June 2, 2008

Stepping Out in Peace

On my journey of only a few miles along the Santa Cruz coastline this weekend—a walk that was hard on my body with its achy middle-aged joints—I thought of the indefatigable messenger popularly known as Peace Pilgrim. For 28 years, from 1953 until shortly before her death, this remarkable woman, born Mildred Norman, walked more than 25,000 miles (she stopped counting in 1964) all over North America in the name of world peace. Her message was simple, and familiar to most of us on any spiritual path as well as this parallel path of inquiry: in order to experience peace in the world, one must reach a state of inner peace.

Peace Pilgrim vowed to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace." Her travels, which began after a personal epiphany at age 44, ended with a fatal car accident in 1981, shortly before her 73rd birthday.

In July of this year, 2008, Peace Pilgrim would have turned 100 years old. If she were alive and able today, no doubt she would continue to walk. It seems we haven't learned the way of peace yet; not in the world, not in our relationships, not within...not yet. We would all stop the war within and without if we could. I may be a slow learner, but I'm learning more about peace every day; and I write these posts during my inward pilgrimage as a way of keeping that message of peace alive in me. As we question the beliefs that disturb our peace, we are better able to keep alive the message of the great souls like Peace Pilgrim who saw only good in others and lived a life of service. Thank you, all who read and resonate with this, for walking the walk.

"It isn't enough just to do right things and say right things—you must also think right things before your life can come into harmony.” —Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Works in Her Own Words, p. 16

To learn more about Peace Pilgrim and her 100th Birthday Celebration, visit the website Friends of Peace Pilgrim here.

©2008 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

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