Prayer of St. Francis

What do John Lennon and St. Francis of Assisi have in common?

Both John Lennon and St. Francis stood for peace. They talked about peace, wrote songs about it and modeled it in their lifetime. Peace has been on my mind recently for many reasons: there seems to be a growing lack of peace in our world given recent events in Boston and Texas.  In my own family I am seeing a growing need for more peace. I have a cantankerous 84 year old stepdad who needs more help than he is willing to ask for. He still lives at  home – alone. He seems to be alienating many of his life-long friends, pushing them away in fits of anger until they refuse to come back. We talked about this on the phone on Sunday, his 84th birthday. He was bemoaning the loss of one of his friends yet he refused, adamantly, to pick up the phone and call this person to apologize or at least try to make amends. He has lived his whole life this way, unwilling to make amends. It makes me sad but it also motivates me to make peace now where peace needs to be made.

Thinking about him, worrying about him and knowing he is lonely and far away cause me distress. This is added to all the other worries in my life: being a mom, wife, business owner, getting laundry done while on a conference call, grocery shopping between blog posts and coaching calls, you get my drift. “Oh crap” is a phrase on the tip of my tongue as I recall that yet another day has passed and I have forgotten to do this volunteer job or fill out that paperwork… The tension settles into my shoulders like a worn out sweatshirt I can’t bare to throw away.

When I choose peace, everything flows and I feel right with my world. When I choose stress, my body hurts, I am silent and I retreat as the pain in my shoulders escalates. I want to eat greasy food and drink red wine. The lyrics of the Prayer of St. Francis often come to mind at these times and remind me to choose peace over french fries. The Prayer of St. Francis was one of the hymns that I remember most from going to private Catholic school as a child. I re-enountered the poem 20 years later being used as a mantra in a beginner’s guide to meditation. Most recently, Wayne Dyer talks about this prayer in his new book Wishes Fulfilled. This poem reappears in my life when I need it the most. The lines have always seemed so full of meaning to me as a guide to life. The simple statement, “I choose peace” can help me shift my state of being towards love, relaxation and joy and away from  stress, distress and pain. Here is a video from YouTube with lyrics and music for

Is Peace Possible?

Do you remember the famous John Lennon song, “Give Peace a Chance?” If not here is a video of him performing this song. The song became an anti-war hymn during the late 1960′s. I’m not sure I had ever paid attention to the lyrics before, I just remember the classic chorus, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” The lyrics talk about all of the -isms people tend to focus on, rather than paying attention to what is real and what we can personally change. You can read all of they lyrics here. It reminded me that we spend entirely too much time searching for answers in the world around us, seeking peace in others rather than creating peace within.

I was chatting with a woman yesterday about being too busy and not making time for ourselves and for what really matters. For me, this is both a global and an individual issue. I’m not here to preach about world peace or try to change the world. I’m not here to talk about the government’s policies or the war in the Middle East. I am just a mom, wife and business owner who values peace, harmony, stillness and love. I want my life, my work and my home to reflect that state of peace.

Do I believe world peace is possible? I am not sure, I am still trying to make peace possible in my life and in my family. My stepdad is a perfect example of someone who is not choosing peace over righteousness and stubbornness. I try to create more opportunities for peaceful time for reflection and silence. I know what I need to make peace possible for me personally: solitude, creativity, time with my husband and kids, time outside in nature are just some examples.

What I know for certain is that the more we change ourselves, the more impact we can have on the world around us. Those small changes are like ripples in the ocean when a rain drop falls, spreading endlessly outward to encompass everything. The more at peace I am with myself, with who I am being in this moment, the more I model and reflect peace back to others, especially my family but also the clerk at the grocery store or the guy who just knocked on my door to get me to sign a petition and give money to keep our oceans clean.

Yes, I believe peace is possible but it comes in flashes of insight, moments of stillness and walks on the beach at sunset. Peace is a practice, just like exercise and eating well. The more we practice peace, the better we get at being peaceful.

Peace starts with you, are you ready?

Writing prompts for peace

If you need some inspiration for more peace today, use the lines of the Prayer of St. Francis as a writing prompt. Spend some time writing in your journal. Choose peace today and allow peace to choose you.

Share in the comments how you make peace a practice in your daily life. It’s different for each of us and we can all learn from the practice of others.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out and know you need to choose more peace, check out my 8 week virtual workshop Creative Stress Busters – Art and Journaling Techniques for Meditation and Relaxation.