Reflections on songs of justice and resilience: themes for Advent 1 from Mary’s Magnificat (song) in Luke 1.

PLAY LISTS: Justice Songs (some lists)

  • Social justice songs: link
  • Songs about class and poverty: link 
  • Songs to listen to while fighting for social justice: link
  • Civil rights songs that promote freedom and justice: link

Questions to consider (Luke 1):

  • What songs of justice are on your play list?
  • When have you stood and sung for justice, or in resistance to injustice? What was at stake?
  • Who still needs songs of justice in this world?
  • When you sing for justice, do you sing solo or as part of a group or community? When and how would you choose either role?

One Song — Rumi

Every war and every conflict between human beings
has happened because of some disagreement about names.

It is such an unnecessary foolishness,
because just beyond the arguing
there is a long table of companionship
set and waiting for us to sit down.

What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured into a huge basin.
All religions, all this singing, one song.
The differences are just illusion and vanity.
Sunlight looks a little different on this wall
than it does on that wall
and a lot different on this other one,
but it is still one light.

We have borrowed these clothes,
these time-and-space personalities,
from a light, and when we praise,
we are pouring them back in.

Of Songs and Music: Love Beyond Language

Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone’s very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food. ― Anne Lamott

You are the music while the music lasts. — T.S. Eliot

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination …— Plato

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought. ― E.Y. Harburg

Thus, though music be a universal language, it is spoken with all sorts of accents. — George Bernard Shaw

There is as much music in the world as virtue. In a world of peace and love music would be the universal language … All things obey music as they obey virtue. It is the herald of virtue. It is God’s voice. — Henry David Thoreau

Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones. — Keith Richards

If music be the food of love, play on. — William Shakespeare

If I cannot fly, let me sing. – Stephen Sondheim

Without music, life would be a mistake.  – Friedrich Nietzsche

The only thing better than singing is more singing. – Ella Fitzgerald

The greatest respect an artist can pay to music is to give it life. – Pablo Casals

Love, I find, is like singing. ― Zora Neale Hurston

She sang, as requested. There was much about love in the ballad: faithful love that refused to abandon its object; love that disaster could not shake; love that, in calamity, waxed fonder, in poverty clung closer. The words were set to a fine old air — in themselves they were simple and sweet: perhaps, when read, they wanted force; when well sung, they wanted nothing. Shirley sang them well: she breathed into the feeling, softness, she poured round the passion, force … ― Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

Songs as Justice & Resistance

Singing in the midst of evil is what it means to be disciples. … To sing to God amidst sorrow is to defiantly proclaim … that death is not the final word. To defiantly say, once again, that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot, will not, shall not overcome it. And so, evil be damned, because even as we go to the grave, we still make our song alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. ― Nadia Bolz-Weber,Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

Do it. Hell, get the song taken down if you want. But you’ll never silence me. I got too goddamn much to say. ― Angie Thomas, On the Come Up

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. Jimi Hendrix

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. Jimi Hendrix

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. — Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. — Victor Hugo

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. — Jimi Hendrix

Sirens everywhere, singing that street song. Violence everywhere, barely holding on… — Alicia Keyes

Turnin nothin into somethin, is God work, And you get nothin without struggle and hard work— Nas

Writing, painting, singing- it cannot stop everything. Cannot halt death in its tracks. But perhaps it can make the pause between death’s footsteps sound and look and feel beautiful, can make the space of waiting a place where you can linger without as much fear. For we are all walking each other to our deaths, and the journey there between footsteps makes up our lives. ― Ally Condie, Reached

Reflections on gratitude as a spiritual practice: final week of Taste & See series

Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life. ― Rumi

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ― Melody Beattie

PRAYER

O my Great Elder, I have no words to thank you,
But with your deep wisdom I am sure that you can see
How I value your glorious gifts … when I look upon your greatness, I am confounded with awe. O Great Elder, Ruler of all things earthly and heavenly, I am … ready to act in accordance with your will.
— Excerpted from Kikuya Prayer (Kenya)

