Facebook

Earthworms’ Castings

Jeannie Breeze

With Jean Ponzi

Illuminating! Jeannie Breeze

It’s December 31, at 6 a.m. local time. Hearty souls gather in an urban temple to celebrate, affirm and literally make Peace. Around our world, at the same time, many groups of humans tune into Peace.

Kindred spirits have been doing this since 1985, making this date World Peace Day. We in St. Louis are a bright arc in this sacred circle, and I’d say we have an edge: our leader is Jeannie Breeze.

Leading from the Center
She welcomes all with Short Remarks, meaning, she says, sharing as much as she cares to say, from a short person. She’s the friend of musicians skilled and sublime, who coordinates a most inspiring message flow in song. She’s the leader of call-and-response greetings and blessings for hundreds who each year heed this day’s Call to Peace. She rallies an intrepid band of volunteers who move into action the annual plans to decorate, perform, and serve potluck breakfast. And she’s given all this, her all, for each of WPD’s 32 years, counting this one.

I love the music, the pre-dawn convergence of folk, getting to Speak for Earth at Jeannie’s invitation – and the civilized presence of coffee. But my favorite part by far is the meditation Jeannie guides.

Peace is an Inside Job
She says, “It starts within us! The first challenge, first practice is finding a place of Balance and Peace within ourselves.” So the purpose of her meditation is to take each one of us to that inner place, “where we can find stillness, find peace, and we can let THAT become who we are. Of course,” she notes, as a good meditation master and practitioner would, “the trick is to maintain it!”

Jeannie’s meditations take us on a journey. “That space we enter into,” she explains, “the Sacred Space of the Heart Within, becomes as real as the places we inhabit everyday. When we establish awareness of that space within, we realize we can go there anytime. We can live from that place of true peace, making peace in our world through everything we do.”

Blessed are the Ready for They Shall Get to Go!
It’s in Jeannie’s Aquarian nature to help others, not just do for herself. This spirit of service is a generator of goes-around-comes-around collective power. “When I get to be your guide,” she says, “I also get to go!” Guiding others to experience their peace-creating capacity gives her the opportunity too, with a group impact. “Having many people at the same time united in prayer and visualization of peace – here and around the world – creates a real energy field. It ripples out and it moves reality.”

Cloud Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown
In any conversation with Jeannie Breeze, you may encounter the wisdom of Toltec masters, Ghandi, Don Juan and his apprentice Carlos Castenada, Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo, the bodhissatva Kwan Yin, or David Bowie. She’s a lifelong explorer of sacred traditions, of philosophies that illuminate our human responsibility – the precious gift of our ability to respond – to live from our true, whole and holy nature, to benefit all.

When I met Jeannie in the 70s, she was a new mother (of daughter Ariel) who had just opened Cloud Hidden Herbs, a shop in St Louis’ central west end unlike anything I had imagined. Herbs? Today we’re conversant with some, like Echinacea purpurea, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, chamomile. Over human centuries, cloistered monks to wise women (often persecuted as witches) have studied, tended and skillfully used the healing power of plants. But in 1970-something, such an enterprise was on the fringe.

In ecology, the margins have the most diverse life. The mainstream may grow to incorporate the edge, but it’s the artists, from any discipline, who create change from the edges in. Jeannie is an artist whose work in the performing, healing and divining arts helps people be well, through herbs, prayer, affirmation and learning the skills of right living.

Running an herb shop is part of her history now, but Jeannie’s knowledge and perspective, seeded in that Cloud Hidden era, continues to flower and serve.

IM for Peace
Never one to shun a pun, this Cool Breeze evolved coordinating WPD out of her job in the 80s, editing and publishing Intermission, a St. Louis arts magazine. Her column, The Breezin’ Eye, expanded her spiritual circles as she worked for the arts. When a Unity minister in Texas named John Randolph Price hatched the plan to establish a worldwide annual common hour focused on Peace, Jeannie jumped on the WPD committee here.
She promoted the event through Intermission. “People would say to me,” she recalls, “’You have an inner mission for peace!’ so when I started using the magazine to process donations for World Peace Day, I asked people to make them to IM for Peace. Hah! Every time someone wrote that, they affirmed their commitment to peace!”

Thought Matters!
“That doesn’t just mean it’s important,” Jeannie says, emphatically. “Thought literally becomes the material reality around us. And WORDS HAVE POWER. An ancient Egyptian principle, Ma’at, includes the Word of Truth: if we speak the truth to the best of our ability, after awhile what we say comes TRUE.

“When I learned about that, having been a high school teacher, I realized I had to give up sarcasm. That was a way for a wit like me to always be heard, but sarcasm says the opposite of what we really mean. If we want to speak the Word of Truth, we have to mean what we say and say what we mean. And speak of the best in others, to call out their best.” She admits, “This is always a practice for me.”

Calling All Angels: A Rainbow of Beings
Jeannie moves in diverse circles. She meets heart-to-heart people of varied age, race, gender, background, interests and perspective. She met me, a true daughter of suburbia, coming along my straight path, and helped me expand my boundaries and views.

She started life as Jeannie Jones, the daughter of Methodist ministers, and teachers. She took her path in directions of her own curious design, always inviting others to join the peace quest. Like me, many credit her as a teacher and mentor, as well as a friend.

This year’s World Peace Day theme calls on some of Jeannie’s best friends – Angels, within and around us all – to rise up real early and fill up Central Reform Congregation (and beyond) with our light. We will sing, pray, laugh, dance, journey and feast – together, for the cause of peace in our world – led by an earthly angel, heavenly Jeannie Breeze.

Jeannie also often leads meditations at the Center for Divine Love, 3617 Wyoming, just west of South Grand. Jean Ponzi hosts the weekly KDHX podcast Earthworms, conversing about all things Green from podcasts.kdhx.org, or through iTunes.

Join Our Newsletter