Category Archives: Season for Nonviolence

Season of Nonviolence (SNV): Day 10 – Faith

Day 10- FAITH: When Caesar Chavez was organizing farm workers, he taught them to say, “Si, se puede,” “Yes, it is possible,” when they didn’t know how they would overcome an obstacle.  Today let’s say, “Yes, it is possible,” to every obstacle we meet.  Now, write down three things that are hard for you.  After each one, write “It is possible for me to overcome this obstacle and be successful.”

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“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible’!” – Audrey Hepburn

1) I am in a career transition and have many ideas of how I envision next phase of my work life, but not exactly sure how to encompass all things (working with people with mental illness and other disabilities, teaching mindfulness practice to help people reduce stress and manage their thoughts, coaching people on holistic healthily living, etc.)  into one job. All that I want to do falls under the Wellness umbrella. I am very new to the city I now call home, so one thing I am doing is volunteering with different agencies in my area of interest to gather info on how they provide service to their clients. Other than that, I am staying open to the possibilities and going with the flow knowing that, in time, things will fall into place. – It is possible for me to overcome this obstacle and be successful.

2) On the fitness level, I find it difficult to walk/run like I used to due to experiencing constant (every second of my waking hours) pain in my right knee after knee surgery. Well, the knee surgery was in 2006, but in 2014 I live with pain everyday. Doctors I have visited can’t seem to tell me why the pain won’t go away, so I live with it. I try other activities, but the pain persists. – It is possible for me to overcome this obstacle and be successful.

3) I have been living with depression (diagnosed) for many years. Everyday is a challenge just to get out of bed to get the day started. – It is possible for me to overcome this obstacle and be successful.

“It is very important to generate a good attitude and a good heart as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short-term and the long-term for both yourself and others will come.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Tomorrow’s Preview: Day 11  CONTEMPLATION:  “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is”.  Let your mind be fed by “whatsoever is good and beautiful.”

**Season for Nonviolence campaign, also known as The Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence (SNV), asks us to focus our attention on attaining peace through nonviolent actions. More info at: http://www.agnt.org/season-for-nonviolence**

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Season for Nonviolence (SNV): Day 9 – Dreaming

Day 9 – DREAMING:  Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. What is your dream of peace? What is one thing you can do to honor that dream? Do it today.

 “I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. That one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream…” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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The disparity between white people and people of color have not greatly closed since MLK, Jr.’s speech. The biggest imbalance can be observed in the American penal system. Non-white individuals suffer brutality at a higher rate in an un-equal judicial system. For example – according to 2010 report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission, black offenders in America receive 10% longer sentences than whites for the same crimes (1). Studies show that police are much more likely to pull over and frisk blacks or Latinos than whites (1). In fact, the disparity is not unique to America. Across the ocean, in the U.K. it is documented that African-Caribbean people are at higher risk than white suspects of being arrested and tried for a crime. Furthermore, they are six times more likely than white people to receive longer prison sentences (2).

Like King, I have a dream that my children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but I know that that reality is a long way off. Some white Americans might be denial that racism still exist in today’s society; however, from tweets I’ve viewed on my twitter feed, racism is very much alive in America. Case-in-point, bigots made their voices heard when the Coca Cola commercial shown during the Super Bowl where Americans from different cultures sang “America the Beautiful” in seven languages. I saw the ad and loved the idea that people from different countries want to sing “America the Beautiful” in their native language. What could be wrong with that? Must we all be reminded that, apart from the Native Americans, everyone else came to inhabit America after leaving their native land.

A poll conducted by the Associated Press (AP) found that racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008. A 2012 poll showed that 51% of Americans expressed anti-black sentiments compared to 48% in a 2008 survey. It’s not only about anti-black attitudes though. Data from a 2011 poll shows that 52% of whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes (3). Without the labor and intellect of foreigners, America would not be what it has evolved to be since the arrival of the Pilgrims in the 17th century. It’s unfortunate that there are still some who refuse to accept others who are different from who they perceive themselves to be, but guess what, we are human and we all bleed red. As Rodney King said, “can’t we all just get along?”

I stand with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the desire to see freedom reign from every hilltop, every mountainside, and every landscape of the world. I believe that when all people of the world take to heart that “all men (& women) are created equal”, the senseless wars will cease and harmony will ensue (I can dream, can’t I?).

Today, I went to an Open Air Market and felt quite at home amongst people of different nationality and ethnicity. My dream is that people of all races, cultures, nationality, religion will suspend judgement of those who are different and hopefully, accept them for who they are – a child of the human race. The fruition of my dream starts with me, so I do my best to walk the talk each and every day.

Life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Resources:

(1) http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-racial-discrimination

(2) http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/abusestats.html

(3) http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-poll-majority-harbor-prejudice-against-blacks – The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago.

Tomorrow’s Preview: Day 10 – FAITH  Have faith and say, “I Can” until you find a way.

**Season for Nonviolence campaign, also known as The Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence (SNV), asks us to focus our attention on attaining peace through nonviolent actions. More info at: http://www.agnt.org/season-for-nonviolence**

Season for Nonviolence (SNV): Day 8 – Healing

Day 8 – HEALING:  Today, choose a painful incident in your life and find the “gift” it has given you.  Consciously share this gift with others.

“The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.”  Marianne Williamson

I try not to think about the most painful incident in my life, the one that shook me to my core, because after seven years, it still hurts, but I’m willing to go there for this day of Healing.

I clearly remember the day of the “incident”; I guess it’s a memory that will be with me for the rest of my life. I was looking forward to the day because my work-team had traveled from different corners of the U.S. to converge at our WHQ for a conference. It was always a productive, but also fun time when we were all able to come together in one location to discuss business and debrief at the end of the day at a local restaurant with a good meal and a few drinks.

