Tag Archive | B4Peace

A Global Family

“From the inception of our country, it has been a mainstay of American consciousness that the fabric of our nation would be woven from the threads of myriad national and ethnic identities. We would be the melting pot of all nations. The vast majority of Americans are descendants of immigrants, yet we often act as though today’s immigrants don’t deserve what we do, that we have something to protect from their encroachment. It seems paradoxical to me that we would brag about our ancestors coming over on the Mayflower, yet condemn someone trying to do the very same thing today. Of course there are immigrants who abuse our system, just as there are people born here who abuse our system. The truth is that the majority of today’s immigrants bring with them an infusion of the same values that our ancestors personified, the values America is so sorely lacking. They are people willing to work hard for themselves and their families. Our children do not stand to be corrupted by their values so much as their children stand to be corrupted by ours.”
~ Marianne Williamson, Illuminata [chapter ‘Prayers for the World’]

Healing Effects of Self Love

As my recent theme indicates, the events of last month still linger with me as I ponder how restorative self-love can be, and how dangerous the lack of it is.

self love pamelamiles 350This topic is a current passion: to share why being gentle with ourselves as we stumble along this tumultuous path of Life is so important. When we were toddlers learning to walk, we didn’t fall a few times and then give up, thinking “that’s it! I’ll never learn” and sit on our bottoms, hoping to be carried around. No, our instinct to survive and grow is one of the strongest forces there is, and we can still tap into this inner resource.

My heart goes out for anyone who is hurting and feels they are unworthy of being here. I want to reach out to them, hovering on that precipice, and gently offer my hand. I want to bring them back to the world.

A study was done of survivors who had attempted suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Practically every respondent shared that seconds after jumping they could clearly see resolutions for all of the problems they had thought were insurmountable… except for the fact that they had just jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge.

SONY DSCDecades ago, when my young, short-lived, abusive marriage ended, my self-worth was the lowest ever, before or since. That angry hurtful man had so effectively beaten down my spirit (without laying a hand on me) that I felt I could hardly breathe.

I will never forget that sickening belief that I was taking up air… taking up space… and that I was utterly worthless. It was the closest I’d ever come to suicidal thinking and it was a cold, dark, terrifying place. Thankfully my inner spirit has always been strong and I had the presence of mind to seek counselling and it helped me remember how to find my way back to my Truth.

That wasn’t the only trauma I’ve overcome but it was one of the hardest. During this journey of life I have experienced awful woundedness and I personally know the glory of rising above it. And if I can do it, any one can do it! Crawling if we must, we can get back to the Light.

Helen Keller - OvercomingHaving felt that icy touch of the darkest of thoughts makes me long to reach out to others who may be lingering in that horrific loneliness. I am deeply saddened that I hadn’t been aware of Nick’s encompassing darkness. His well-hidden sadness must have been so pervasive that he completely lost sense of his value… of his pricelessness. Let us all endeavour to understand our true worth.

As Helen Keller wisely observed, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  Learning to genuinely love and accept ourselves goes a long way towards overcoming our woundedness. Let us all remember to look in the mirror with love and kindness, and to treat others gently as well. We are all on our individual paths, which are sometimes rocky, and even the smallest of kindnesses makes a huge difference. We all matter.

Teach Peace

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Wayne-Dyer_children erichuber.com

Each and every one of us has the ability to help teach peace in the world, whether we are parents or educators, or not.

We can be an example of how to behave peacefully with friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers we cross paths with.

By offering compassion, kindness, and acceptance with all other beings at all times, we are leading the way for others.

We are demonstrating what kindness is about. That’s what it means to role model. We are being the way-showers. We are teaching peace.

close ears but open eyes example

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The Mississippi Three

olympic-torchIt was a tragic event that happened before I was born, but it was a time that must be remembered and prevented from ever happening again. This post is my torch… my bringing of light to a dark, dark place in history. May our knowledge enlighten and raise our understanding of the pressure we must still exert to obtain and maintain equality for all to enjoy peace on earth.

James, Andrew, and Michael ~ You will always be remembered.

