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Cultivating Peace in August


My August Peace Project

At the end of July, I found a copy of Altruistic August featured in Women Living Well After 50.

Inspired, I borrowed the idea, applied it to my Word of the Year (Peace), aligned it with my current activities calendar and came up with the following.

This calendar was super simple to prepare (I used Canva, but scrap paper or an old calendar page would work just as well). I also used 100 Random Acts of Kindness to help generate ideas. Many of the activities that I chose are ones that I do regularly. The key difference was setting the intention and making the commitment. This helped increase my mindfulness, sharpen my focus and boost my momentum. As I had set small, achievable tasks that lined up with my daily calendar, sticking to this plan was easy and enjoyable. This project also encouraged me to try activities I had long thought of doing (e.g. picking up trash in my neighbourhood), but I had never quite gotten around to before. I officially have one week to go. I hope to naturally maintain these Random Acts of Kindness and intentions beyond August.

Here are some of the calendar activities in visual form.

Sadly, near the end of August, Richard and I lost our brother-in-law, Frank. This is another very challenging time for our family. As with my mom’s broken hip in June, my advanced work on inner peace proved very helpful to me. It’s been a great lesson that peace of mind does not require external peace and quiet, nor does it require a lack of chaos around us. Ashley Bush-Davies (author of The Little Book discussed below) reminds us that calm, compassionate, deep awareness is within each of us. Our task (should we choose to accept) is to learn to tap into it.

Frank, Richard, Teddy and Me.

The Little Book That Keeps on Going

Here are the current updates of The (Traveling) Little Book of Inner Peace.

Book A Stop 1: Surfers Paradise, Australia. Stop 2: Tumbarumba, Australia. Stop 3: Buderim, Australia. Stop 4: Wellington, New Zealand. Stop 5: Tahiti, French Polynesia.

Photo with current recipient, Samantha, French Polynesia.

Book B – Stop 1: Nanaimo, BC. Stop 2: Scarborough, Ontario. Stop 3: Florida, USA. Stop 4: Barry, Ontario. Stop 5: Port Hope, Ontario. Stop 6: Toronto, Ontario.

Photo with current recipient, Nancy, Toronto.

Book C Stop 1: San Diego, California. Stop 2: La Quinta, California. Stop 3: Palm Springs, California. Stop 4: Brentwood, California. Stop 5: Baltimore, Maryland. Stop 6: Currently in the post on its way to India!

Current Recipient: Maya in India.

How was your August? How did your intentions align with the realities of the month? Please join Jo, Sue, Debbie (currently traveling) and me to share what’s been happening for you. We’d love to hear from you.

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93 thoughts on “Cultivating Peace in August”

  1. A project to accomplish always makes me more productive in getting my goals done although I am not near as good as you are! I am very impressed with your project and very sorry for you loss.

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  2. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your brother-in-law. I’m pleased you were able to tap into your inner peace and allow it to get you through these challenging times, Donna. We all have that peace within us, but sadly some are never able to access it during difficult seasons. Yay you! Your project is quite inspiring!

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  3. So sorry to hear of your loss Donna…my sympathy to you and your family at this time. I did, however, love your August calendar – very inspirational – and am sure the little book of peace is enjoying the sun (and, knowing the recipient) the bubbly in Tahiti.

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    1. Ahhhh, I didn’t know about the bubbly! Samantha did mention that The Little Book had had an extended stay in Tahiti…but she left out the champagne part!
      Thank you for your kind words.Ahhhh, I didn’t know about the bubbly! Samantha did mention that The Little Book had had an extended stay in Tahiti…but she left out the champagne part!
      Thank you for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your August has some unexpected challenges, my friend…but I am confident your inner peace will help you through them as it has already this summer. And Bowser says “thanks for the yummy dog treats!”. Safe travels. Miss you!

    Deb

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    1. Hi, Deb – Bowser is very welcome for those treats. Tell him that there is more where those came from. (Shhh, just don’t tell his mom!) 😀 I hope that the renovations in Bowserland are continuing to go well. I look forward to seeing any updates in mid-September. Miss you too!

