Every day is Earth Day

April 22, 2010

I did not do anything special for Earth Day today. In fact, I even drove my car this evening, as I do every Thursday evening. I did not feel the need or desire to specially celebrate the earth today because I think about the earth and sustainability every day of the year. I am well aware of the impact of my actions on the earth and I have taken sustainability into account in many deliberate choices about the way I live, including when I will drive somewhere and when I will bicycle somewhere.

Earth Day is perhaps important as a means of consciousness-raising for those people who do not otherwise think much about the impact of their behaviors on the earth. But we must all be reminded of these impacts far more frequently than once a year. Earth Day is not just about taking care of the planet because we think trees are pretty or wild animals are cute. It is about taking care of our home. If the earth goes down, we go down with it. To be more specific, if the climate changes drastically on earth, human civilization as we know it will end. If we continue on our path of massive consumption and little regard for the interconnectedness of all life, we will eventually reach a point at which our civilization can no longer sustain itself and will quickly decline. We must drastically change our ways of living if we do not want to see ourselves, our children, or our grandchildren face massive chaos. So,  make tomorrow Earth Day and the next day as well. Think about how sustainable your behaviors are every day, not just one day a year.

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Restorative activism

April 17, 2010

Today I attended a workshop on Restorative Activism, offered by Scott Brown and John Ehrhart of Open Path Trainings. It was a beautiful, inspiring, and renewing experience.

Below is a short summary of what restorative activism is, but I recommend Scott Brown’s blog post on it if you want to learn more.

The fundamental premise of restorative activism is that we must prioritize relationship, recognizing that we are all connected. A quote from Neem Karoli Baba captures the essence of this philosophy:

Do what you must with people,
but never let anyone out of your heart,
not even for a moment.

Engaging in restorative activism requires engaging with oneself, by cultivating mindfulness and self-awareness. Through connecting with our inner self and paying attention to what is deepest in our heart, we can then reach the place from which we can be out in the world. Being authentic with ourselves is the only way in which we can be authentic in the world. True activism stems not from anger and hatred, but from love, compassion, and recognition of our interconnectedness. This form of activism is not divisive and does not lead to shaming or blaming. Instead, it leads to healing and repair of relationships.

The atmosphere at the workshop was calm, safe, and accepting. Everyone spoke authentically and we all went deep in our self-exploration. Much of the content resonated deeply with me, and I came away feeling connected and less alone in my beliefs in peace and compassion. I also feel that I gained some small bit of clarity about how I need to engage with the world, in part through the many mindfulness exercises we did. I found these exercises both challenging and renewing, and I am contemplating finding a mindfulness practice to incorporate into my routine life.

The workshop was a beautiful experience and I will hold it in my heart as a source of inspiration.


A little reminder

April 15, 2010

There is nothing like looking at the homepage of my local paper after a long day and finding some inspiring words:

Speaking to several hundred people at the University of Colorado, Jordan’s Queen Noor said the path to peace — and solving other daunting problems such as global warming — lies in understanding and humanizing people who are different than we are.

Yes! Exactly! It is important to be reminded from time to time of the fundamental importance of humanizing “the other.” It is possible and we need more people like Queen Noor out there making a strong call for it.

Read the full article: Jordan’s Queen Noor at CU-Boulder: Better understanding will bring peace – Boulder Daily Camera.


A week of workshops

April 11, 2010

Hello friends! I did not mean to take such a long break away from this blog. I have not recently been actively doing or reading anything related to peace or mediation and my attention has been on other things. However, this coming week I will be attending two workshops on these topics. The first is a three-hour training for mediators called “Conversations on Bias,” led by Bill De La Cruz. It is being hosted by the mediation program with which I volunteer and is specifically for the volunteer mediators. The second workshop is an all-day workshop next Saturday titled “Restorative Activism.” It is being offered by Open Path Trainings and is described on the flyer as follows:

RESTORATIVE ACTIVISM is an integrated approach to work in the world with the power to heal the personal and the planetary. It works at the intersection of body,mind, spirit, and action with openness and honesty. Supporting the willingness to look courageously at ourselves, Restorative Activism helps you move beyond the ineffective tactics of blame, shame, and fear, and cultivate the understanding and compassion needed to foster peace and nonviolence as away of life.

I am looking forward to learning, stretching my mind, and being reinspired at these two workshops this week!