1964_Mississippi_KKK_Murder_Victims_Chaney_Goodman_Schwerner

Source: Wikipedia

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James Earl “J.E.” Chaney (May 30, 1943 – June 21, 1964)
Andrew Goodman (November 23, 1943, – June 21, 1964)
Michael Henry Schwerner (November 6, 1939 – June 21, 1964)

In 1964, civil rights activist Andrew Goodman volunteered along with fellow activist Mickey Schwerner to work on the “Freedom Summer” project of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to register blacks to vote in Mississippi.

Having protested U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s presence at the opening of that year’s World’s Fair, Goodman left New York to train and develop civil rights strategies at Western College for Women (now part of Miami University) in Oxford, Ohio.

In mid-June, Goodman joined Schwerner in Meridian, Mississippi, where the latter was designated head of the field office. They worked on registering blacks in rural areas to vote. Michael Schwerner had been working closely with an assistant in the office and fellow civil rights activist James Chaney.

Chaney had previously participated in the 1962 Freedom Rides as well as other non-violent demonstrations. He organized voter education classes, introduced CORE workers to local church leaders, helped them get around the counties, and acted as a liaison with other CORE members.

On the morning of June 21, 1964, the three men set out for Philadelphia, Neshoba County, where they were to investigate the recent burning of Mount Zion Methodist Church, a black church that had agreed to be a site for education and voter registration. On their return to Meridian, the three men were stopped and arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price for allegedly speeding. The trio were taken to the jail in Neshoba County where Chaney was booked for speeding, while Schwerner and Goodman were booked “for investigation”. After Chaney was fined $20, the three were released and told to leave the county. Sheriff Price followed them on State Route 69 to the county line, then turned around at approximately 10:30 p.m. On their way back to Meridian the three young men were stopped on a remote rural road by two carloads of KKK members who approached their car and killed all three men.

Sage_Chapel_stained_glassLegacy and memorials:

~A tall stained glass window in Sage Chapel at Cornell University honors the memory of James, Andrew and Michael.
~A memorial at the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church commemorates the three civil rights activists.
~A plaque near Riverside Boulevard at 70th Street in New York City commemorates the three men.
~The sacrifice of the murders contributed to Congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, federal legislation to enforce social justice and constitutional rights.
~In 1998 the James Earl Chaney Foundation was set up by his brother Ben Chaney in his honor to promote the work of civil rights and social justice.

Representation in media:

~The band Flobots’ song, “Same Thing,” asks to bring back Chaney.
~Meridian, a novel by Alice Walker, portrayed issues of the civil rights era.
~Phil Ochs wrote his song, “Here’s to the State of Mississippi”, about these events and other violations of civil rights that took place in that state.
~Tom Paxton included the tribute song, “Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney”, on his 1965 album, Ain’t That News.
~In the novel Song of Susannah by Stephen King, Susannah Dean reminisces about her time in Mississippi as a civil rights activist. She thinks about making love to James Chaney and singing the song “Man of Constant Sorrow”.
~The murders were depicted by Norman Rockwell in an illustration titled Southern Justice (Murder in Mississippi) published in Look in June 1965. (See my previous post)
~Richard Farina’s song “Michael, Andrew and James” performed with Mimi Farina, was included in their first Vanguard album, Celebrations for a Grey Day, released in 1965.
~Simon and Garfunkel’s song “He Was My Brother” was dedicated to Andrew Goodman who was their friend and a classmate of Simon’s at Queens College.

Reference source: Wikipedia

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Paintings by a Warrior For Peace

Norman Rockwell - Do Unto OthersI am offering a loving salute to Norman Rockwell (Feb 3, 1894 – Nov 8, 1978) for the power he demonstrated in all his paintings but especially the later ones after he left the Saturday Evening Post. Thank you Mr. Rockwell for being a strong, quiet, and powerful Warrior For Peace who created art that will forever speak to the heart of issues to be addressed for global peace.

“Do unto others…” For most Americans in 1961, the familiar adage really meant, “Do unto others who look like you.” Norman Rockwell, in his painting Golden Rule challenged that hypocrisy and laid the truth of “the other” smack dab in the middle of America’s coffee tables. Golden Rule appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on April 1, 1961.

