Thursday, May 13, 2021

What non-violence means to me.

Non-violence goes to the heart of intent. For me, non-violence is a balance of do no harm and positive supports towards a peaceful reality. Within the totality of life, there are going to be fluctuations that take place. We have the factors of insanity, accidents and other uncontrollables which slams into us. Like hitting your fingers with a hammer as you build something, stuff just happens. It is the intent that is crucial in a non-violent reality. This intent must be honest, understood and trusted. The intent has to be peaceful.  

Since we are alive, there is a wide spectrum of what each of us will describe as non-violent. For some, zoos are violent, cancer is violent, prisons are violent, smacking a mosquito is violent, spraying your lawn or gardens with pesticides is violent. Due to the fact that we have this spectrum we need to resolve these differences – conflict resolution.

What is weird is that almost everyone will proclaim that they want peace, how we get to that reality is a source of violence/conflict. This means we must communicate in some manner, usually talking. At this point we have a simple question, would you rather work with a person you know to be violent or a person who is known to be non-violent? Most of us would go for the non-violent person and this is why it is very important to be known/trusted as a non-violent person. In the work of peace, the people that are violent are most in need of someone who is willing and able to go through the possibility of being harmed.

Each day, we are trying to make positive steps towards the reality of peace in our own lives as well as our homes, communities and the world. To do this we have to realize that most of us would rather work with someone who is non-violent. It just makes life that much easier, it is that simple.

Here in Canada we have to resolve and transform many relationships. There is systemic racism, systemic violence, environmental challenges, over consumption challenges, health challenges, crime challenges, and many other challenges. None of these will be fairly or satisfactorily be resolved if someone tries to win out over another. That is a violent reality. Being fair, honest and a true partner in peace is what we need. 

Monday, May 3, 2021

My personal peace

 Right of the top everyone should know that I am quite an intense person. Some people describe me as a heavy personality to have around. I strive to understand the world in as much depth as I can handle. My most difficult task is asking for help and taking the hand that is offered when I falter. This takes me to some very dark places and as difficult as it maybe for some of you to listen to this, taking my own life is a common thought. Although this may sound to be a terrible thing, I am grateful that I can experience the emotions of such a situation. It helps me understand the depths of despair. It helps me to understand the feelings of having no hope, no reason, no other way through, being alone, the feeling of not wanting to burden others with my shit, feeling that the world is better off with me gone. Now you may wonder what puts me back on balance, or what pulls me from the edge?

For me, this may sound crazy but the fact that I am willing and able to walk that path is a challenge I give myself. Each time I go down this path, I run into myself at five years old. I look that little guy in the face and he tells me to smile, go play outside, climb a tree, roll down a hill, explore, throw a ball around, shoot pucks or other such stuff. Then he thanks me for checking in with him and having the courage to continue on. We are usually sitting on the shore of a huge lake or the ocean. We skip some rocks together sometimes and slowly that fades away as my eyes open.

After that I take a deep breath and go play. Each day is a step, I am not interested in winning the race or even finishing the race, I am interested in doing my best with each step.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Causing Peace

 Working to rebuild myself as well as society and assist other people is the focus of peace for me. I sought out the most difficult tasks, the areas that everyone would rather not bother with. This area is filled with what most societies would say are the arseholes of the world. The criminals, the violent offenders, the people that are seen as unwanted. In most areas of where I worked in North Africa and the Middle East, the child soldier is one such example of the unwanted. Here in Canada, I have focused on youth who are either coming out of jails or are on a course to possibly be in jail. In all of this I have had to battle my own downward spirals into the pit of hell.

 Building peace is an exercise in sustainability. When a person starts or is lead down a path of criminality, the sustainability of society slowly erodes. As that one person begins to erode, there are victims and communities that will be impacted. Each will need supports to repair/sustain peace. To get back to the peaceful path there will need to be a great deal of work done. This is very much using the cliché “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” or “a stitch in time will save nine”.

The efforts made at the right time are the same efforts made when everything is off the rails. The amount of work expands with the damage down. These efforts are education, communication, conflict management, mindfulness, stress management, and many other areas of concern. The work is never ending and ever expanding. This expanding model is why each of us will most likely never understand the complete impact we have on the world. What is important to understand is that each moment we have a choice to make a peaceful impact or a harmful one.