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  5. Kind regards, Donna, at the loss of your brother-in-law. There’s always something, isn’t there. I trust you will all soldier through. Facing each day, week, month with intention does something for me. I just crossed off the 2nd-to-last item on a to-do list. Something shifted for me in August. Gone is the anxiety that I’ve been experiencing for the past few months. I don’t know what it was. In the words of one of my sage friends – just sit with it and see where it takes you. That sustained (WOTY-sustain) me. Well, I’m in the same place doing many of the same things but without that sense of anxiety, leaving me with a renewed sense of well-being. I notice you didn’t put an off day to be kind to yourself?

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    1. Hi, Mona – First off, thank you for not saying ‘penultimate’ — I don’t know what it is about that word – but it’s somewhat of a pet-peeve for me. I can never explain why.
      I’m glad to hear that anxiety has lifted for you in August. Sitting with it and seeing where it takes you is great advice from your sage friend., a
      Oh, and I did put in a day to be kind to myself. All of those little RAKS I throughly enjoyed – so each one of them brought joy to me. And, on the calendar I had listed it as my “30 Day Peace Project”….which gave me one day grace if I needed to play that wild card!

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  6. So sorry for your families loss Donna. You’ve had some challenges that your WOTY has really helped with it seems. Great calendar — Canva has not been my friend lately- so glad you made it work. It looks similar to my advent kindness calendar which takes planning but feels good. Take care of yourself. Bernie

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    1. Hi, Bernie – Thank you for your kind words. For this past month I have been on a ‘free trial’ for Canva Pro. That makes such a big difference when trying to do anything with Canva these days. My free trial just ended…so I am now back in the cheap seats! 😀

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  7. I’m so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law passing Donna and the sadness that your family will be dealing with atm. I’m glad you’ve managed to find and maintain a calm and peaceful inner core throughout it all – which is tricky at the best of times, and a lot harder when we’re grieving. Loved all your intentionality over August – you’re much more focused than I am when it comes to planning!

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    1. Hi, Leanne – I think you are very focused — and when you have a task to do you do it right away. I greatly admire that about you (and many more qualities as well). I hope that everything is good there and that your hip is behaving as best that it can.

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  8. Hi Donna I love following the travels of your books. There is a movement here in Victoria called Books on The Rail where finished books are left for others. I’ve left books but have no idea where they have ended up. Peace comes through your writing this month. Long may it continue

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    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer. There is a similar book movement called BookCrossing (https://www.bookcrossing.com). You copy a link inside a book and then leave it somewhere. People can connect with that link to update the book’s travels. I have used Bookcrossings with two different books and heard back from one of them.
      I just came back from reading your recent post. So uplifting! Wishing you a wonderful September as well.

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  9. Donna, thanks for this thoughtful post. We lost a dear friend this month and Dom had a stent put in his heart. You are right about inner peace not necessarily being dependent on outer happenings in our lives.

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  10. Hi Donna, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your life has certainly been challenging these last few months, making your WOTY seem all the more poignant. I love your 30 day Peace challenge – writing intentions down definitely seems to help me accomplish more so I may steal your idea for my own projects. I also love seeing where your Little books of Peace end up travelling in the world. Thank you for sharing your creativity

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    1. Hi, Janine – Steal away! Since I borrowed the 30-Day Peace Challenge from a friend, who borrowed it from an online post, it is ripe for stealing.
      The Traveling Little Books of Peace have been fun. A recent update since you read this post is that Book C is now on it’s way to India. How cool is that?!

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  11. I hope to have a more positive life going on here come October. Until then, in answer to your questions:

    1) How was your August? A mess of half-finished projects, rainy days, and many decisions about my husband’s upcoming retirement

    2) How did your intentions align with the realities of the month? Good intentions, that I shall cling to during September, that have gone awry

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    1. Hi, Ally – Thank you for answers my questions so thoughtfully and so candidly. Your answers have made me want to be with you in person, pour big cups of tea and chat. Hold tight to your intentions and please send us updates via your posts.

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  12. I am sorry to hear about your BIL, but happy that your commitment to inner peace helped so much. I have mostly accepted where I am–is ‘acceptance’ one of the pieces? Great calendar, too. I use RAK with my students, always simple, free activities like ‘give water to a thirsty dog’.

