My family walked throughout Hiroshima Peace Park and visited the A-bomb memorial museum yesterday. During the time my husband and I lived in this city from 1997-2007, we would often take friends and family who were visiting us from abroad to peace park. It’s not hard to notice the tranquil atmosphere that invisibly veils the A-bomb dome and the park itself as you wander through.
It doesn’t matter how many times I have been through this park, I always become choked up with emotion. The message of peace that the city of Hiroshima is trying to convey to the world is an incredibly powerful one. The photo to the left, taken by our son Tai yesterday, is particularly moving as it shares the story of Sadako, a 13-year old A-bomb victim who died at the age of 13 from radiation exposure. She attempted to fold 1000 paper cranes during her last few weeks of life in hopes that it would lead to survival. Her story is well known and can be found here.
Today is the 24th of December and for those who celebrate Christmas, many wholehearted wishes of peace and love permeate the festive season. Peace and well-being is such a precious commodity not only during the Christmas season, but all year round. As we approach 2015, I wish for peace within myself, peace within my relationships, and peace within my family. Bringing more peace into my life requires that I actively integrate mindfulness strategies on a regular basis as it provides me with the tools to nurture strength of spirit in times of challenge.
I am currently reading Dr. Amy Saltzman’s book ‘A Still Quiet Place’ which focuses on PEACE practice. She uses PEACE as a mnemonic with each letter representing powerful mindfulness strategies that we can all bring into every day difficulties. I have provided a shortened version below to give you a brief outline of her ideas. For the full version you can visit her site “Still Quiet Place” which can be accessed by clicking the link above.
The practice begins like this:
P is for pause. When you notice things are difficult, physically, emotionally and mentally pause.
E is for exhale and keep lengthening that inhalation and then once again deeply exhale.
A is for acknowledge, accept and allow. Work with your breath to find middle ground, not reacting impulsively.
C is for choose, give yourself time to find clarity, courage, compassion and comedy.
E is for engage. After you have paused, exhaled, allowed and chosen your response you are ready to engage with people, with the situation and life.
Slow down, practice peace and stay present. Merry Christmas.
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily