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© 2007 Cortesia Sanctuary



Strategies to Create Peace

Peace has been characterized as the capacity to handle conflicts with empathy, nonviolence and creativity. The process speaks not only to one's inner needs for Peace but to external peaceful relationships and activities as well.

The key for developing an awareness of Peace is to be curious about how Peace feels when we have it. This takes some strategizing: having at hand those practical types of mindful tools that assist us in the Peace-seeking and Peace-sustaining process.

This section of the website offers an expanding base of strategies to create Peace, both personally and globally. Some items have been gleaned from the Internet; some have unknown derivation but are effective anyway; other strategies have been created out of the Sanctuary & Peace Work of Dr. C. Forrest McDowell & Tricia Clark-McDowell.

Click on the title to link to the strategy on this page.

15 Ways to Bring More Peace into Your Life
  1. Sit in meditation and prayer each day, giving thanks to the Creator
  2. Read inspiring literature each day, even if just a quote or paragraph
  3. Find a reason to praise someone instead of criticize them
  4. Spend time alone with Nature
  5. Don
  6. t use chemicals in your yard or garden
  7. Grow an organic garden
  8. Eat a more plant-based diet
  9. Minimize watching television or exposure to the mass media
  10. Donate 1% of your earnings to organizations helping with the environment, animals, social issues, or health
  11. Don't swear; stop whining and complaining; apologize more often; turn away from an argument; don't worry so much
  12. Hold someone special for a while
  13. Listen to beautiful music
  14. Write loving thoughts and observations in a journal
  15. Develop a reverential code of ethics that you follow
  16. Create a place of sanctuary in or around your home

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  • Create a meditation area in a quiet place or near a water feature. Place a comfortable bench there, and sit there often. Invite guests to take a few minutes of alone time there whenever they visit.
  • Hang Tibetan prayer flags from a certain tree or along your fence line. You can easily make your own with squares of solid colored fabric and tubes of fabric paint or permanent markers. Write a short prayer for someone's healing or draw a simple picture. Great for kids and adults.
  • Create an earth altar by arranging a few special objects from nature on a level stump or small table. We have many of these spread throughout our garden.
  • Create some very simple, yet deeply intended ritual for guests who enter your garden. A ceramic water bowl at the entrance for symbolicly cleansing the fingers, a bowl of blessing cards, an inspirational phrase carved on a sign, something to make them stop and notice that they've arrived at a special place.
  • Create a prayer of gratitude or blessing that you say whenever you enter or leave the garden. Develop the habit of repeating it inwardly with great reverence.
  • Set aside a special area in your garden for a shrine of some sort. It need not be elaborate: perhaps a bench under a tree with a few prayer flags, a wind chime, and/or a water bowl. Be willing to allow it to evolve and deepen over time. The purity of your intention is the key to success.

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Attunement: Practicing the Presence of Peace
by Narana

Be in the moment with love - fully in the moment with love. This will end all pain. Open your heart in every experience so that it embraces without fear. Then you will enfold your past. In the temple of peace I will always be there. And you will always know the right thing to do. No one will be your enemy, because you will have made a true friend of yourself.

Love always finds a way beyond all tears and pain and sorrow. Love is the only way. Peace comes when you feel that love. Don't be afraid to love with a vast capacity to forgive. Feel me in the deep pools of your eyes filled with tears. Feel me in your aching body. Feel me in the weight of a heavy heart. I am reminding you ever to love, soothing you with every cool breeze, filling you with my love when you eat. I live within your every noble thought, your every kind and loving deed. If you listen, you will do the right thing always. You will not cause pain or feel pain, and the past will have no more power over you. All pain will be gone from your body.

Lift up your heart to soar above all frailty to the realm of Spirit. A heart focused on me will always be happy. Eyes which behold me can never weep. You are never alone in your struggles. Expand your physical body into mine and be comforted by my presence within and around you. Feel the glow of my light softly illumining all dark crevices filled with your past bad experiences. Soon you will be empty save for my grace. You will be a vessel of pure love, a worthy container for my work and blessings, an emmisary to a world in need. But first, you must purify yourself.

Be guided only by my wisdom. Do not listen to your ego; you have nothing to be ashamed of. All is well. Listen carefully to the silence within you, which is ever filled with my presence. Trust what you learn there. It will enliven you and bring joy into every moment, as if you are a song emanating from my lips, softly touching and soothing all beings. All beings.

Such is the human power to transform. But it must always be done through gentleness and kindness, with words that stroke and inspire. I am grateful to speak through you, but I can only do that when your heart is quiet and at peace. Only then can you hear my voice and feel my guidance, strong and true, ever leading you towards your own inner truth and Self-realization. Within you is a vast place of calmness and bliss, a beautiful temple of peace that opens to the sky. Upon the altar there, place the offerings of each day of experiences, no matter what happens. Visualize the altar as being white, as a symbol of your high ideals and intentions. Let it be made from marble, that I may chisel you to my design and make you a worthy instrument of my peace, which is infinite. Blessings will flow beyond anything you can imagine, strenghtening you and empowering you like a pillar that reaches up to the heavens. I seek many pillars to construct this temple.

