I love this morning’s poem about peace on the Rattle Magazine website: Abby E. Murray’s “The New Year Makes a Request.” Somehow, Murray implies, the new year knows we’re all wishing for global peace in the coming months.

who will destroy the guns? the dictators?
the injustice? we shriek. Who will bring us
what we’re waiting for?

—from “The New Year Makes a Request,” by Abby E. Murray

We are waiting for it. And wishing for it. We’re like the Miss Congeniality beauty-pageant contestants who all claim world peace as their most coveted personal and professional goal. They really do want world peace, it seems, but we suspect that what they really want is the crown.

I’m no expert in making peace on a global scale. All my life, though, I’ve had great teachers who’ve demonstrated how to start small. Their classrooms, sanghas, and workshops have been environments where acceptance and cooperation are expected—those values are the rule. The teachers have taught with every act, with their very lives.

The Llewellyn’s 2024 Witches’ Datebook (a wise and entertaining text) advises action before casting spells:

Before you crack open the Books of Shadows [spellbook for practicing witches], take some time to figure out what you are asking for. Then ask how you can attain it without magick . . . the extra effort you put out in the real world can only enhance your magick.

Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2024, by Elizabeth Barrette et al.

How cool that both the witches and the poets are saying, hey, if you want this thing then do something about it.

Maybe that’s as good a message as any for the new year. To start by taking some time to figure out what it is we’re asking for. And how to get it. Even when we ask for world peace. Maybe it’s as simple as knowing what we really love in this life and believe is worth protecting. The lives of innocents. Clean air and water. This beautiful planet we call home. Community. Kind words spoken. Truth. Respect.

There’s no end of great teachers and teaching about how to do it. Zen Buddhist and counseling psychologist nico hase maintains that instructions for living in peace are right to hand. “The Buddha’s sending postcards from nibbana [nirvana],” nico says. “Open your mail.”

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Like “Peace”? Find more of my writing in 2023 International Rubery Book Prize shortlisted and IAN Book of the Year finalist What I Never Told You: Stories (Wavegirl, 2022). And discover my other books and more short pieces here.


  1. To find peace we’ll have to get rid of religions.

    • Dave! Your comment reminds me of our beloved J. Lennon (apparently co-written with Yoko): “Imagine there’s no countries/It isn’t hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too.” And I just read this from Jimmy Carter: ” . . . in many countries around the world — my wife and I have visited about 125 countries — you hear John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ used almost equally with national anthems.” Radical thinking, still alive.

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