Celebrating International Peace Day on September 21, 2008 marks another historic day in the quest for worldwide peace. When you think of peace it can be a relatively evasive topic. It may seem a lofty goal for some and for others it is part of their every day existence. The question I propose is, “How do we achieve peace?”
Since I will not find myself in Iraq or even at the next United Nations Conference, I found it helpful to first be clear about how peace is defined. When looking up the definition for peace I stumbled upon 17, yes that’s right 17, definitions for peace. And that does not include the countless quotes and speeches written for and about peace in the last century. If we consider that the pursuit of peace includes (i) the normal, non-warring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world. (ii) A state of mutual harmony between people or groups, esp. in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbors. and (iii) Freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquility; serenity, then what have you done in the past year to promote peace either within yourself or within the world?
There are many avenues down which to travel when considering the path to peace. No one way is the “right” way. In fact it may, like the definitions above, touch on a myriad of areas depending on the week, the month, the year, the moment. Peace can be inspired by something you see, touch, hear or feel. I can be a personal search through the body, the mind, emotionally or spiritually. It can be sought after financially or through outreach, advocacy and contribution. Maybe it is a social awareness or involvement. No matter the path, the question remains, “How do you achieve peace?”
Have you meditated in a still, harmonious setting?
Have you meditated on peace itself?
Have you directed peaceful thoughts towards yourself, your friends and family, your community, the nation, the world?
Do you remember to breathe?
What is your practice for achieving peace of mind?
1. This can be praying regularly or writing in a journal.
2. Practicing yoga or Tai Chi, meditating, setting bedtime intentions.
3. It can be the simple consistent practice of taking a deep breath and paying attention to your breath.
4. Repeat to yourself (or think)...."Peace be still" while simultaneously thinking of a place in your mind to a time in your past in which you experienced, "peace of mind"...be there visually, auditorily, and emotionally.
5. Mentally confess a promise to God and allow the promise to override a negative circumstance.
How do you achieve peace in your life?
1. Work through your unresolved issues using self forgiveness, releasing resent, resignation and resistance and loving yourself.
2. Collaborate, Compromise, and Contribute. This gives you a voice, flexibility and a wonderful feeling of giving back which certainly can soothe the soul.
3. Manage your time and schedule “me” time first instead of last.
4. Leave time for errands, avoid over-booking, keep your financial life organized and current to provide support and encouragement so you know what you have and what you can do. Pay your bills on time.
5. Learn how to take responsibility so you can recognize judgments and blame and avoid the cycle of victimization.
How do you achieve piece socially or globally?
1. Write advocacy letters or make donations supporting organizations for environmental issues you believe in.
2. Volunteer for an event in support of peace.
3. Educate yourself on the issues that need advocacy in your community, your city, your schools
4. Celebrate individuals who do make am impact in your community so they may be mentors and role models for our future generations.
5. Send care-packages and supplies to help rebuild the lives of war torn families.
6. Learn about ways you can contribute to the eradication of pandemic disease and the alleviation of poverty and hunger.
7. Read books with your children on topics such as environmental issues, bugs and their value, survival skills, and endangered animals.
8. Prepare food for the homeless or clean the beach.
There are countless creative ways to gain awareness and to being to be the change you wish to see in the world. Being a mentor and opening another person’s eyes to the gift of a shared smile can lessen the rage in the world.
As International Peace Day has been on my mind I asked my five year old son on the way home from school yesterday what peace means to him. I was fascinated and amazed at his comprehension and connection to this concept.
He said, “Mommy peace is when God takes care of the army and keeps everyone safe. The world is smiling and peace makes my heart smile too.” I sat there at the traffic signal like every proud mom might, reflecting on the wisdom of my bright-eyed five year old. I pondered my own answer to that question. I agree that peace really is at its essence that which makes my heart smile, an inner knowing and reassurance that everything is okay. My literal mind went straight to the big issues like the resolution of conflict, the desire for a world of love and optimism, honesty and living a life of truth and integrity, but I realized that would require control of situations that are simply out of my control. So I invite you to continuously ask yourself and your children, “How can each of us find more peace personally, socially, globally and spiritually?”
If you truly believe that peace is a worthy objective, then make peace within yourself. Start talking about peace with other people. Include it in a conversation. Ask questions about how to build peace. Advocate for peace, attend a seminar, a convention, a rally. Write and article or a poem about peace or sit down and draw images that represent peace to you. Make a peace vision board with a collage of images selected by your family and put it on the wall near your front door as a reminder of your stand for peace.
Peace, be it individual or at a community, national or global level, must begin within ourselves. Peace is individual and inspires others. Global peace requires that a large majority of the people in the world want peace, are prepared to act to secure peace, and enjoy, nurture and appreciate peace within themselves.
Beyond her work at KooDooZ, Monika is a Senior Life Strategist at Life Strategies specializing in creating custom solutions in home (and business) for effective and transactional communication, marketing, life (and business) strategies, creative processes, inner focus and accountability and self-reliability. In addition, Monika has spent time facilitating seminar’s and experiential workshops, consulting for numerous start-up companies and is a maven in negotiation, communication and interpersonal relationship building. Her titles include Director/ Producer/ Supervising Video Editor (corporate technologies); Co-Founder / Chief Strategic Officer (software/internet); and Owner (business consultant/ life strategist).