The Be-nice Lady

Everyday Stories of Peace
Green Scarf Stories, entry seventeen, December 31, 2014

One of my many high school obsessions, aside from the very cute drummer in the school band and keeping up with the latest hairstyle, was a woman we called the “be-nice lady.” This petite woman had the job of roaming the halls of our high school, especially the areas of high density and other zones of potential conflict as 500 teenagers with raging hormones, frail egos and sometimes divergent agendas of what is a good time tried to get through the school year under one roof.

The be-nice lady was the most powerful woman I have ever met. If two strong boys were in a heated discussion and on the verge of throwing punches, she would place her petite self between them, hum a tune, and tell them to “Be Nice!” which, believe it or not, always worked. To me this was nothing short of a miracle, because to my teenage brain the world seemed to operate, paradoxically, in a might-is-right fashion. So whenever I had the chance, I would shadow the be-nice lady between classes to see if I could learn the tricks of her trade.

Her two most salient characteristics were a lack of fear, and a deep well of love for the teenagers she was trying to help. Even if she was jostled a bit, or poked fun at, she never relented in her firm belief in their inner goodness. It was as if she had a super evolved sense of intuition to know the root of their anger, or hurt, and why it came out into the world through harsh words or through their fists. She had this aura of peace around her, which she spread around with a simple hum, a word, a look, and through her sheer presence.

The be-nice lady was one of the most influential role models of my formative years, even though I never did learn her real name. Thanks to the be-nice lady for inspiration; I hope to be more like her in 2015. Happy New Year!

Here’s Sophia gazing at the moon while skiing this afternoon.

2014-12-31 14.29.08


Moon Language

Everyday Stories of Peace
Green Scarf Stories, entry sixteen, December 25, 2014

Here’s a poem for this special day, with wishes that the season of hope, joy, peace and love lasts all year long.


by Hafiz

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them,
“Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud;
Someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us
To connect.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,

With that sweet moon

What every other eye in this world
Is dying to


Happy Noodles

Everyday Stories of Peace, Entry 15, December 13, 2014

It’s cold and dark outside and the lack of sunshine in December makes me feel like a three day-old piece of overcooked pasta. I’m not thinking about macaroni, penne or tricolore fusilli, but something akin to a wavy egg noodle that is hard to scoop off the plate. This is how I feel on my yoga mat this morning: dull, lifeless and tired. I’m a soggy old noodle stuck to the mat.

Keeping a morning routine is extremely hard for me, especially this time of year in Sweden. Somehow I manage to do a few sun salutations, trying to move the tiredness out of my body and bring more energy to my cells and positive thoughts to mind. Just a few easy poses and I’m already feeling better. Soon I imagine myself to be a polar bear on a piece of melting ice (my mat), with a warm coat balancing in a peaceful warrior pose. I move on to tree pose, and I’m standing a little taller. My energy level and outlook have improved. All the world’s problems seem a bit smaller. With belly on the mat and hands holding feet, I’m now a boat, floating to safe shores.

Suddenly I’m not that piece of soggy pasta that couldn’t move on the mat. A few yoga poses and I’m feeling more like a bowlful of happy noodles, cooked with just the right amount of spice. All that changed, really, was my perspective, and I’m bouncing out the door to enjoy the day. After all, today is the celebration of Saint Lucia, and one never knows what interesting things might happen.

Thanks to some of the yoga teachers who help get me moving:

Caroline and Ratheesh

Kambiz Naficy