Carpe Pacem

How do we repair the world? One moment, one breath, one heart beat at a time.



I love how students and clients are always asking questions that show me where I need to clarify something. It’s so easy for any of us to be just, so inside our own heads isn’t it? I love it when this happens: then I am the student and they are the teacher.

So, a new client contacted my and she comes from an Orthodox Jewish background. I was raised Jewish too, though in a more relaxed mode. Anyway, it gives us some common ground from which to begin. And since increasingly, it’s clear that all the deepest truths from all spiritual traditions, many of those core items about how reality is and how we might treat each other in the most beneficial way, are all saying the same things – be kind, generous and so on, I seek most of all to help us forge connection through our similarities rather than paying attention to what’s divisive.

So, I’ve taken to signing notes, emails etc., “carpe pacem.” This morning, this new client wrote to say:

     I’ve heard of carpe diem, but what’s carpe pacem – seize the peace?

Wonderful! Exactly!

It does mean seize the peace!  (and wanting to address her own background and our connection there, I realized something new myself!)

No one can do this for us. You might think of it as another form of tikkun olam. How do we repair the world? One moment, one breath, one heart beat at a time. With our moment by moment intention to pay attention with a heart full of peace. The more we all hold this intention, this attitude dear, considering it part of how we live our lives, the more the world is repaired, the more awake we are, the more we create conditions for peace, awakening, kindness, generosity for ourselves and all beings.

So, try it today. Why not? Carpe Pacem. You can do this as an all day practice or pick five minutes to do your best, let go of perfection and just be here, right now, on purpose with gentle, compassionate curiosity for your own experience. Let’s just see what is happening, moment by moment. Don’t like what you find in the moment – irritation, impatience, physical pain? Just welcome it all as well as you can. It will change. All those emotions aren’t problems to be fixed. They’re just what we are feeling right now.

Maybe we can try to orient ourselves a little bit gently to those feelings. Rather than shove them away (our natural instinct) treat them as a mother would a little puppy, or a baby. “Oh dear little puppy. It’s okay. Come here. Come on. There there. Now just stay. See? That bad feeling is already changing on it’s own.”

Carpe Pacem and gently, with love.

May all beings find freedom from suffering and the causes of suffering.


Author: Hillary Johnson

Improvisational documentary and fine art photographer.

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