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  • Writer's pictureEllen Harris

Finding Peace ...

Most mornings my routine involves walking with my puppy, yoga practice and meditation. During these crazy, chaotic times, I find that this routine sets the tone for the day. Please take a look at how I use this routine and a few other ways to find peace.

1. Detachment – Probably the most difficult act in our consumer-oriented society is detachment. However, it’s definitely been a lesson learned during this pandemic. We’ve had to separate from so many things these past two years; public gatherings, going to work outside home, travelling without too many restrictions, freely engaging with people, and on and on. From the very complicated to the mundane, we’ve had to detach in various forms or fashion and it’s driving a great deal of the unsettling feelings many of us are going through. But certain life experiences can teach you detachment in an amazing, simple, uncomplicated way.

· Experience – Emi, my puppy, methodically chewed up the bottom shelf of a rattan table, I’d used as a meditation table for almost 20 years.

· Finding Peace – Accepted that puppies chew up stuff. Found an inexpensive replacement at a consignment marketplace with metal legs and no bottom shelf. Meditation continues.

2. Losing a friendship – I lost two friends in 2021; one to death and one to estrangement. My oldest friend since Brownies/Girl Scouts died last April. Her faith and strength of character carried her through many, many years of living with cancer. Her last words to me on a phone call were “I love you” and I repeated them back to her. We’d never said those words to each other and deep down in my spirit I knew that we’d probably not speak or say them to each other again. She passed about two weeks later. My second friend ended our friendship over something to this day I don’t quite understand or believe how it could have ended over 40 years of friendship. She was more verbal, where I was the one with few words. We both were free spirits with me holding back a bit more. She was the adventurous, pioneer type; while I exactly wasn’t. We both were outspoken, sometimes to a fault. We shared so much over the years and became estranged in August.

· Experience – Sharing 60 or 40 years of life’s journey with someone is a long time.

· Finding Peace – Accepted in both cases that we are all mortal beings. People come and go purposefully in your life. You cherish the moments and if the majority of them were good, you’re grateful.

3. Meditative reading – Part of my meditation is reading something inspirational. Most every morning this year I’m reading the daily message from “A Year of Living Your Yoga” by Judith Hansen Lasater. It’s a little book, but the messages are surprisingly in sync with my thoughts most early mornings.

· Experience – This morning’s message was about being comfortable with not knowing enough because no one does.

· Finding Peace – Accepted that thought as so true except I might add to be comfortable with not being everything for everyone or even yourself.

4. Reading to find meaning in a little of my life story – Some friends sent me this book, “On Juneteenth” by Annette Gordon-Reed because they know how much of a Texan I am. It’s, also, a little but powerful book. I read it in 3 nights before going to bed and each reading connected me to growing up in Houston. Starting with the Preface, Gordon-Reed got me on the first page when she talked about at first being annoyed that folks outside Texas were claiming the holiday. I laughed out loud because that’s a true Texas feeling! In reading her book, I learned the mean spiritedness of Mirabeau B. Lamar, my integrated high school’s namesake. I discovered that the Cuney Homes, the housing project where I grew up, was named after Norris Wright Cuney, who was a former slave freed by his white plantation enslaver and father, and later became active in Republican politics in Galveston. So many life story connections, but I think the best one was her Sakowitz story. When she integrated her middle school, her aunt bought her all these clothes for her to look her best at school. Sakowitz was one of the high-end stores in Houston. My first story involved my mother sending my dad to take me school shopping. I took him to Sakowitz. My parents were divorced, and my dad catered to me. He sat down in the store, while I bought all the clothes to my heart’s content. When he took me home, my mother said, ‘what the hell is this?’ She made him take all those clothes back and she took me to Foley’s to get what I needed (not wanted) for school. My second story involved acting fun crazy with friends after getting our caps and gowns for high school graduation. I was such a square in school but had such fun posing in front of Sakowitz.

· Experience – Growing up and living in Houston, TX was not easy, but it made me resilient. Public schools integrated when I was in 6th grade, but I chose to finish out at my beloved Black school, Turner Elementary. I was one of 10 children to integrate Lanier Junior High and graduated from Lamar High School in River Oaks, one of the wealthiest areas in Houston. My memories are good and bad. I have no connection to either school other than graduating from them.

· Finding Peace – Annette Gordon-Reed’s most poignant ending in her book talks about the difficulties of Texas but loving it still because her first family and connections were there. I hold that truth in my spirit as well.

5. Walking – Last but not least are my morning walks. I started walking consistently during the pandemic. I walk for fresh air, strength, exercise, and solace.

· Experience – Morning walks are great. Movement is so very important during these major home-bound, enclosed, counter engagement, reality displacement times.

· Finding Peace – Connecting to open space, fresh air, and purposeful living is a guiding principle. Walking with Emi, even if you have to use a third eye to make sure she doesn’t eat the remains of a dead something on the ground, brings challenges, healthy steps for the day, and revelations with joyful moments.

Peace ya’ll.

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1 Comment

Benita Rivera
Benita Rivera
Feb 10, 2022

Beautifully written. This post should be an Op-Ed on how to cope with the stresses of today. Really enjoying your blog. Keep up the good work!

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