BY Parvati


Mildred Norman was an American pacifist, vegetarian and peace activist Born modestly on a farm in New Jersey, she felt an inner call in her mid life to simply walk for peace and listen to God. In 1953 she adopted the name “Peace Pilgrim” and walked across the United States for 28 years. Her only possessions were the clothes on her back and the few items she carried in the pockets of her blue tunic which read “Peace Pilgrim” on the front and “25,000 Miles on foot for peace” on the back. She was backed by no organization, carried no money, and never asked for food or shelter. She vowed to “remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.”
I love her inspirational teachings. She offers much insight on how to live with complete integrity, true simplicity and utter faith. In one of her few printed texts, she says, “Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.”

We all have stuff — and a lot of it! Do we really need all we have? Similarly, do we really need to be doing all we do? Could we not do and find perhaps more joy with less?

Most of us are plagued with a deep, pesky thought of “not enough”. We want more to try to fill an inner void we cannot place and cannot satisfy. We try to do more to impress others, unconsciously still seeking approval from our parents, teachers, caregivers, fearing if we did not do to impress, we would not be loved.

Peace Pilgrim goes on to say, “The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.”

If all is Divine Play, then why not slow down? Be and enjoy what is! Oh! The juiciness of it all! We rush to conquer tasks ahead, missing the sweetness of this moment. This moment comes only once in all of eternity and then it is gone, never again to be. In our attachment to the past and future, we miss the fullness of what is now. When we slow down, we see that we have been missing the divine in what is, and what is, is a reflection of our true nature.

We need to question if all that we have stacked on our to do list is really what we need to be doing. Often what we feel we need to do masks what we are truly called to do. We can hide in business and never slow down enough to find out what makes us tick, what brings us joy and who we truly are. Business helps us avoid our fear of not feeling like we are enough.

When is enough enough? Go through your to do list and make sure that what you have there you really need to do. 

Ask yourself, “If today were my last day, what do I feel I need to do?” Do you have a bucket list? If not, start one and begin integrating the tasks into your life.

Of course, we all have rent and bills to pay. We must care for our necessities. But if we get mired in these and mistake them for what is most important, we loose the fragrance of life. It is like if we were to see a flower only for it’s stem and petals, we would miss the best part, the sweetness of its perfume.

Make sure that what is on your list is truly essential. Choose actions that build a balanced life between necessary tasks like paying your taxes, and living, like smelling the flowers and your bucket list. Ideally, the necessary tasks can begin to feel as much of a joy as smelling the flowers.
If your life is all about the taxes, you will feel taxed. If you are all about fragrance, you will loose your ground. Find balanced wholeness and approach each task with equal importance, seeing it as a reflection of the divine.

(Continued tomorrow with “To Be And Not To Do”)