Savoring the Small Stuff: Ordinary Gratitude as Spiritual Practice  (excerpt from full article) — Carl Gregg
 … ways that we can be more intentional about noticing and responding to the parts of our lives for which we are most (and least) grateful. I. Noticing… What do you tend to notice in your daily life? And why? … we could notice at any given time — different sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, or emotions — but our personalities shape what stands out to us and what fades into the background … you can amplify the power of this practice — and keep yourself accountable to regularly noticing what you are grateful for — by making a commitment to share your daily gratitude (or gratitudes) with someone else, whether it is a child, a partner, or a friend.

II. The Awareness Examen

… one of the most consistently helpful ways … is a practice called the Awareness Examen … It helps you weigh the value of various aspects of your life. The examen was first detailed by Ignatius of Loyola, the 16th century founder of the Jesuits … shorter and more accessible book by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn called Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life. In short, the examen encourages you to respond to two questions at the end of each day either around the dinner table with your family or silently before you go to sleep: … you can ask “What am I most grateful for today?” and “What am I least grateful for today?” Over time, to add nuance, you can ask variations on your consolations such as, “Where did I feel most connected, most alive, most energized, or most loved?” Correspondingly, you can ask “Where did I feel most isolated, most enervated, or most taken for granted?”

… And as you notice patterns of what consistently makes you feel connected, alive, energized, and loved, the invitation is to find ways to cultivate more of that person, place, or activity in your life. … As you notice patterns of what consistently makes you feel isolated, enervated, or taken for granted, an invitation is to consider if you should find ways to have less of that person, place, or activity in your life.

III. The Spiritual Practice of Savoring

This practice of noticing and choosing what is life-affirming over what is life-negating can seem particularly simple or obvious: structure your life to do morefrequently those things that bring you consolation and do less frequently those things that bring you desolation … gently think back through my day, and name those things I’m grateful for. It’s honestly a great way to fall asleep: savoringthose things you are most grateful for. … Of course, all this talk about gratitude and savoring is easier said than done. Cultivating ordinary gratitude, noticing our consolations and desolations, and savoring them are all practices that happen over time. As with practicing the piano, practicing basketball, or practicing yoga, method and frequency matter … “Practices doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but it does make permanent.” … Practice makes permanent by ingraining habits that are difficult to break.

Application

For now, with the potential stress and joy of Thanksgiving still a few days away, I invite you to spend a short time practicing the art of savoring. Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” Then, pause in the silence, and listen. Allow yourself to be potentially surprised about what emerges for you as a source of gratitude. As you do so, remember the guidance from Buddha’s Brain: “Make [your consolation] last by staying with it for 5, 10, even 20 seconds [or longer].” Savor this source of gratitude with your whole self. “Focus on your emotions and body sensations…. Let the experience fill your body and be as intense as possible.”

  • What are you grateful for in your life?
  • What do you need to savor?

Other articles on gratitude:

  • Gratitude practices by Deepak Chopra (full article)“What am I grateful for?” is one of four key questions that practitioners pose to themselves prior to entering into meditation. Such practices of gratitude bring awareness to and appreciation of the positive features within and around us, helping us to embrace life as it is with all of its imperfections. Other practices to consciously cultivate a grateful life include journaling, counting blessings, savoring positive moments, and behavioral expressions of gratitude such as thank you notes, to name a few. By cultivating gratitude, we cultivate wellbeing.
  • Start a Gratitude Practice — Melissa, Lionheart Life

For Abundance

In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.  – Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

One can never pay in gratitude; one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh 

How I show love has always been through food. That, for me, has been the foundation of how I express gratitude for anybody around me. — Antoni Porowski

Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity.  – Eckhart Tolle 

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy. —Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.  – Doris Day 

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. — Zig Ziglar

Happiness cannot be traveled to owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. – Denis Waitley

When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.– Anthony Robbins 

What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude. – Brene Brown 

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. – Willie Nelson

 Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. —Oprah Winfrey

As with all commandments, gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. – James E. Faust 