My day started as it usually did – up early for my morning 3 mile run. Afterwards, I was on a runner’s high and happy with life. When I got back to the hotel room for my shower, I noticed an email from my dad that screamed, “COME NOW!”. When I saw the tittle, I thought it was one of those email strings being sent around. My dad new I was out of town on a business trip, so I was surprised to hear from him so early. The email had no written content, so I called his house phone and his cell to see what was going on..no answer. I then called his sister to see if they had spoken that morning. They were very close and spoke on a daily basis. She said she had not heard from him that day, but since it was her birthday she was sure they would talk later. I told her about the baffling email message. She said she would check on him.

As I left the hotel and while in the car, I got a call from my aunt with the news that, “your father killed himself”. The words didn’t register right away so I asked her to repeat her statement. She said, “your father isn’t with us anymore”. Now, I’ve given birth twice and even though they were joyous occasions, with each birth came the statement, “never again will I endure that pain!!”. The process of giving birth is no joke. Well, the pain I felt after hearing the news, did not even compare to the pain of giving birth. The birthing process was a physical pain while the knowledge that my best friend was no longer alive was a pain of the heart. I could not breath. I could not think. I could not move. I was in Shock. Our admin made flight arrangement for me to fly back home and my teammates packed my bags and drove me to the airport. I was in a fog for a long time. The other dreaded part of the experience was calling my children to tell them, “grandpa is gone”.

Writing about this major loss in my life still brings up a lot of emotions, but I am now able to “feel” them in a different way. Believe it or not, there are a few healing gifts that came from this devastation. I received the gift of empathy and compassion. The Buddha said, ““Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” I now have empathy for those who have and will loose loved ones. I now have compassion for those who experience pain at all levels. I now have a up-close-and-personal view of suicide and better understanding of the thoughts that may lead to the act of taking one’s life. And, I now advocate for people dealing with mental health issues.

The biggest gift of all is the gift of knowing that tomorrow is not promised (hell, the next minute is not promised) and that I should not take anyone or anything for granted. I happily make time for my children to talk with them, hang out with them, and show appreciation for them each and everyday. Out of a traumatic experience came a better appreciation for life.

 “Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal people’s souls.”  Melody Beattie

David Foster Wallace, a brilliant writer, lived with depression for over 20yrs, but lost his battle in 2008 when he committed suicide. This passage he wrote about suicide seems to capture the essence of suicidal person. It seems he had a good grasps on suicidal ideation. My guess is that he may have had these thoughts regarding his own life. Of course, this is speculation on my part based on his bio. I don’t know his actual thoughts, but I do appreciate his quote about the subject of suicide and depression.

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing.

 The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant.

 The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

“I’m touched by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful – collecting these shards of spirituality – that we may be helping to bring about a healing.”  Leonard Nimoy

Tomorrow’s Preview: Day 9 DREAMING – what is one thing you can do to honor MLK, Jr’s “dream”?

**Season for Nonviolence campaign, also known as The Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence (SNV), asks us to focus our attention on attaining peace through nonviolent actions. More info at: http://www.agnt.org/season-for-nonviolence**

64 Days of Season for Nonviolence (SNV)…and Writing

Lately, it’s been a challenge keeping my thoughts in check long enough to write a blog post. I am stuck every time I think about writing because I have so much stuff running around in my brain. I know that the fastest way to peace of mind for me is to get my thoughts out of my head by writing them down somewhere; however, taking action doesn’t always happen.

Lo and behold, while going through my files I ran across an info sheet for the 64 Days of Nonviolence campaign. Also known as The Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence (SNV), this campaign asks us to focus our attention on attaining peace through nonviolent actions. More info can be found at: http://www.agnt.org/season-for-nonviolence

Seeing that I have so many topic ideas and for some reason, nailing one down is daunting, my plan is to follow this 64 day campaign by using the daily suggestions as writing prompts to help me focus. I will share my thoughts/results of my actions taken towards attaining peace in my world. I see this as two-fold: 1) nonviolence and peace will be in my consciousness on a daily basis, and 2) hopefully, this will help me to focus enough to get into the routine of writing something each day. Every little bit helps as I  get back into a writing practice.

The campaign started on January 30th and runs thru April 3rd. Since this is the eight-day of the campaign and I am just coming across the info sheet, I will briefly list the Jan 30th – Feb 5th:

Jan. 30  COURAGE  Eleanor Roosevelt urged, “You must do the things that you think you cannot do.” Light a candle and accept the courage to practice living in peace.

Jan. 31  SMILING  Today, share a smile with at least 3 people, knowing that your smile contributes to peace.

Feb. 1  APPRECIATION  Write down 10 things that you appreciate about yourself, then read it aloud.

Feb. 2  CARING  Real caring is not just what we say, but what we do. Make a list of at least 5ways you can take better care of yourself. Practice at least one today.

Feb. 3  BELIEVING  Today believe that you have all the resources to move your life in the direction of peace.  Be aware of simple demonstrations of peaceful responses.

Feb. 4  SIMPLICITY  Think of 3 ways you can simplify your life and put at least one into practice today.

Feb. 5  EDUCATION  Learn about the power of nonviolence by educating yourself.  Read an article that relates to nonviolence.  Learn about human rights, diversity, ecology, history, forgiveness, spirituality, peace studies, and more.

Februrary 6th topic is HEALING. I will start writing on each topic starting with Feb 6th. I hope I will be able to keep this up for the next 57 days. Wish me luck.