The-problem-we-all-live-with-norman-rockwellAlso in 1961 widower Norman Rockwell married a third time, to retired Milton Academy English teacher and ardent liberal Mary L. “Molly” Punderson. With her encouragement, in 1963 he ended his 47-year relationship with the Saturday Evening Post and spent the next decade painting for the magazine Look where his work depicted his interests in civil rights.

In January 1964 Rockwell painted The Problem We All Live With depicting six year old Ruby Bridges walking to school in New Orleans on the court-ordered first day of integrated schools (November 14, 1960) for a Look story.

Murder-in-Mississippi-Southern-Justice-1965A great departure from his previous sweet depictions of American life is the colour study of his finished painting called Southern Justice (Murder in Mississippi). It was for a June 1965 issue of Look and depicts the horrifying image of racism that resulted in the deaths of three Civil Rights workers as they worked to register African American voters.

These are events that Mr. Rockwell immortalized to help guarantee that we will never forget. As we close out Black History month for 2013 let us all do what we can to continue to work towards peace and equality, ensuring barriers are dropped and opportunities are equal for all. As MLK encouraged, judge not by the colour of skin but by the depth of a person’s character.

Reference sources: Chronogram.com and Wikipedia.com

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Kahlil Gibran “On Children”

kahlil gibran novel the-prophetLebanese artist, writer and poet Kahlil Gibran‘s novel from 1923 “The Prophet” has been translated to over forty languages, has sold over 100 million copies, and has never been out of print. Click here to view it on Amazon. According to Wikipedia, Kahlil Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, only behind William Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.

While the entire novel is a beloved masterpiece, a favorite section will forever remain ‘On Children‘. Please visit my post from last Mother’s Day that was inspired by these wise words. Also inspired were the group Sweet Honey In The Rock (see post) who’ve recorded a lovely rendition in celebration of this incredible writing by Gibran. I’ve included the words to Gibran’s original work here as well as the slightly altered lyrics by the performers. May we be inspired to sing along to the uplifting beat and raise the upcoming generation remembering these truths.

Let us also remember the wise words from Mahatma Gandhi, “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

Kahlil Gibran’s On Children

Sweet Honey In The Rock performing Kahlil Gibran’s “On Children”

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and the daughters of Life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you, they belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
Sweet-Honey-in-the-Rock logo 200They have their own thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Your children are not your children
sweet honey in the rock - small photoThey are the sons and the daughters of Life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you, they belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
They have their own thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you.
.

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We Who Believe In Freedom

Sweet Honey In The RockSweet Honey In The Rock (see my earlier post) do an incredibly powerful performance of this amazing piece, Ella’s Song, and I’ve included the video and lyrics for us here. I first fell in love with this song over twenty years ago when I heard it covered by songwriter-singer and activist Holly Near and I adore this original version too. I’ve also included some information about the memorable activist who inspired it: Ella Baker.

Let us be inspired to raise our voices and sing along! Let us rise up and take action for peace and freedom for all the world’s people, for every mother’s child. Let our love light the way. ~Namaste.

Ella’s Song

ella bakerElla Josephine Baker (December 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986) was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist beginning in the 1930s. She was a behind-the-scenes activist, whose career spanned over five decades. She worked alongside some of the most famous civil rights leaders of the 20th century, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  She also mentored then-young civil rights stalwarts Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael, Rosa Parks and Bob Moses. In 1972 she traveled the country in support of the “Free Angela” campaign demanding the release of Angela Davis [John Lennon & Yoko Ono wrote a song in support of Angela Davis called ‘Angela’ on their 1972 album “Some Time in New York City”].  Ella Baker also lent her voice to the Puerto Rican independence movement, spoke out against apartheid in South Africa and allied herself with a number of women’s groups, including the Third World Women’s Alliance and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She remained an activist until her death in 1986 at 83 years of age.

Ella Baker quotations:
“Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son… we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.”
“Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind.”
“The development of the individual to his highest potential is for the benefit of the group.”

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