As Connection to Holiness

Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy. — Henri Nouwen

All human bodies are things lent by God.  With what thought are you using them? — Terrikyo. Ofudesaki 3.41 

I acknowledge my feeling and gratitude for life by praising the world and whoever made all these things. — Mary Oliver

I acknowledge with great gratitude the peace and contentment we can find for ourselves in the spiritual cocoons of our homes, our sacrament meetings, and our holy temples. — James E. Faust

Be not like those who honor their gods in prosperity and curse them in adversity.  In pleasure or pain, give thanks! — Midrash, Mekilta to Exodus 20.20

O you who believe!  Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to God, if it is Him that you worship. — Qur’an 2.172

‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. — Alice Walker

It is God who has made the night for you, that you may rest therein, and the day, as that which helps you to see.  Verily God is full of grace and bounty to men, yet most men give no thanks.  It is God who has made for you the earth as a resting place, and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape–and made your shapes beautiful–and has provided for you sustenance of things pure and good; such is God, your Lord. So glory to God, the Lord of the Worlds! — Qur’an 40.61, 64

Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.’  — C. S. Lewis

As Action

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. — John F. Kennedy

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. —Henri Frederic Amiel

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it. —Lyndon B. Johnson

Feeling gratitude isn’t born in us – it’s something we are taught, and in turn, we teach our children. — Joyce Brothers

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. —William Arthur Ward

As Mindfulness

Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe. — Wayne Dyer

For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile. — Elie Wiesel

The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. — Henri Nouwen

Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present-oriented. – Sonja Lyubomirsky 

I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. — Brene Brown

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. —Robert Brault

It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up. — Eckhart Tolle

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. —Dalai Lama

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. — John Milton

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. —Albert Einstein

As Practice



If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. — Meister Eckhart

Being thankful is not always experienced as a natural state of existence, we must work at it, akin to a type of strength training for the heart. – Larissa Gomez

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. — Rabbi Harold Kushner 

The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. —Charles Schwab

We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean… and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect. — Michelle Obama

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. — Charles Dickens

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. — William Arthur Ward

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. – Buddha 

Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give. – Edwin Arlington Robinson 

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. – Epictetus

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ― G.K. Chesterton

Reflections on seeds & weeds as change-makers: themes from Taste & See series

The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of like is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give. — William Arthur Ward

Every one of us has the seed of mindfulness.
The practice is to cultivate it. — Thich Nhat Hanh

SEEDS & SPICES – Special focus on mustard seeds.
Song about seeds:

  • Faith Like a Mustard Seed (Jamaican reggae gospel) song link
  • Sowing the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears song link
  • How Great by Chance the Rapper (gospel and rap) song link
  • My Little Seed by Woody Guthrie (folk song) song link
  • Faith as Small as a Mustard Seed (Christians children’s music) song link
  • The Seed Song (Christian children’s music) song link
  • Just a Little Seed by Liz Buchanan song link
  • Finger Play for children “The Farmer Plants the Seeds” video link

Learn more:


Blessing That Holds a Nest in Its Branches — Jan Richardson

The emptiness that you have been holding for such a long season now;

that ache in your chest that goes with you night and day
in your sleeping, your rising—

think of this not as a mere hollow,
the void left from the life that has leached out of you.

Think of it like this: as the space being prepared
for the seed.

Think of it as your earth that dreams
of the branches the seed contains.

Think of it as your heart making ready
to welcome the nest its branches will hold.


Questions to consider: See the Buddhist parable of the mustard seed in the column below. The questions that follow focus on Biblical mustard seed references in Matthew 13 and Matthew 17.

Whereas spices are as valuable as currency in ancient times, including many of the seeds used to create them, mustard seeds were like weeds in Jesus’ time (and today, too). They grew and spread and were unwelcome in fields and vineyards. Yet mustard seeds are used as a positive image in the parable, turning our ideas upside down. When we take small actions and make simple choices, big things are possible out of those beginnings. And maybe the world of justice, mercy and compassion — holy Love’s kingdom here on earth — will grow and take shape in the most potent, surprising, and undeniable ways. Like plants that we consider weeds, that grow up to become healing, beautiful and transformative.

