Wednesday, March 25, 2009

De-Politicizing Peace

The NY Times headline read, "Peace Conference in South Africa Is Canceled," as journalist Celia Dugger wrote, "Organizers of a peace conference that was to have been attended by five Nobel Peace Prize winners in Johannesburg said Tuesday that they had canceled the conference after the South African government denied entry to The Dalai Lama , Tibet’s spiritual leader and one of the Nobel laureates."

I just couldn't help but wonder to myself, "Are they for real?" I mean, please don't call me naive, but is it really possible that a country purporting to support a peace conference would deny The Dalai Lama - probably the world's most renown peace advocate and Nobel Peace Laureate - from attending the conference due to political pressures from China. And even more ridiculous, did they really think they could pull it off and not have a backlash?

When will we begin de-politicizing peace? Is it possible? I personally believe it is, but it takes each and every one of us to wake up and stand up and speak out against these ridiculous actions.

All it takes is one of us to make a difference...look at Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and so many others.

As MLK said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

What are you speaking up for in your lives, your community and your world? May we all de-politicize peace by starting with living peace within and standing up and speaking out against injustices against others.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spectacular Sky, Transformative Sunset

There is nothing like the magnificence of a sunset and I recently experienced a sunset that was just spectacular and unlike any sunset I can remember in my life. The clouds left only room for a slight opening in the sky…so as the sun moved toward the horizon it was invisible…only more and more vibrant colors radiated from the sky. A little village could be seen built by clouds. The first colors scattered across the lower clouds and the imaginary village. Yet as the sun peeked through the clouds – the most intense reds and pinks – it shot rays in every direction – up, down, out and beyond. Then the intensity hit the upper clouds and dispersed out like a massive crown of light, bursting energy in every which way, every direction imaginable. It was one of the longest most dramatic sunsets I have ever experienced. As I sat and marveled at the colors in the sky transform from delicate blues, pinks and purples to radiant fuschia, fire red, brilliant orange and yellows, I was mesmerized by the beauty, brilliance and life – breathtaking, pure joy and love.

This is life…plain and simple – it doesn’t get much better than this. It is in these moments that nothing else has meaning, just breathing it in, taking it in and appreciating the simple things in life. I sat and stared and the most perfect music poured into my ears, Snatam Kaur’s By thy Grace…repeating Peace to all…Life to all…Love to all…isn’t that really it? Between the sunset and the music I was swept away in the moment…the grace and beauty of it and the glory and joy that is my life. The simplicity of it. What a spectacular moment in which everything and any thing else melted away, leaving me with myself, my breath and the earth’s elements. Gratitude and grace, pure and simple. I am grateful for these moments.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

If it is to be, it is up to me!

I first heard this quote about two years ago, but it really wasn't until the last couple of weeks that it really started to resonate and sink in. Part of me was resistant to the concept because I didn't want to fall into the trap of not being open to support and receiving help from others. I had lived for a long time not accepting support and doing everything on my own and it was quite exhausting. I was just beginning to let other people in and allow their support. I thought this saying somewhat reverted back to my old patterns of isolation, perfectionism and stubbornness.

As I enter into a new year, a new president and a new world, what is becoming clear is how true this saying is. As President Obama so clearly articulated in his inauguration speech - now is the time and we all have to do our part. As I sit on my birthday and reflect on the upcoming year and all that it may bring, I am reminded that only I can make my dreams happen. I need to take the first step and I need to be the one to enroll support from others and engage people in my dreams to help me. But ultimately, I have to take the steps to keep moving my dreams forward. If I wait for others to join me or validate me, they may pass me by. If I expect others to do it, I may be disappointed. But if I get excited and do my part, then others will come along to support me in my dreams.

If it is to be it is up to take the first steps, in faith, even when I can't see the staircase.
If it is to be it is up to hold the vision.
If it is to be it is up to overcome the fear and keep moving forward.
If it is to be it is up to have fun and share the love.

It really is that simple. What are you waiting for in your life? How are you taking the steps necessary to make your dreams happen? May you have the strength and courage to move forward, one step at a time in the direction of your dreams. May 2009 bring love, joy and much abundance.

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.~ Anna Freud


C reating
H ope and
A mple
N ew opportunities -
G ood for
E veryone & the earth

I recently started thinking about change and how it has become a constant in my life over the past few months, as I have left my comfort zone and leapt into a world of new, different, exciting and, sometimes, uncomfortable opportunities. That is what change is about. Yet as a society and as a species, change is uncomfortable. But what is the alternative? We are either growing (and changing) or we are decaying. With alternatives like that, isn't it a complete "no brainer?"

The saying, "Evolve or die," is so true, yet when people are confronted with change they would rather die. Seriously, I recently heard about a study in which people were given the option of either changing or dying and over 90% of people chose death over change. How crazy is that? Why is it that change is so difficult when we know that, while it might be uncomfortable, it usually brings good...if we don't totally resist it that is. Why is it that as human beings we may watch and understand evolution and the concepts of survival of the fittest, but when we are called upon to evolve we choose to give in as though we believe that the whole evolution thing doesn't apply to us and that it isn't possible for humans to change, or evolve.

All I hear these days is how bad the economy is and by all visible standards it is. So what is the choice? Because there is always a choice. When circumstances like this arise they call for one thing: CHANGE. What if we were to take it as a call to Create Hope and Ample New opportunities that are Good for Everyone and the earth? What if we were to begin to find solutions that were no longer just good for "me" but could be good for "we"?

As our paradigms begin to shift around us, the old becomes useless and meaningless and we are called upon to create new solutions for these new times. In order to thrive in these "adverse" and constantly changing times requires the adoption of approaches that take into account People, Planet and Profits. How are you adapting in your personal and professional life? What changes are you beginning to take on as opportunities to create hope and a better future for yourself and the generations that come after you? All it takes is the courage to change and to take that first step! Go for it!

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.~ Alan Cohen

Oneness...Our Collective Humanity

Last week as I ate dinner at the bar of a local restaurant, I found out the restaurant was closing. It was bustling with activity and as I asked the others why it was closing, a gentleman explained that they have only been breaking even the past few months during the economic downturn and the landlord was raising the rent. It sounded absurd to me. Rather than recognizing that raising the rent would force out the tenant/restaurant and then leave the property empty for possibly many months only to decrease in value, I wondered why the owner did not consider creating a win-win by keeping the rent at the same price for a while to weather the economic storm so as to enable both the restaurant to stay in business and the landlord to continue receiving some money and maintenance of the property.

As I sat and thought about the scenario, I thought that it was probably a rather regular occurrence. I reflected back on where in my life I have made win-lose choices when a win-win was right in front of me as another option. I also wondered how many other people have and continue to make win-lose choices. Especially with the economy in a tailspin as it is, it is our obligation to our fellow humans and our responsibility to ourselves and our loved ones that we must dig deep to find options that can help us all take steps to move forward in our collective humanity. I believe choices like these would enable us to turn things around much more quickly.

As I sat alone and people watched for the rest of the evening, I thought a lot about how different everyone in the bar was - I from them, them from me and them from each other. Yet we were all there enjoying ourselves, our food and the collective energy of the evening and the moment to celebrate a place many had been coming for years. I realized this is how it is in our lives - we are all connected and we all have a common cause, a common desire, a common thread. It is in our choice to recognize this commonality and our common humanity that we may begin to see positive transformation and change.

I started to wonder and hope that perhaps if we all could begin to see each other more and more every day for our similarities rather than our differences and if we could see ourselves in each other and feel and empathize for our common and differing experiences, that we might more regularly make win-win choices and we might actually be able to find solutions more quickly to the problems and issues our lives, our communities and our world is facing.

How might you begin to see yourself in others? How might you begin to choose win-win over win-lose in your life? Try it on for a while and see how you become the ripple that creates the change not only in your life, but the lives of those around you.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above
the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns
to the broader concerns of all humanity.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pilar's Blog!!