning from 11 to 12 (CDT). I let my mind consider all those who have brought peace and contentment into my life. A long list. I am blessed.


Sharon said...

A festival of peace... My first thought is to imagine thousands standing in the plaza, thousands standing together silently, listening, feeling, expecting, knowing, all contemplating peace as the norm, reveling in abundance, truth, bliss, silence turning to singing, celebration... Just imagine the power in the plaza...

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