  • What small deeds or words have you heard that changed your perspective?
  • What simple choices and actions have you taken that may have a larger impact than you can imagine? Or what choices and actions would you like to make as a beginning of transformation?
  • Where do you see change in holy and loving ways that surprise you?
  • Who has surprised you with insights and actions that teach you to see the world differently?

MUSTARD SEED MUSINGS: Small but Persistent

I’ve read that the mustard plant is a bush, not a tree, but it seems that the point of the parable is the size, relative both to other plants and to the initial kernel from which the plant grows. — Mark Davis

They are prepared for a mustard-seed kingdom of God no bigger than the eye of a newt but not for the great banyan it becomes with birds in its branches singing Mozart …  ― Frederick Buechner

I have a mustard seed and I’m not afraid to use it! — Joseph Ratzinger

… in Jesus’ world … mustard was a weed, dreaded by farmers the way today’s gardeners dread kudzu, crabgrass, or bindweed. It starts out small, but before long has taken over your field. Why, then, compare the kingdom of God to a pernicious weed and pollutant? Because both mustard seed and yeast have this way of spreading beyond anything you’d imagined, infiltrating a system and taking over a host … far more potent than we’d imagined and ready to spread to every corner of our lives … — David Lose

God’s work is barely perceptible at times, and yet produces enormous results. — Pulpit Fiction

Mustard was just about as virulent as Kudzu. Once it took hold in a field, it would eventually take over the whole place. It’s just about impossible to eradicate. Modern farmers hate it because it gets in their crops. Ranchers hate it because it irritates the eyes of their livestock. What possible good could come from mustard seed? But in a very real sense, that’s precisely the point. God’s realm of justice and peace and freedom in this world is something unexpected. It works contrary to our expectations. — Alan Brehm

BUDDHIST MUSTARD SEED STORY

“A woman lost her child and was inconsolable in her grief, carrying her dead child throughout the land, begging for someone to help heal her child. When she came to the Buddha, she begged him to help her. He told him he could help her if she would collect mustard seeds for the medicine. She eagerly agreed, but then the Buddha explained that the mustard seeds needed to come from a home that had not been touched by death. When the woman visited each house in search of the mustard seeds that might heal her son, she discovered there was no house that had not suffered the loss fo a parent, or a spouse, or a child. Seeing that her suffering was not unique, she was able to bury her child in the forest and release her grief.” — Shared by the Dalai Lama

Spices As Philosophy

The secret of happiness is variety, but the secret of variety, like the secret of all spices, is knowing when to use it. — Daniel Gilbert

Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor. — William Cowper

Arabian merchants controlled most of the spice trade for centuries. They became the exclusive suppliers of spices from Asia, such as cassia and cinnamon. In order to discourage the Mediterranean world from establishing direct commercial links with sources in the East, the Arabians spread fanciful tales about the dangers involved in obtaining spices. The real source of spices was “probably the best-kept trade secret of all time,” according to The Book of Spices. — jw.org

Words are like spices. Too many is worse than too few. — Joan Aiken

There has never been any great genius without a spice of madness. — Seneca the Younger

I just think you need to spice up life every now and then with a bit of adventure and excitement. — Richard Branson

Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, Manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and such like, the spice and salt that season a man — William Shakespeare

But in truth, should I meet with gold or spices in great quantity, I shall remain till I collect as much as possible, and for this purpose I am proceeding solely in quest of them. — Christopher Columbus

Spices in Cooking & Food

Spice is life. It depends upon what you like… have fun with it. Yes, food is serious, but you should have fun with it. — Emeril Lagasse

Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go. — Erma Bombeck

I measure in my palm and use my eyes to estimate amounts; a tablespoon is a full palm of dried spices. — Rachael Ray

All those spices and herbs in your spice rack can do more than provide calorie-free, natural flavorings to enhance and make food delicious. Theyre also an incredible source of antioxidants and help rev up your metabolism and improve your health at the same time. — Suzanne Somers

Spices As Emotion

Spice a dish with love and it pleases every palate. — Plautus

Variety is the spice of love. — Helen Rowland

Love is like a spice. It can sweeten your life – however, it can spoil it, too. — Confucius

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice. — Bethany Hamilton

Fear is the spice that makes it interesting to go ahead. — Daniel Boone

Reflections on olive trees and peace: themes from Taste & See series. How are olive trees symbols of peace, resilience and hope?