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  13. Donna I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of your brother in law. This brings heartfelt condolences.
    I so enjoyed looking through your peaceful August calendar. I agree that there are many things on there i already do but doing them with intention would be more powerful.

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    1. Thanks, Sue – You are very right about the power of intention. When I first began teaching, I read a book called ‘Invitational Teaching’ by William Purkey. It had a big impact on me both inside and outside of the classroom. In short, it presented Four Levels of Functioning which described teachers who are intentionally disinviting, unintentionally inviting, unintentionally disinviting, and intentionally inviting. The importance of intention — both for good and for bad — has stuck with me ever since.

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  14. Hi Donna, I’m sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. Your Peace calendar is a great idea. I hope your inner peacefulness gives you strength and calmness during challenging times. Thank you for co-hosting #2022WOTY link party with Sue and Jo this month and for sharing your August project and updates on the traveling book.

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  15. Donna, I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of your dear brother-in-law. I am sure your heart is filled with many special memories of him. I am inspired by your August project, and I’m pleased the traveling book is still traveling the world!

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  16. I love your peace calendar and the altruistic calendar that inspired it. It’s so helpful in reaching a goal or realizing your intentions by breaking actions down into bite-sized pieces. I’m always so happy to see that the Little Book of Inner Peace is still making its way around the planet. Go, book, go!

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  17. There is so much to enjoy in this post, Donna. I love how much you care about your community and others so much so that you create a calendar to remind you of ways to serve. I fall so short in that area. Secondly, I want to say how sorry I am for your loss. It’s always too soon, but Frank looks very young. It’s also fun watching your book make its rounds. Isn’t that a great bond between bloggers? It’s one thing to read the same book and quite another to read the SAME book. Do you all leave messages in the books?

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    1. Hi, Marsha – From what I observe in your blog community, you never fail to serve. I continue to learn a great deal from you. To the best of my knowledge, only the first two or three recipients of each book were bloggers. I did originally glue a signature page on the inside cover if each book. Sadly, the books’ small sizes prevent longer written messages (unless receivers have been very creative). 🙂

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  18. I’m sorry to hear (and now read) about Frank, Donna! And, how did today and the next few days look? Did you treat your grandson to the game?

    I love your calendar modification, but like you mentioned a few days ago – being able to pivot and be flexible is important; even more so when you made different plans or filled out a calendar!

    It was really nice to see you on Zoom this week and lean about your (and others’j recent experiences and thoughts! Have a nice and productive weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Liesbet – Although I was fairly specific on the calendar, I also left it open enough that there was room for pivoting. So far, I have been able to follow through with each calendar RAK. We did treat our grandson to a pro ball game. The pivot part was that his mom and a clasamate went with him instead of Richard and me. It was wonderful chatting with you on Zoom. Your presence was so uplifting!

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  19. Hi Donna – so sad to lose Frank … with thoughts to all his family and you. I love your idea of cultivating peace, which I’m sure will continue. Your little books are doing wonders around the world – fascinating to see their journey. The post gives me food for thought – thank you … all the best – Hilary

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  20. Donna,
    Your inspirational post was very timely for us. Last week, my brother lost his lovely wife very suddenly and two days later, my Mom (94) fell and broke three ribs. The anx set in, but I need to forget about me and do something for others because, in spite of the anx out there, we’re still blessed more than we think. Love this and the updates on your books. Joe

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  21. Hi Donna, life is always full of joy and sorrow aren’t they and your word ‘Peace’ certainly can be tested. The Calendar is a wonderful idea and I use them in many ways. It helps to keep the focus and a daily prompt is always good. I’m sorry to hear about your family loss and sending love and hugs to you all, especially to Richard’s sister. xx

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  22. Dear friend — I very much appreciate how you shared your inspiring Peace Calendar immediately before letting us, your friends, know about the passing of your dear brother-in-law Frank. You are giving US a chance to be kind, by sending you love and hugs and support (and remembering Frank with you). I think vulnerability, as you’ve displayed it, is an important act of kindness too.

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    1. Thanks, Carol – You are very kind. I actually had this post partly written when we received the call that Frank had passed. So I mostly wrote chronologically. I had never reflected on vulnerability as a form of kindness. This is a great topic to ponder!

