Hiker on the Appalachian Trail

 “In the summer of 1952 Mildred Norman hiked the entire length of the 2,050 mile Appalachian Trail. She was the first woman to accomplish this feat….On January 1, 1953 Mildred became the Peace Pilgrim and began her first walk across America from coast to coast. Over the next 28 years she was to walk more than 25,000 miles, carrying in her blue tunic her only possessions. She lived a pilgrim’s life, in utter simplicity and spiritual trust. She walked and talked her message: ‘This is the way of peace—overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth and hatred with love.’ The Peace Pilgrim’s life was born in a vision that came to Mildred Norman at the end of the Appalachian Trail and it was to be her life mission: a pilgrimage for peace.”

The above words are from (or inspired by) the booklet Peace Pilgrim: An Extraordinary Life by Ann Rush with John Rush

Some years ago, while living in Peria in the Far North, I received a vision. It is a vision in which every land is traversed with walking trails, trails which transcend borders. Along each trail are planted (by the children of each country) durable species of fruit and nut-bearing trees. These trails will be part of a worldwide network of Paths for Peace. Imagine young men and wome – instead of seeking initiation into adulthood through alcohol, drugs, thrill-seeking or war – walking the length and breadth of their countries for peace. They shall be sustained along these walks by the edible foods planted there.

Peace Pilgrim was one woman working for peace with single-minded purpose. Imagine thousands or even millions of similarly dedicated souls collectively creating a world of peace—with their hands (planting) and their feet (walking). Imagine a world without borders united by carefree, healthy, happy hikers singing songs of peace.

Imagine a multitude of Paths for Peaceresplendent in beauty and diversity of flora and fauna, climate and terrain – representing the incredible diversity of the human family. These diverse Paths for Peace will represent the unique path towards peace each of us walks daily and the unique paths to peace each of the world’s religions represent.

This is my vision for peace. Will you help it to manifest by holding it in your heart?

 

Possibly related post:

World Peace is Inevitable

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

 

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Appalachian Trail Scenery

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After a sojourn in the wilderness, Peace Pilgrim walked again in the streets of a city that had been her home for awhile. It was 1:00 p.m. She saw hundreds of neatly-dressed people with pale or painted faces hurrying in rather orderly lines to and from their places of employment. She walked amongst them in her faded shirt and well-worn slacks. The rubber soles of her soft canvas shoes moved noiselessly beside the clatter of trim, tight shoes with high heels. In the poorer sections of town she was tolerated. In the wealthier sections some glances seemed a bit startled, others disdainful.

On both sides of the walkers were displayed the things which could be bought if people were willing to stay in the orderly lines, day after day, year after year. Some of these things were more or less useful, others not – some had a claim to beauty, others were garishly ugly. Thousands of things were displayed – and yet the most valuable things were missing. Freedom was not displayed, nor health, nor happiness, nor peace of mind.

Peace Pilgrim was, of her choice, a penniless wanderer for 28 years. Her pilgrimage was her retirement project and she walked on the endless energy of inner peace. Earlier in life she realized making money was easy, but not necessarily satisfying.

In the nearly 30 years since she died the forms of the things we can buy if we decide to stay in the orderly lines year after year have changed. Still, some are more or less useful and others are not.

Is it time leave the orderly lines and risk being looked upon disdainfully? Is it time to march to a different drummer? Is it time to acknowledge that the most important things in life are free – health, peace and happiness – and readily available should we choose for them.

What will your choice be? I wish you freedom, peace, health and happiness.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

Peace Pilgrim has been a great inspiration to my family over the years. I’d like to share a few words I’ve put together about her and her amazing life. Once edited, this will appear in my next book, Beyond the Search.

Enjoy in peace,

John

 peace_pilgrim

On January 1, 1953 a lady with silvered hair walked at the head of the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California handing out leaflets. It was the beginning of a pilgrimage that carried her across the breadth of America. In December of the same year she arrived on foot in New York City and presented a petition to the United Nations and world leaders for world disarmament and reconstruction.

Mildred Norman was starting her retirement project. That project ultimately lasted 28 years, during which time she walked six times across the continent, visited every state including Alaska and Hawaii as well as Mexico and the ten Canadian provinces.

She walked with the seasons, moving north in the spring and south in autumn. Her only possessions were what she could carry in the front pocket of her blue tunic—a folding tooth brush, a comb, a pen and paper for correspondence. She carried no money, nor would she accept any. Hers was a pilgrimage of faith. Unlike the mendicants of Asia she never asked for food, she fasted until it was offered. She seldom missed more than four meals in a row. Likewise, she slept outdoors until offered shelter.  

