Respect BY DONNA DAY © 2022
Our Peace Nurturing Practice for this week is respect. Our genuine concern for the welfare of others is an expression of our respect; a behavior which nurtures peace for all involved.
Challenging as it sometimes is, we are wise to begin with ourselves and use kind and respectful words in our internal commentaries. No more Mrs. Harsh for us! (See Speaking Peace for more on this topic. https://mypeacesanctuary.com/speaking-peace/)
Once we establish and attempt to maintain gentle inner speak, it naturally flows for us to speak with and treat others graciously as well. Our focus on respect precludes judgement and/or belittling. We are able and willing to treat ourselves and others with dignity.
Others do not have to earn our respect; we offer it as part of knowing and honoring our oneness with all beings which deserve to be treated with dignity. Namaste is a beautiful expression of respect which literally means: “I bow to you,” and is usually accompanied by assuming a Prayer position with one’s hands next to one’s heart. It can be a lovely way to show respect. The more we offer respect to all, the more peaceful we become.
Treating all gently, respectfully, we can be at peace with ourselves and others. We may have different food choices, hobbies, ways of expression, and may look different outwardly than others. However, none of these superficial divergences truly matter. We don’t expect the moon to be the sun, nor do we expect cats to behave or look like dogs. Never have I said to an elephant, you should be more like this mouse. Each living being has its own unique place in the mosaic of life.
Respect for Mother Earth leads us to make choices that promote the health of our waters and land. Several beaches on the Florida Gulf of Mexico have been closed recently because of high levels of Enteric bacteria. According to The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County: “Enteric bacteria can come from a variety of sources, including stormwater runoff, pet waste and wildlife and human sewage from failed septic systems and sewage spills.” Respect and love for Mother Earth can lead us to take actions to be part of the solution.
Respect breeds respect. Just as we can be the change we want to see; we can be the respect we want to see. Learning people’s names and how to pronounce them correctly is a simple, yet powerful, form of respect. Rather than a nameless person waiting on us at a shop or eatery, delivering mail, packages, or removing garbage for us, we can ask and learn names and greet others by calling their names.
There always have been those who wish to divide us, to invite us to dislike if not downright hate one another. The world offers us plenty of those chances if we wish to live in an angry world. However, we need not accept the invitation and rather can extend one of our own born of honoring ourselves, other humans, other beings, and our Mother Earth.
We do not necessarily have, or need to have, the answers to all of the pressing concerns of today or tomorrow. However, we have a powerful tool in respect which allows us to create fertile ground on which peaceful solutions to our challenges can unfold.
Thank you for choosing to help create a world of respect where all are treated courteously and kindly, where the right to exist and thrive is respected: a world of genuine concern for the welfare of others.
Namaste, dear one. Together, may we bow to all.
When I open my heart rather than my rule book,
I see a world of perfection with diverse beings;
I AM peaceful.
Reflection: This practice runs deep with me and takes me back to my years as an educator. In the classroom, RESPECT was my cardinal rule. It began with me respecting my students and treating them kindly. When I was a student, I experienced teachers demanding respect and it usually didn’t work at all because we complied in order to pass the class, but never truly respected or liked them. It seemed to me that the teacher was the one who should model respect by respecting the students and other teachers. I’m grateful to say it worked! I respected the students and overall, they respected me and their peers which made for an environment where we all could feel safe and supported. It’s something I look back on with gratitude and pride.
I am a nature girl at heart and have spent countless hours in the woods and other natural settings. Over time I have refined my awareness of respect for other forms of life. When I was younger, I did not hesitate to get up close to other species to take their photos. Once I thought more closely about what I was doing, I stopped getting into such close proximity of other beings realizing I was not respecting them or honoring them as fellow Earth beings. I was considering myself separate and superior to plants and animals rather than respecting them as beloved fellow beings. My sweetheart, Ernie, has been most helpful in pointing out when it would be thoughtful and polite for me to move back and let the zoom on my camera assist in getting good photos of owls, snakes, terns, dragonflies, butterflies, and frogs. Can you imagine if the tables were turned what it would feel like to have a larger animal such as a bear come very close to you and stare into your eyes?
Reflecting on respect in my life at this time brings me to my walks which are very important and joyful to me. On my walks, I wave and greet everyone I pass; it is simple, but important to me because it’s a form of respect. Today this practice of being respectful of all, honoring all as fellow beings took an interesting, and rather disarming twist.
While Ernie and I were standing at a corner, I waved at a gentleman in a large black truck. I assumed that like everyone else, he would either wave back or not.
I never dreamed he would turn the wheels on his huge truck and appear to be deliberately aiming for me and Ernie! This was not at all the reaction I had anticipated or desired.
At what felt like the last second, he swerved, pulled alongside of us, and called out of his window, “Y’all have a good day, you hear!” It was such a fabulous surprise and a wonderful reminder that respect does indeed breed respect!
Your Turn: How is this practice working for you? Do you feel different when you choose to treat yourself and/or others with respect? Do you notice a difference in the way others treat you? How can you bring more respect into your life and your community?
Thank you for being a vital part of Peace on Earth.
Your comments and suggestions are welcomed. (Click on the blue link below.)
“Respect is The Best Way,
To Keep Peace on earth”
― Md. Yousuf Ali
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