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  23. Donna, what a loving and heartfelt post. I am sorry about the passing of your brother in law. I understand too, how good it is to “know” the practice so well, and then, when the time comes of life’s challenges and confusions along withe sadness, we can initially feel “out of balance” until we reach back into the toolbox of all that “work” we are learning about change, transition and ‘being’ and exhale. I am doing a LOT of that lately. Sending love and thank you for the link up. Denyse.

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  24. You have such an innate inner peace about you, Donna, that this WOTY just resonated with you from the beginning. What a great idea for a calendar! Sincere hugs and wishes for more peace as you grieve the loss of your BIL. I’m shocked when I read that more of our friends and family members are moving on into eternity.

    BTW, that little book needs to make it over here to the Inland NW, practically in your neighborhood. I’ll PM you my address.

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    1. Hi, Terri – After I sent the first three little books on their way last February, I have had no influence over where they end up. I no longer know the recipients. I had originally sent one book to BC, Canada, one to Australia and one to San Diego,US. The Canada book took a quick trip to Florida but is now back in Toronto. The Australia book is currently in Tahiti, and the US book is currently on its way to India. I am delighted that I still hear back from them, but I know that sadly even that will not last forever. 😦

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  25. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, but so glad it didn’t shatter your sense of inner peace. That peace project you started with the random acts of kindness also sounds great. I may want to start one too, as my WOTY is “joy”.

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  26. Oh how fun to see the book making so many rounds!
    And not so fun to lose Frank
    Sending condolences

    The calendar you made for the peace and outreach was a great idea and loved the photos that went with it

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  27. One more thing –
    Really liked this

    “It’s been a great lesson that peace of mind does not require external peace and quiet, nor does it require a lack of chaos around us.”

    This is so true and sometimes it is like god grants us that “peace that passes understanding” as we don’t let circumstances rob our joy

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      1. Well that line is not mine – hahah – I think it is from the Bible
        And talks about that supernatural peace or that calm peace that goes beyond circumstance –
        And many years ago – we were bowling with a large group and I overheard a lady sharing her faith with another lady – and this lady had what I call religious baggage and “all things faith” just really seemed like a trigger (she had experienced the very bad folks with Christianity and I felt bad for her) but I remember how the lady sharing her faith kept noting the peace that God have her – (that passed understanding) and later it reminded me that we all have different takeaways and different experiences of what our faith and spiritual side brings us – for that lady it was “peace” and for me? It is joy…. (and peace of course) but I know others who are focused on the afterlife more than anything and then others who focus on love —
        Hmmmmm
        Anyhow – hope your month is off to a Great start

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      2. Hi, Yvette – Thank you for another wise and candid comment. I completely agree that we each bring different takeaways and different experiences that greatly colour our outlooks and behaviours. When we accept and understand that, it makes everything so much easier!

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  28. So sorry to hear about the loss of your brother-in-law: my thoughts are with you and your family as you continue to grieve his passing.

    I am very inspired by your Random Acts of Kindness Calendar – you’ve got me thinking ….

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  29. Hi Donna, what a terrific idea with your calendar. As you say, setting the intention and making the commitment are good ways to follow through. I’m so sorry for your loss and difficult times. Having the right mindfulness can certainly help with your inner peace.

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  30. I love how you made your own calendar Donne and not at all surprised! I’m sorry to hear about your brother-in-law and wish you and Richard all the peace in the world. Hope your mum is going OK too. I loved my blogging break, due to travelling, but I’m back now!

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  31. My condolences to your family, Donna. It’s possible to be at peace in the most difficult of situations, but it does take work to get there. Your post is so inspiring!
    I guess I missed the WOTY linky this month, although I had my post up. But I’m glad to read the linked posts.
    Have a great September!

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    1. Hi, Corinne – What a wise and kind comment. Thank you! Our next linkups are: What’s On Your Plate, 12:01 am, Sept. 7. What’s On Your Bookshelf, 3 pm, Sept. 15. Word of the Year Link Up, 3 pm Sept. 29. (All of the above dates and times listed in Vancouver, BC, times). We hope that you will join us for one or more of these!

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  32. I love your peace calendar, Donna, and as always, appreciate the update on your traveling books. They are really making the rounds! I have done several intentional activities around my WOTY (Connected), but failed to write a related post in August…perhaps in September.

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