Peace puts forth her olive everywhere. — Shakespeare

Like a twisted olive tree in its 500th year, giving then its finest fruit, is man. How can he give forth wisdom until he has been crushed and turned in the Hand of God. — Rabbi Akiva

It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees. Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

High on the stern Aeneas his stand,
And held a branch of olive in his hand,
… This message bear: The Trojans and their chief
Bring holy peace, and beg the king’s relief.
— Virgil, Aeneid Some uses of the olive branch and olive tree in music. There’s something for almost every musical preference:

Questions to consider about olive trees and peace work. Note that people have literally won Nobel Peace Prizes for planting trees, such as Wangari Maathai. Meanwhile, Desmond Tutu writes thatPEACE WITHIN … described as “inner peace” … is concerned with peace on a personal level, dealing with both the spiritual as well as the emotional/psychological dimensions. PEACE BETWEEN … focuses on an individual and their relationships with their family, friends and the community around them … a dialogue between individuals and/or groups of individuals, helping … to learn forgiveness and reconciliation methods with which to prevent and overcome conflict … to recognize and celebrate our differences, and … look at people who do not look like us, believe as we do, or come from where we come from with the anticipation of something positive instead of the apprehension of something negative. PEACE AMONG … learn what is happening in the world, and about conflicts and violence in particular … how [conflicts] are being addressed and what role [people] can play in helping resolve these conflicts peacefully … facilitating discussions and incorporating voices of people from across the planet … to better recognize our common humanity and work together to make this world a better place.”

  • How would you work on Peace Within, Peace Between, and Peace Among? Which versions of peace do you already cultivate well? Which ones do you want or need to strengthen for balance and opportunities to make change in your life and in the world?
  • What in your life has longevity, like olive trees that are thousands of years old, growing in the land of spiritual ancestors? To what or whom do you feel connected, a presence that goes back decades or centuries, connecting you to history, but also connecting you to hope and the promise that it will be present in the future?
  • How does the the olive tree, whether it’s the image of the leafing branch carried by the dove, or the presence of groves of ancient trees rooted deep in the land, resonate in your life? What are your own spiritual symbols of peace and resilience and hope?

Reference: Some scripture selections from Genesis 8, Deuteronomy 8, Psalm 52, Isaiah 41, John 15 and Romans 11.


Saturday Morning, 10 AM (excerpt) — Jan Richardson

Justice and Peace meet at the café, sit together,
hands folded around steaming cups, heads bent over the paper.

They are not taking in the news of the world
with sorrowing eyes and the clucking of tongues.

They are instead planning their itinerary, plotting their map,
looking for the places where they might slip in …Dance Me to the End of Love(excerpt) Leonard Cohen lyricsDance me to your beauty with a burning violinDance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of loveDance me to the end of love The Olive Tree (excerpt) Basia
One day … My good friend said I should hug an olive tree,
She claimed that dreams come true when you do, but
Can a plant be in any way that beneficial to me?
Though I’m a famous skeptic, feet on the ground,
This time I wanted this to be true …
So when … you’ve got dreams, Look for some … olive trees …
Some olive branch must have heard my desperate heart
’cause I wear the crown (the olive crown,
I wear the olive crown) And so do you
Amazing Peace (excerpt) — Maya Angelou
On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
… We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.
We, Angels and Mortal’s, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.
Peace, My Brother. Peace, My Sister. Peace, My Soul. Of Olive Trees: Temple of Life