The words of the Great Ones are within you. Let them emerge in their own way and time. They will reach and touch a world that has forgotten the God of small things. I hold things great and small, yet it is the humble gestures that touch me so deeply: the forgiveness of unkindness, the setting aside of anger, the patience with ignorance.

Remember, peace is the way of the soul. Accept all in the spirit of peace, as it is given to you. These experiences are all my gifts with which to teach you. May you be filled with the sweet fragrance of my presence, refreshing you and guiding your every thought. Come and go in peace. Breathe in my peace. Give it to all.

Copyright 2007 by Tricia Clark-McDowell

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The Symptoms of Inner Peace

  • A tendency to think and act deliberately, rather than from fears based on past experiences.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A loss of interest in judging others.
  • A loss of interest in judging self.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of ability to worry.
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling through the heart.
  • Increasing susceptibility to kindness offered, and the uncontrollable urge to reciprocate.
  • An increasing tendency to allow things to unfold, rather than resisting and manipulating.

Origin unknown

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Wisdom from Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa was a happy person. In the middle of the poverty, illness, and hopelessness of Calcutta, she exuded joy. Here is something she wrote:

  • People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
  • If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
  • If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies.  Succeed anyway.
  • If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
  • What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
  • If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
  • The good you do today, people often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
  • If you give the world the best you have, it may never be enough; Give the world the best you have anyway.
  • You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and other people anyway.

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Flame of Peace:
Tips for Sustaining Hope

By Christopher Forrest McDowell, PhD

May I suggest a few simple ways to keep the flame of peace in your consciousness.

  • Keep a perpetual light glowing on a designated altar, day and night.
    One can purchase a small inexpensive light that uses a small bulb. For example, there are quaint electric candle lights, often readily available around the holidays; such a light uses a very low wattage bulb that comes in various colors.
    • Recite a simple one line prayer or mantra throughout the day.
      The Prayer of St. Francis is especially effective, for it begins: "Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace." Consider adjusting any of the first lines of this powerful prayer as a present moment affirmation, as if the phrase already IS. It helps to insert the word "I" and to add an active verb as shown below.

      Example of the first few lines:

        • Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace becomes Lord, I am an instrument of Thy peace.
        • Where there is hatred, let me sow love becomes Where there is hatred, I sow love.
        • Where there is injury, pardon” becomes Where there is injury, I pardon.
        • Where there is doubt, I have faith
        • Where there is despair, I offer hope
        • Where there is darkness, I extend light
        • and where there is sadness, I bring joy
      • Limit your exposure to the media (television, radio, newspaper and other print).
        By the very nature of programming decisions and choices (by those who program or edit content), most media has become a conduit for negative thinking, fear, and manipulation of consciousness. It undercuts the individual's will or desire to maintain and sustain positive thinking and feeling. The media affects us because it uses the Law of Attraction in its negative aspects, pulling us toward those "bad" or discomforting feelings in our perception and response to global and local events. Remember: it is impossible to have good feelings about feeling bad.
        • Sit still, in silence in a place that comforts and soothes you.
          Feel this place as an island of grace in your day. Offer to your temporary refuge your prayer, affirmation, and positive contemplations/reflections. Engage in meditation, if but for a few minutes. Try watching your breath and combining this observation with your one line prayer/mantra. For example, while breathing in say, "Lord, I am an instrument" then while exhaling continue "of Thy peace." Let your breathing flow of its own accord during this process.
          • Wear a special shawl around your shoulders, preferably of wool.
            This is an insulating instrument, if not a portable sanctuary: a protective veil between you and the world. Such a cloak, if it is a well-used one, becomes saturated over time with your peace-filled devotion to Creator, Creation and Peace. Such a tapestry is effective during meditation and prayer, when sitting still in your home or nature sanctuary, when strolling, listening to uplifting music, and even sitting at your desk working. During cool weather, a wool shawl is also warmly comforting, whether you are indoors or out.
            • Instill your peace consciousness with a Spirit of Generosity.
              The spirit of generosity is that of abundance. There is always enough peace to go around. Thinking from a generous mind, acting from an abundant heart of goodwill, such thoughts and deeds give us a sense of being at peace with the world and ourselves. This peace appears to us as calm, a sweet indifference, joy, gratitude and satisfaction. Imagine a half smile on your face, an inviting gleam in your eyes, and a body vibrating with good feelings. It does not matter what it is or how you express it, be generous in these precious now moments. In short, offer yourself up as the generous instrument of peace you are already.
              • Contemplate on someone or a place that models the expression of peace you desire.
                It does not matter if the person is living or deceased, nor whether they are a saint, hero, or simply a friend or loved one. Similarly, it does not matter if a certain place is a recognized location of felt power or beauty, or simply a favorite chair or a spot in your yard or a nearby park. What matters is your perception of a particular person or place: how they make you feel better about yourself and the world. If it is a person you admire, visualize them, imagine them talking to you about feeling good and peaceful and hopeful; read any of their writings and words of encouragement. If it is a place, visualize or visit it, and inhale its inherent peaceful energy.
                • Write down your thoughts about Peace.
                  Keep a Peace Journal where you submit your heart's reflections. Write down favorite quotes and personal commentaries. Create affirmations; write Haikus (a succinct form of reflective poetry of three lines: first line has 5 syllables, second line 7 and third line 5) or other creative submissions. Regularly read through your journal, as this will serve as a recurring form of inspiration and hope.
                  • Upon rising in the morn and upon retiring at night, offer your gratitude, love and service to God/Spirit/Creator/Source.
                    It is important to align your will with Divine Will. By doing so your experience of and attempts at peace will continuously be regenerated.
                    • Strive to use your flame of Peace and Hope to create good and beauty in the world.
                      This is humble service, right livelihood. It is also simple work and play because it is not dependent upon advanced degrees of education, financial success and security, nor special skills and talents. Simply being kind, thoughtful, generous, forgiving - through thoughts and action - is enough to light someone else's candle; it is enough to sustain Peace on Earth and nurture peace in one's heart and mind.
                      • Finally, find time in your day to laugh and embrace humor.
                        The sincere and conscientious efforts we make toward peace can often feel serious and filled with earnest. Perhaps the most radical act one can commit in society today is to be publicly happy, to overtly express ourselves through laughter. Oftentimes we may see ourselves as a "spiritual warrior" attempting to extricate ourselves from personal and worldly woes and/or personal discomfort. However, we should also desire to occasionally feel like a "spiritual clown", recognizing and accepting that life may very well be a tragic comedy in which we have just a small bit of time to traipse across the stage. Of all medicines and antidotes to feeling down, laughter may be the best in the moment, for it relaxes us, lowers our defenses, uplifts our spirit, and makes us feel more childlike in a world ruled by adults often driven by greed, abuse, manipulation, power and control.

                        Copyright 2007 by Christopher Forrest McDowell, Ph.D.

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                        Pledge of Nonviolence

                        Making peace must start within ourselves and between each other. I,
                        _______________________________________, commit myself as best I can to
                        become a nonviolent and peaceable person.

                        To Respect Myself
                        To care for myself physically, emotionally and mentally; to take responsibility for the
                        work that I have accepted and that has been entrusted to me; and to resist negative peer
                        pressure and self-destructive behaviors.

                        To Respect Others
                        To affirm and encourage others and to avoid uncaring criticism, impulsive remarks,
                        hateful words, physical and emotional attacks and anything else that might dehumanize

                        To Communicate Better
                        To share my feelings honestly and respectfully, to look for safe ways to express my anger
                        and other emotions, to work at solving problems peacefully, and to encourage an open
                        system of communication and to promote cooperation in all endeavors.

                        To Listen
                        To listen carefully to others, especially those who disagree with me, and to take into
                        consideration others' feelings and needs rather than insist on having my own way. To
                        listen in order to understand, not in order to simply respond.

                        To Forgive
                        To forgive others and myself, to apologize and make amends when I have hurt
                        another, and to keep them from holding grudges.

                        To Respect the Environment
                        To treat the environment and all resources with respect, to use the resources for the
                        purpose for which they are intended, and to promote environmental concern in our

                        To Socialize Nonviolently
                        To select social activities that strengthen our commitment to nonviolence among
                        ourselves and that promote a less violent society and to avoid social activities that make
                        violence look exciting, funny or acceptable.

                        To Act Courageously
                        To actively challenge violence in all its forms whenever I encounter it, whether at home,
                        at school, at work, or in the community, and to advocate for and with others who are
                        treated unfairly, even if it means standing alone.

                        This is my pledge. These are my goals.
                        I will check myself monthly on what I have pledged to keep my promise to build
                        a more peaceable community and live a more peaceful life.

                        The Pledge of Nonviolence was created by the Association for Global New Thought. They promote the annual A Season for Nonviolence. A Season for Nonviolence, January 30 - April 4, is a national 64-day educational, media, and grassroots campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities. Inspired by the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this international event honors their vision for an empowered, nonviolent world.

                        You can link to their website here:
                        For a .pdf printable copy of this pledge, click here: Pledge for Nonviolence

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