Begins with ME!"
host: Len Ellis
to Peace Begins With Me, a monthly dialogue to promote
peace through personal responsibility. News Flash!!
We live in a society, in a culture, in a world surrounded
by violence. Like a drop of water in the ocean, violence
is so prevalent, so much a part of our daily lives,
we many times don't even recognize it or are aware
of it. Hence the impetus for this program, to raise
our awareness of violence, and provide ways to deal
with conflict and violence in our lives. From language
to abuse to fighting and to the ultimate expression
of violence - war - we always have choices of how
we are going to deal with not only our fellow human
beings, but with all of life.
may wish that it was easy, that some day our leaders
will simply proclaim "peace" and that would
be the end of violence. But our leaders are a reflection
of our consciousness, they represent and manifest
all our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Until each
of us can be at peace, to act in a nonviolent way,
we are part of this culture of violence. The challenge
is to create, then grow, a culture of peace.
where are our leaders going to learn the skills required
to model peace? To promote peace? I guarantee you
that at the stroke of midnight some hand will not
be waived and all of a sudden every leader on this
planet will know how to live a nonviolent life - not
where we come in - we are the ones that must learn
nonviolent methods, and as each of us learns, so too
will others. When I say 'we' I'm talking about me,
because no matter how hard I try, I can only be responsible
for my behavior, I can only have control over my own
life. I can't force someone to be nonviolent, or force
them to learn (by definition, forcing someone to do
something is an act of violence). We will examine
all aspects of our life - our thoughts, our words,
our actions, and question why we act in certain ways.
are all connected. Everything we think, say and do
contributes to the state of the world. The question
is, how do we increase the number of peaceful thoughts
while decreasing the number of violent thoughts, and
then turn those peaceful thoughts into words and actions?
McCarthy, describing his classes on nonviolence, talks
about a term paper submitted by one of his high school
students. The term paper summed up the situation in
15 words and went like this: "Q: What are we
violent and not illiterate? A: Because we teach people
often wonder when we, as a world society, resorted
to violence as a way to resolve conflict. Was it when
the first caveman picked up a rock and struck the
head of another caveman who was taking his food? Is
violence a natural instinct, or a learned behavior?
From thoughts of judgment and hatred, to verbal abuse,
to physical abuse, to fighting, to murder, and then
to the ultimate form of violence, war, when did we
find it acceptable to attempt to resolve conflict
in this manner? Indeed, if violence is learned, it
can be unlearned, and new methods of nonviolence taught.
Back to the term paper, we can teach people to read
AND we can teach people to be nonviolent.
me be clear - being peaceful does not mean an end
to conflict. On the contrary, it means having conflict
and resolving it in a way that is life-enriching,
in a way that is without violence, in a way you are
at peace in the middle of the chaos. Conflict is necessary;
it gives us a chance to grow and to see things from
a different perspective. What is not acceptable is
to resolve the conflict in harmful or deadly manner.
And to that point, that is the purpose of this program,
to explore ways to resolve conflict in a nonviolent
way, to explore how I contribute to the violence in
the world, and what I can change so that I am contributing
we will learn together are ways to promote peaceful
resolutions. We will explore ideas and tools to model
this peace in our lives, to contribute to a peaceful
society, a peaceful planet.
is not easy! Kids, traffic, politics, all opportunities
to rant and rave and look to see what we can be against,
or, to see how to handle these situations in a peaceful
way. This is all I can control - me. Peace begins
with ME! I only need to make the commitment to do
something about it, to put my words into actions,
to live in integrity with what I know and believe.
are people everywhere who want to help create a better
world – people deeply concerned about widespread
suffering, environmental destruction, escalating materialism
and the loss of our sense of community. There
is a deep and growing hunger for a wiser and more
loving society. Gandhi and King modeled the
vision to create such a society, as well as showing
us that the power for social change lies within individual
consciousness. We really do want to create a
nonviolent world, so we must first become nonviolent
individuals. With a vision of a society governed by
love and the common good, we have a powerful antidote
to the violence, distrust and division of today’s
atmosphere of fear.
In practicing the relational principles of nonviolence
we recover and renew ourselves and our families, so
violence and secrecy no longer shape our behavior.
We realize that our lives, and those of our children,
depend on transforming our culture of violence to
one of nonviolence. Learning to be nonviolent
is a new way of living, creating a healing process
that begins with 'me' and ripples out into the larger
world. As we heal our own relations we are demonstrating
that people, organizations and governments can move
the world pro-actively toward peace and wisdom.
Each and every one of us, must be active participants.
We must speak out against violence and injustice wherever
it shows up, we must raise our voices, we must BE
the change we want to see in this world. Peace begins