Peace, Love, and Joy

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And so we come to the season of the year that honors the light we’ve been called to be in darkness. We pause to reach for that light, call it holy (it is) and touch just enough to scatter it about, while music, feasts, gathering, and giving shake up our patterns just enough for the world to glow both more brightly and softly.

From a distance, the planet shines, spinning in this co-created light, before it dims once more and we turn back to our easy forgetting, unrelenting fear, and ready hostility. Why can’t our seasonal charity (love manifested in its highest and broadest form) remain the focus and fuel in our relationships with ourselves and others?

Why do we so readily allow the confusion between giving presents and giving ourselves–our presence–to direct our energy? Buying gifts, wrapping them in pretty paper and exchanging them is skimming the surface of the spiritual invitations the season offers. All the magic of lasting conversion is here and possible, but so is our fear of true transformation and the belief we cling to above all others: we’re not worthy.

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The inner scolder reminds us: the holidays are lovely, yes, but we can’t go on giving ourselves time to watch it snow, share delight, sit with loved ones, connect with our spirits, sing, laugh, wish merriment to perfect strangers, recognize our feelings, be at peace…We have to get back to work.

We can’t live in a world where it’s always Christmas, certainly not now. We can’t just choose to relax. We can’t just peace, love and joy our life away. Wrap it up, pack it away; we have to get back to work.

What is wrong with a species capable of creating, experiencing, and spreading peace, love, and joy, and then deciding we don’t deserve to do so all the time, every moment? Even in the midst of our winter celebrations, we cheapen these treasures by consigning them to the perimeter of our festivities and supplanting them with things, with overindulgence of our appetites, with running hard and fast from what “work” has made of us and our finite precious lives, and with excessively indulging our capacity for greed and offering miserly regard for our spiritual and emotional needs.

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We deserve lives saturated in peace, love, and joy, and our real work is making it so.

Let’s slow down and look at the world we’ve created by denying the true blessings of the season a real and deep presence in our every season, our every moment. We certainly haven’t used our gifts to their capacity if this is the best we can do.

We joke about people putting up their holiday decorations (I’m one of them, this year) before Thanksgiving, or we might attribute it, as I saw a home decorator write last week, to poor lighting in our homes which only becomes apparent when the daylight shortens. But let’s look more deeply; shake our hearts instead of our heads and look again: What do the lights strewn everywhere really signal?

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I think we start Christmas and other celebrations of light earlier and earlier–especially in a year of such darkness–because our hearts are yearning, unrelentingly yearning for peace, love, and joy to arrive. And to stay. Perhaps lighting a tree will conjure them.

And then, by those very lights, we might see the truth: Peace, love, and joy are within us, always. We just have to accept we’re worthy and choose these ways of being.

This whirlwind of viral time we’ve been given to witness and withstand can only be stilled by the counter forces we summon and let loose in the world, and they are ancient, and have always been our power.

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Peace. Love. Joy. All the words we wish each other in the dark of winter are the real bringers of light, the human magic that we must hurl at the storm to break it, and then calm it, and then wait as it dissipates, allowing the settling to reveal our path.

Every single one of us has the capacity to be what we most wish to see in the world, now, in this moment, by listening to our heart for the wisdom we’ve earned and are here to manifest: Compassionate regard for the well-being of all. Everything. Finding and animating these powers in ourselves, benefiting from their warmth, and giving the warmth away.

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Peace. The peace of our own breath, slowing and deepening. The moments of turning from the storm, withdrawing, retreating to breathe mindfully, reorient, and balance. Connecting with our heartbeat and noticing the blessings, everywhere, falling like snowflakes. Stillness. We can give ourselves this peace and offer it to others.

Love. Oh, my, does the storm weaken and scatter when it meets love. We can choose kindness before we respond to a stranger, a friend, our beloveds. We can consider others through the filter of love and we can love ourselves. We can listen to our self-talk and all the ways we are cruel to ourselves We can deepen our self-companionship.

Joy. The blessed lightening of deep joy! The happy letting go; the merry surrender of our stress and worry. Joy invites others to join us in memories of sweeter times, opening our hearts to all the happy possibilities to come. Levity is a profound power. May you always find reasons to laugh deeply and share joy.

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We know these qualities are ours from birth, but they come with the sacrifice and effort they require to be sustained. That change we feel in the air this time of year is the activation of our inherent power to generate peace, love, and joy in ourselves and others, throughout the Earth.

We don’t have to wait; we don’t have to limit or budget or pack away the light on January 2. We don’t have to pray for peace, love, and joy; we are these qualities, and the better prayer this year might be that we finally recognize it and live into the lives that this awareness creates. We deserve it. We are worthy. We are capable. And I think we’re more than ready. This storm will pass, and we will heal even more deeply if we just be who we are to our core: people of peace, of love, and of joy.

All blessings of the season to you, in you, and to everyone you love.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

6 thoughts on “Peace, Love, and Joy

  1. What a beautiful, joyous post. How I enjoy your writing, you have such a talent. Here’s to us all coming out the other side safely and being kind all year round. Your decorations are just gorgeous. Love and hugs to all.xxx

  2. Love you. Thank you for your kindness, dear Snowbird. Yes to kindness like breath, and coming out the other side of this safely. Thank you, too, for your your kind remark about the decorations: taking them out and arranging them once again was my therapy as we waited (and waited) to hear about sweet Larky’s tumor, so looking about at my shiny, shabby old friends makes me deeply grateful this year. 🙂

  3. Hello. I would love your permission to share this with the women’s book study I lead at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. I usually offer a meditation or essay and follow it with reflection questions to engage with in small groups. Would you be willing to let me do this next Tuesday, December 15th? I look forward to hearing back from you. Thank you for your lovely reflections and poetry. So much appreciated. Bev Gallagher (bevg911@indy.rr.com)

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