Hi! I trust this finds you well.
For me, this September has included recognition of some significant dates and occasions: International Day of Peace on September 21 and the autumnal equinox occurring on September 22.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. Achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms—it requires the building of societies where all members feel they can blossom and it involves creating a world in which people are treated equally regardless of race, gender, age, religion, etc.
We know that what shows up on the outside reflects what’s going on inside. True peace comes from within, and looking at the outer world these days—division, separation, poor health, natural disasters, etc.—signals to me how ill at ease and lacking in joy and fulfillment people are, lacking in peace within. Since true peace is an inside job and our thoughts create things, by us changing our thinking we change our individual lives for the better, impacting others for the better.
The first day of autumn, often called fall, is when the sun shines directly on the celestial equator passing from north to south and the length of day and night are almost the same. This is referred to as astronomical autumn or the September equinox.
As we move into this natural cycle of change, and make our way towards hibernating in winter, I find myself slowing down a bit from the summer days (and just as I was revving up after the isolative days of the pandemic!). With pausing, it’s a bit easier to relax and feel peace within.
These two occurrences—peace and seasonal change—were celebrated together at the Dances of Universal Peace Prescott Autumn Equinox Celebration on the 24th. The Dances of Universal Peace are simple, meditative, multi-cultural circle dances. They use movements, music, and sacred phrases from many traditions to help us touch and deepen the spiritual essence within ourselves and to experience spiritual harmony with others. With our intention of sending the vibration of peace out into the world, we danced and sang in the cool beauty of the pine forest at the Groom Creek School House here in Prescott, AZ. It was also a reunion for me as I got to see folks from my days of living in Sedona, where I'd first started participating in the Dances, as well as from the Phoenix area, whom I’d not seem in several years. You can learn more about Dances of Universal Peace on their international website.
One of the things I love about writing my monthly newsletter is that, in doing so, I am propelled to expand my horizons in numerous ways. In searching for a song about peace that was new to me, I came upon Ajeet Kaur and her song “Peace.” The opening lyrics are simple and the melody tranquil, as one might expect:
Peace within me
Peace surrounding me
Peace from me
By thy grace, let there be peace.
Enjoy the music and video!