Her tunic carried the name that was hers from that fateful day in Pasadena—Peace Pilgrim. Over the years she spoke at thousands of churches and schools and was interviewed on radio and television nearly everywhere she went.

Always her message was the same: ‘Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth and hatred with love.’ Her message was all the more powerful because she lived it, every step of the way. She taught that peace began with the individual and that any action any of us made—to create harmony in a relationship, to create peace in a group, for one’s inner peace—contributed to the total peace picture.Peace Pilgrim book cover 160609

This woman who spoke with obvious intelligence and conviction and who moved and walked with youthful vigor inspired countless people to make positive changes in their lives.

Mildred Norman was raised in a pacifist family on a small farm on the edge of Egg Harbor, New Jersey. Although a top student in school and a daring swimmer, there was little indication in her youth to those around her that she would make such a dramatic transformation later in life and become Peace Pilgrim.

The turning point for her took place in 1938 when, mired in an unhappy marriage and lacking the deeper meaning for which she yearned, she had her first peak spiritual experience. She felt a oneness with all beings and dedicated her life without reservation to giving rather than getting. Thus began fifteen years of preparation culminating in an unshakable inner peace that remained with her throughout her pilgrimage years. During that fifteen year period of preparation she walked daily in receptive silence amidst the beauties of nature. She put into practice the inspirations that came to her and shared those steps to inner peace whenever and wherever she spoke. A friend transcribed the steps from a radio talk she gave in Los Angeles in 1966 and created her Steps Toward Inner Peace booklet.

After her death (what she called her ‘transition to a freer life’) in 1981 five of her friends gathered in Santa Fe and decided to compile the story of her life in her own words, using transcripts and recordings of various interviews and other material they had collectively gathered over the years. That book, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words has reached hundreds of thousands of people all over the world and over a million of her Steps Toward Inner Peace booklets are in circulation.

Steps Booklet for Peace pilgrim 160609Those succinct and practical steps, including four preparations, four purifications and four relinquishments, are available to anyone who deeply desires inner peace. The steps are to be taken in the order one feels compelled to complete them. As Peace Pilgrim said, “The first step for one may be the last step for another.”

Peace Pilgrim said she would ‘remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace.’ The story of her life and her work continues to reach an ever-expanding audience worldwide, contributing to a more peaceful world, one person at a time. A feature film on Peace Pilgrim is due to be created and released soon.

For further information on Peace Pilgrim and available materials visit:

http://www.peacepilgrim.org/

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

water-for-living-with-less-blog

 

My earlier ambitions of wanting to become a vice president with Bell Canada and becoming a millionaire by the time I turned thirty melted away in the three year backpacking life of freedom and few possessions I describe in my book, In Search of Simplicity.

 

A man’s wealth is determined not by what he possesses, but by what does not possess him. Another way of putting it is, ‘A person’s true wealth is determined not by what she has, but by what she can happily live without.’

 

I’d like to share with you an affirmation I made for myself a few years ago. It was inspired by Peace Pilgrim, who was a penniless wanderer for 28 years and who walked across America six times. She said, ‘I refuse to live with more than enough when there are others in this world with less than enough.’ Remember what the Buddha said? ‘The root of all suffering is desire.’ Or the words that deeply influenced me in Chapter 34 of my book, ‘All desire comes from a sense of lack.’

 

Here is the affirmation:

 

I release the need for greed when there are others in this world who don’t have enough. I know when to stop eating, I know when to stop buying. I know when to stop wanting. I know when to stop.

 

Repeat that every morning, preferably while looking in the mirror. I guarantee it will change you and your actions.

 

Amira (our eldest) leaves the house next week. Asha will follow her in a few years. Lucia’s and my ambition is to have a little house and a little garden. If we have more than enough, it’s more that we have to look after. Peace Pilgrim told a story of the lady on her own who was working so hard to support her bigger-than-necessary apartment. When Peace Pilgrim suggested she could do with less she said something like, “But you see, I couldn’t do that. I have furniture for a three bedroom house.” She was overworking to support her furniture!

 

In a world where a few privileged individuals are prepared to pay up to $80 for a bottle of water and others don’t have enough to drink, we need to dramatically alter the balance of wealth. I heard in an interview recently that a consortium, including a well known movie star, was buying up underground water rights around the world. Will the starving underclass in the Third World now turn into the thirsting underclass, so a few rich people can get richer?

 

I have less ‘stuff’ than I once had; but my smile gets bigger every day.

 

You never know the value of water until the well is dry.

 

Ben Franklin

 

 

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I just found out about this film: “Flow: For Love of Water”. http://www.flowthefilm.com/ It details the world water supply and what is happening to it. All this while GE is quietly buying up water rights all over the world.