Monday, June 28, 2010

True Champions For Peace

Not sure why the phrase "champions for peace" popped into my head but, on impulse, I did what every good cyber citizen sitting by a computer does and Googled it... Two results came back that hit home. The first was to a book of that name called "Champions For Peace - Women Winners Of The Noble Peace Prize" by Judith Hicks Stiehm, and the other was a link to a site about the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Israeli / Palestinian conflict.

Suddenly I was in over my head. As I scanned this "peace with realism" page and came to the lengthy references at the page's end I felt tremendous anxiety. Walking side by side with peace is conflict, death, anger, pain, justification and passion on all sides, opposing positions, huge consequences. Wading into the cause of peace brings you brushing right up against it's opposite. Contrast... as it is with so many things. They are the other side of the same coin. Love / fear. Joy / grief. Victory / loss. If one team wins a soccer game, then the other must, by definition, lose (yes, we have World Cup fever here at the moment).

The person who wrote that page about the ISM wrote with passion, conviction, indignation. Tragic deaths were cited, excitable words used, and very specific examples given to illustrate the point. I am so ignorant of the topic I would not even begin to suggest the slightest hint of an opinion about the materials that website contains... rather it is the emotion behind the page that interests me, the incredible tension within the words of that page, the thousands of people who have read it and linked to it to push it so high up the Google rankings...

 ...and the constant challenge each of us have each day to stay on the peaceful side of conflict.

When did you last have a sleepless night? Perhaps it was work stress that was keeping you up, or a disagreement with a friend or partner, anxiety about an exam... a noisy neighbour? It is probably not a stretch to suggest that at some point, as you lay there trying to rest, you felt a spark of anger. "How could she speak to me like that?"; "How dare they turn the music up so loud so late at night?" etc.

It's true, there are "big time" champions for peace out there who are tackling conflict on a large scale, extreme conflict, violence, injustice, big, nation-wide issues... like the Noble Prize winnng women, and others who are vocal about peace... perhaps even, in his way, "Carlos" the author of the anti-ISM page... and that may not be your calling in life BUT...

...what you do and how you react to the issues and conflicts that come up in your life all contribute to a culture and community of peacefulness or conflict. Do you honk your horn at a fellow driver? Or slow down and waive him into the lane ahead of you? If someone yells at you do you yell back or step away and remove yourself from the drama? Do you make choices in your daily life to support and increase your peacefulness and that of others or do you find yourself perpetuating tension? (Gossiping at the water cooler).

You don't have to have your name mentioned in a book to be a true champion for peace and you don't have to let the world "walk all over you either". In fact, you don't even have to succeed at being peace-making!!! It's the constant re-committment to trying again, doing better, striving for a more harmonious outcome that is what it's all about.

Hopefully, as we all get better at being peace champions, instead of giving us bigger tests, the universe will reward us with more peaceful lives and help us to "increase the peace" for others. Or perhaps just being  peaceful - showing that it is possible - will be enough to inspire greater peacefulness in another...

Laughter To Age Ratio

I came across this curious fact the other day and it struck a chord. There's a girl at work who laughs almost every time she speaks. Quite frequently she laughs so hard she cries... I wonder if she has "the laughter gene", if her family sit around chuckling together at night? She makes the rest of the people in our quiet office (me included!) seem very sedate.

Anyway, here's my curious fact about laughter:

"Six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults laugh 15 to 100 times a day."

Is the world more entertaining to a six year old? Do they have more time to notice the funny stuff? Is there a chemical change that takes place as we get older that evens out our "laughter-bility"? Or do kids just eat way more sugar than the grown ups and, happy by-product, get more giggles as well?

If you can answer any of my questions I'd love to hear from you!

Tricks For Finding Joy Each Day
Useful Day Dreams
Things You Love To Do