If the Olive Trees knew the hands that planted them, Their Oil would become Tears. — Mahmoud Darwish

The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven. I can scarcely expect bread. — Thomas Jefferson

The groves were God’s first temples. — William C. Bryant

If you deconstruct Greece, you will in the end see an olive tree, a grapevine, and a boat remain. That is, with as much, you reconstruct her. — Odysseas ElytisScience of Olive Trees (Disease & Cure) — Charles Eisenstein (full article link)

A new disease called Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (OQDS) is ravaging olive groves that date back to Roman times and before, some with 2000-year-old trees. Leaves wither as is scorched by fire, twigs and branches die back, and the trees quickly die …

The Xylella theory names insects such as the meadow spittlebug as the transmission vectors for the bacteria; accordingly, authorities are pushing for the elimination of all ground vegetation around the olive trees to deprive the insects of habitat, as well as the heavy use of insecticides. The model is a monoculture of olive trees on bare soil. Maybe a few of the majestic 2000-year-old trees can be preserved for tourism …

A second theory has been advanced by Marghertia Ciervo of the University of Foggia, among other researchers. It says that Xylella infection is a symptom, and not a cause, of OQDS, and that it may not even be an exogenous species. It opportunistically breaks out in the presence of what these researchers name as the deeper causes: primarily, the degradation of soil due to poor agricultural practices. For example … growers in recent years have made heavy use of glyphosate and other herbicides to remove ground-cover to allow easier harvesting. …

The solutions implemented by local organic growers, such as mineral supplementation, microbiome restoration, proper pruning, and the maintenance of biodiverse plant and animal ecosystems in olive groves, have in common a glaring problem. They are economically inefficient in the context of the global market. Farmers using these methods will never be able to compete in conventional commodity markets against industrial plantations …

Where the conventional perspective on the olive tree deaths is that a killer bacteria is attacking them, we might view it differently: as the cry of the land, calling our attention to its suffering. Shall we listen to that cry? Or shall we continue to add to its suffering?

It is quite affecting to observe how much the olive tree is to the country people. Its fruit supplies them with food, medicine and light; its leaves, winter fodder for the goats and sheep; it is their shelter from the heat and its branches and roots supply them with firewood. The olive tree is the peasant’s all-in-all. — Fredrika Bremer

Look at the tree. [It] is a wonderful thing, a tree. A tree is very beautiful. A tree to me is as beautiful as a cathedral, even more beautiful. I look[ed] into the tree and I saw the whole cosmos in it. I saw the sunshine in the tree. Can you see the sunshine in the tree? Yes, because without the sunshine, no tree can grow. I see a cloud in the tree. Can you see? Without a cloud, there can be no rain, no tree. I see the earth in the tree. I see everything in the tree. So the tree is where everything in the cosmos comes into, and the cosmos reveals itself to me through a tree. Therefore, a tree to me is a cathedral, and I can take refuge in the tree and I can get nourished by the tree… I can get in touch with the tree only if I go back to the present moment, because the tree can only be found in the present moment. — Thich Nhat Hanh

Olive trees carry more than an economic significance … They are not just like any another trees, they are symbolic of … attachment to … land. Because the trees are draught-resistant and grow under poor soil conditions, they represent … resistance and resilience. The fact that olive trees live and bear fruit for thousands of years is parallel to … history and continuity on the land. … oldest olive trees, dating back to 4,000 years … trees that have been passed down … for generations and the olive harvest season … bears a socio-cultural meaning where families come together to harvest olive trees bearing in mind that their
forefathers and mothers had tended to the same trees several years ago. — Olive Tree Facts, Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples … — John Muir

For years I study. I look long at olive trees, all gray and silver, and watch the sunlight. Ah, yes, I am ver’ lazy, but I see after I look long that it is perspective that give it this quality. Perspective, and absolute faith to the subject. — Ugo Mochi

O Love! what hours were thine and mine, In lands of palm and southern pine; In lands of palm, of orange-blossom, Of olive, aloe, and maize and vine! — Alfred Lord Tennyson

