Friday, December 22, 2017

Harmony Moon's World Peace Wish Tree
 You may have noticed the World Peace Wish Tree in our front window at Harmony Moon, the one with all the colorful tags tied to its branches.  We started this tradition at Harmony Moon many years ago and it has been our most popular holiday activity ever since. 

 Our Wish Tree is based on an ancient Japanese tradition.  During the annual Tanabata Festival in Japan, bamboo stalks are placed at strategic locations in a public square or park.  People write their wishes on slips of paper and tie them to the bamboo trees.  At the end of the festival, the bamboo stalks,  with all of their wishes, are burned.  The fire takes the wishes of the people up to the heavens to be heard by the gods.

The Imagine Peace Tower of Light in Iceland
Our Wish Tree is inspired by Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace project.  Yoko’s Wish Tree art installations were started as a way to memorialize her husband, John Lennon, after his death.  Wish Trees have been installed all over the globe and more than one million visitors have tied their wishes for world peace to the trees.  The wishes then are gathered together and buried under the Imagine Peace Tower in  Reykjav√≠k, Iceland. 

The Pathway of Peace in Washington, D
When Harmony Moon (then known as Mindful Hands) was in Alexandria, VA, we would gather our Wish Tree wishes in a basket every year and walk them down the Pathway of Peace in front of the White House and then burn them in the National Yule Log. 
This year, we will gather all of your wishes and send them off to the Imagine Peace Tower where they will be combined with thousands of other wishes from people all over the world.

In this way our wishes will become part of the Tower of Light, a grand visual reminder to the world that “peace & love is what connects all lives on Earth.”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Compassion in Times of Unrest

 
In the most challenging of times, when anger, hatred, even simple mean-spiritedness seem to be all around us, it's important to remember that humanity is kind at heart.  Those who are the angriest, the ones with hatred in thier hearts, the loudest, the meanest, are oftentimes also the most unhappy, the most afraid.   We don't have to agree with their ideology, their rhetoric, their actions and deeds, but we should still try to find compassion in our own hearts - even for the haters.  Choose love.  Always.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love


Yes, the hippie in me still believes in peace, love, equality, inclusion, justice, and kindness.  Universal values, to be sure.  And I still believe in the goodness of humankind and the healing power of music.  And friendship and compassion.  And flowers.

This summer marks the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love, when more than 100,000 hippie peaceniks descended on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco.  It was a revolutionary social movement at a time of great unrest in the U.S.

A movement whose impact is still being felt today.  Whose values are as appropriate to solving the great issues troubling the world today as they were back then.

As the late great Jimi Hendrix said, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will know peace."

Yes, I believe in that.

Always. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hygge & Happiness

In the darkest of times, with cold winds and raging storms all around, the Danish have devised a weapon of first resort.  A weapon that can eliminate, or at least diminish, the feelings of stress, sadness, and hopelessness that often arise in their long, dark, cold winters. That weapon is “hygge.”

Pronounced “hue-guh,” the concept is not easily translated into English but is most often equated with “cosiness.”  Hygge is further associated with a comfortable conviviality and contentment.

Hygge encompasses not only the ambiance of the room (think cushy chairs and wood-burning fireplaces) but also includes dress (flannels and woolen socks), food (porridge and hot cocoa), and company (close friends and meaningful conversations).  Their propensity for creating hygge is one reason why the Danish, in spite of their long winters, have been called “the happiest people on earth.” 

The United Nations has recognized happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and declared March 20th as the International Day of Happiness.  To do our small part in boosting the art and science of happiness, Harmony Moon will be posting suggestions and happy thoughts on our facebook and twitter pages throughout the month of March.  Please join us in helping to increase happiness, health, and hyyge for all the world’s people. 

To get you started, on the right is the GREAT DREAM poster from the Action for Happiness.  It is a science-based “10 Keys to Happier Living."  

To read more about the Danish concept of "hygge," try these resources:









And, if that's not inspiration enough, here's Pharrell Williams and "Happy":

 



Sunday, February 5, 2017

The science of kindness:
 
Did you know that engaging in acts of altruism and kindness can increase the production of the chemicals oxytocin and serotonin in your body? This increase can lead to greater self-esteem and feelings of optimism and happiness. It can also reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.  In other words, the kinder you are to others, the happier you feel!

Harmony Moon is holding our annual Kindness Festival on Saturday, Feb. 18. Please join us for refreshments and prize drawings.  You can also make Kindness Prayer Flags and cuddle with kittens in our Kitty Petting Zoo, hosted by Staunton-based cat rescue group, Humanitarians of Pet Education (HOPE).  10% of all purchases made at Harmony Moon during our Kindness Celebration will be donated to HOPE.

In the meantime, do something nice!  Here are some suggestions:

  • smile at everyone you see
  • say "thank you" to someone who did something nice for you
  • compliment a stranger
  • pick up trash in your neighborhood
  • volunteer to read to a patient at a local nursing home
And for more information on the science of kindness, check out these resources:

The Science of Kindness (Life Vest Inside)

The Science of Kindness (Random Acts of Kindness Foundation)