With the child soldier or youth gang member, there is often little choice as they are faced with a violent consequence. For children, the choice to not be abused will be an easy choice. Then they are mentally conditioned to become the feared. This reliance on fear to gain self worth begins to fester and society erodes. This chain of events is the difficult task that needs to be halted.

It is easy to look to the adults who educated the youth into becoming the feared. It s harder to look at the society in which the child was raised because that is a systemic problem. What is even harder is for those who live in such areas to look at themselves. There is no greater fact than it takes a community to raise a child – everyone in that community has a responsibility.


There is no – “well it is not my problem” or “I got what I want so who cares about everyone else” or, “I deserve it just as much as anyone else” or, “I am entitled to so I am taking it”. These are words that start people down a path of causing harm, the slippery slope. However, the complex nature of communities will not be an easy task to change. It often feels like smashing your face against brick walls is a better choice and more productive.

Solutions

These are not easy but they are necessary. Peace is about building a caring society.

Be brave to say and act peacefully.

Explore the emotions which anger you. Seek to understand the feeling of the opposition, seek to truly experience what it feels like to be the one who destroys a community. Feel the isolation of hatred, mistrust, antagonism, the shit disturber, the person who always has to be right and the one that continually screws up.

Be patient with yourself and others. We know that we can not slap sense into people. If that worked, war would have solved every problem we have thousands of years ago. Also it has come to the point where common sense is not longer sensical.

Give peace to those you despise. For those that take and take and take, when you stop and give yourself the space to sense such a life, you will understand the pain of worthlessness to have to live such a life. Realize that giving includes a kind word, an ear to bend or a meaningful pat on the back.

Take care of yourself. This one will give you energy when you feel that enough has been given. Find avenues to vent frustrations peacefully. Find a sparring partner. Find a space where you can be comfortable and peacefully go overboard sometimes – blow off steam.

This world is a magical place, there is more to it than most people ever have the courage to explore. The crazy thing is that the exploration is one of the mind, not the physical. Be brave and explore the paths of peace. There are many children who are going to need you at some point. The world depends upon you to be peaceful. We already know what causing harm does, lets see what happens when we put a greater effort into causing peace than we do harm.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Peace is a choice.

 

When an artist creates something, they have their own point of view. Anyone that looks upon that creation can have a different interpretation of that creation. Such is what I have done with Samuel Huntington’s book The Clash of Civilizations. The source of conflict is certainly the clash of different paths, however the clash begins in the mind of the individual. The conflict is not about the differences of civilizations, the conflict is the differences of choice each of us make every day and what being free really is.

Often we confuse choice with freedom due to how we see and understand the world. How we see the world is slowly developed each day. With each day the lens of understanding becomes narrower. As our understanding narrows, our choices also narrow. How we live and plan for the future is also impacted even though we still cling to the idea that we are acting freely. For example, the lens of how to build a peaceful society is the same lens used to build criminal organizations. The difference is the focus, intent, choices, and goals we choose to make.

At this point, we must think about the reality of freedom and ask if a child who is taught to be racist was free to choose such a path? Going along the same idea that each person born will only be racist if they are taught to be so, the need for education is clearly understood. Furthermore, the need to understand that a child is going to be moulded by the information provided. Taking a step back, the adult who decides what information is going to be provided begins the process of the conflict within the mind. Thus the clash of civilization begins in the mind of the individual.

This is why we must focus on peace, how to be peaceful, how to maintain inner personal peace. From there we need to bring these tools to the children and support them in all the efforts that encompass building a peaceful society.

Monday, April 19, 2021

The process of peace

 Building a peaceful society is a responsibility that each of us must take with great sincerity. A peaceful society can only exist when the importance of process takes root in each of our minds. As each of us go about our lives we will have to work with other individuals. With each encounter we build, shape and create that world. With each encounter we choose the direction of that reality. What is often lost is that the encounters are rarely face to face. Our actions are witnessed by everyone around us. This is the reality of building a peaceful society.

It is a rare moment when peace suddenly arrives like the strike of a bell tolling. There are usually many steps taken in slow progression. There are moments where frustrations, anger, heart break, loss and other painful experiences will have to be dealt with. Each of us will need structures in place to help ensure each of these experiences are handled in a peaceful manner. Each of us will have to work/grow into processes which bring peace into our minds.