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. — William Shakespeare

In this way, his unhappy soul struggled with its anguish. Eighteen hundred years before this unfortunate man, the mysterious Being, in whom all the sanctities and all the sufferings of humanity come together, He too, while the olive trees trembled in the fierce breath of the Infinite, had brushed away the fearful cup that appeared before him, streaming with shadow and running over with darkness, in the star-filled depths. — Victor Hugo

When a man’s pride is subdued it’s like the sides of Mount Aetna. It was terrible during the eruption, but when that is over and the lava is turned into soil, there are vineyards and olive trees which grow up to the top. — Henry Ward BeecherOlive Branch as a
Symbol of Peace

[W]ar is a question, under our constitution, not of Executive, but of Legislative cognizance. It belongs to Congress to say whether the Nation shall of choice dismiss the olive branch and unfurl the banners of War. — Alexander Hamilton

We are all familiar with the dove carrying an olive branch as a peace offering. … I’ve created … tribute both to the messenger’s noble mission and gardens as a refuge of peace and tranquility. — Paloma Picasso

The olive branch has been consecrated to peace, palm branches to victory, the laurel to conquest and poetry, the myrtle to love and pleasure, the cypress to mourning, and the willow to despondency. — Dorothea Dix

Liberals would prefer it if the bald eagle on the Great Seal was holding olive branches in both talons, or, better, an olive branch in one, and maybe a soft cushion in the other, to entice our enemies to lie down and snooze. — Mike Gallagher

I come bearing an olive branch in one hand, and the freedom fighter’s gun in the other. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. — Yasser Arafat

I know more about wheat and olive trees than I do about politics. — Ariel Sharon

Humility has such power. Apologies can disarm arguments. Contrition can defuse rage. Olive branches do more good than battle axes ever will. — Max Lucado

In war the olive branch of peace is of use. [Lat., Adjuvat in bello pacatae ramus olivae.]Ovid

Who we are really shows up between extending the olive branch and waiting to see if it is received. — Bonnie Lyn Smith

Information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent–all depending on who wields it and how. — Steven Levitt

[Noah’s dove] announced to the world the assuagement of divine wrath, when she had been sent out of the ark and returned with the olive branch … [Holy Spirit] bringing us the peace of God, sent out from the heavens. — Tertullian

Perpetual peace is indicated by the olive branch (oleae ramusculo) which the dove brought with it when it returned to the ark. — St AugustinePEACE WORKER QUOTATIONS

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. — 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us? — Dorothy Day, Catholic Workers Movement founder

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute. — Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice

We aren’t passengers on Spaceship Earth. We’re the crew. We aren’t residents on this planet. We’re citizens. The difference in both cases is responsibility. — Apollo Astronaut Rusty SchweickartPeace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. — President John F. Kennedy

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. — Nelson Mandela, Apartheid Activist & President of So Africa

I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. – Mahatma Gandhi, nonviolent activist and leader of Indian independence movement

Work for what you believe in, but pick your battles, and don’t burn your bridges. Don’t be afraid to take charge, think about what you want,then do the work, but then enjoy what makes you happy, bring along your crew, have a sense of humor.— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. — St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

We have to be in the present time, because only the present is real, only in the present can we be alive.  We do not practice for the sake of the future, to be reborn in a paradise, but to be peace, to be compassion, to be joy right now. Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Monk & Peace Activist

I raise my voice not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.― Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise
that every human life is of inestimable value. — Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

We all share one planet and are one humanity; there is no escaping this reality. ― Wangari Maathai

When you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict. And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue.— Dolores Huerta, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and co-founder of National Farm Workers Association

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. —  Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader & Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have
and all that they are. — Hafsat Abiola, Nigerian Human Rights Activist

We gave thanks for the story, for all parts of the story because it was by the light of those challenges we knew ourselves— We asked for forgiveness. We laid down our burdens next to each other. — Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (excerpt), Poet Laureate & Mysoke Nation Poet