Each of us are living a reality that no other person has or will ever live again. This is why each of us must find their own peace – with the help of everyone else. Even though the processes are similar in the large scale of thought, as each of us works through their own processes, they will find a combination of methods that works for them.

There are a great many methods being used to help people in their process of peace. Going to the gym, music, prayer, yoga, climbing mountains, reading, solving puzzles, painting, building houses, cooking, writing, healing others, math, walking, singing, sculpting, making others laugh, teaching and the list goes on for a very long time. For each of us, the combination will be different than most others. The commonality is that a trust of security in each other will be built.

With each step we take, we are to ensure that everyone around us can depend and trust that each other will act peacefully. We will act in a manner that we will not cheat, harm, take advantage of another or act in any manner that formulates a sense of exclusion or superiority to another. That is the reality of peace, the courageous work that needs to be done and the efforts of each day we are all responsible in accomplishing.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Profits before peace

There is little need to delve into understanding why we do not have peace in the world. We have been given the best example of why in the actions of such corporations such as Bell Canada Enterprises when they applied for Covid Relief.

My experiences have shown me that actions being legal, just, right, acceptable, and, moral, will become debatable when balanced with what is peaceful. For example, just today I learned that the large corporations such as Bell Canada, Rogers, Imperial Oil and most likely others, have taken millions of dollars for Covid relief when they never needed it. The level of greed is absolutely disgusting. The sense of entitlement is equally disgusting. Even though legal, in my mind there is no way it was peaceful. It is these actions that really erode peace.

As people are losing their businesses, families, jobs and, sanity, there should be a sense of commonality. However, there are always those that will belly up to the trough to suck out every cent to get their piece of the pie. Why not just take three dollars out of every homeless person tin can as you walk by? That is the analogy of exactly what was done.

During times such as these you really see the true nature of people. Those who are greedy, selfish, belligerent, uncaring, etc… stand out against those who work to give, share, assist, heal, etc… These are the moments in life when peaceful actions matter most. The acts of paying forward are most felt in times such as these.

As governments struggle to manage shrinking economies, massive grief, uncertainty and a sense of calm, there are those that are putting their lives on the line to hold society together. Then we have to endure the arseholishness of those who act without any sense of empathy.

The break down of community is easy to accomplish when profits come before peace.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Order or Terror

 

There is no doubt I have and will act in ways I will immediately regret. Sometimes emotions get the better of me as they do for others. However, this understanding is not a course of excusing regrettable moments. This is an understanding that such moments need to be stopped or at least limited.

As I have said many times peace is not easy. We have to understand the minds of everyone, even the insane. That emboldens the peaceful to actually delve into the world of insanity and have the wherewithal to pull back into the world of sanity. How else can you understand war or even go through years of such terror and come out in some semblance of good mental health?

The case in point is the recent COVID experience. The world was presented with a deadly virus that spread rapidly. Each of us had to work our way through a large unknown. As we gathered information and strategies, we could see a way through. Sadly we had to deal with those who have and will die. That experience of death on its own is enough some to go into a tail spin. To be a peaceful person, there is a need to have a strong will to make sense out of this non-sensical time.

People are impatient, frustrated, out of options, alone, scared, tired, and need respite. In their search for peace they will find only more work and responsibility. This will crush some who then lash out or shut down. Both of these options are equal in their impact to the individual and society.

For those that do not evolve into the lash out/shut down coping mechanisms, they are the ones that have the open arms, big shoulders to cry upon, a warm smile, the extra cup of tea, the ear to bend and/or has the patience to provide space so others can shut down/lash out.

That is exactly why peace is not easy. It is having the fists of those who lash out come down around you. As you take those hits you only feel the utter lack of options those fist represent. It is seeing a person who has shut down and providing the open arms when you just had the fists of the other come down on you.  It is not pity that a peaceful person has, it is understanding how such a situation is to the mind of the individual.

I have been the one to throw the fists of anger on too many occasions and have shut down as well. Those moments will forever bring pain and remorse, mostly due to the fact that I know it can and might happen again. Being in that place of insanity is my order of terror.