I am delighted to unveil the new Peace & Power web site and blog! Many folks who read this blog already know about the book Peace and Power that I have authored since 1984. Now, the web site adds two important dimensions to what the book offers.
First, now many of the conversations that happen face-to-face or on email can begin to happen worldwide! I have received many emails over the years – emails that I file in a folder named “amazing emails!” These are often messages sharing stories of ways that someone has used the process, or found the process helpful. Often they contain questions that address some of the most persistent challenges in groups, and the challenges of shifting to the ways of “peace and power.” Now these stories and questions can be entered into the comments on the web site. And I will use these comments and questions as “prompts” for blog posts on the site. I hope you will consider following the blog, and participating in the discussions!
Second, the site provides a digital “handbook” of the essential elements of the group process – easily accessible on any mobile device that has access to the internet. The process of “peace and power” seems totally simple and easy … and yet I know from my own personal experience how hard it is … as in my last post – “peace” is not an easy thing to do! When I first learned this process, one of the things that we did over and over was to review why we were attempting to do things the way we did them — why we used rotating chair, or critical reflection, for example. And, we constantly reviewed the “how” of doing what we did so that our actions matched our words. Charlene Eldridge and I first wrote the book so that we could share some of these insights with others who were not familiar with the process, and had not experienced it. The book has valuable detail and information about the process and lots of great examples, but the web site provides a nutshell version of the ways of peace and power, along with reminders of the values that are the foundation of the process.
I invite you to visit the new site, and participate in the online conversation!
During the days and weeks following the death of someone who is important, I find myself wishing I had given more attention to who they were before this happened, and devoting time now to remembering. For me this is a reminder to pay attention to how I spend my days and hours now with those I cherish most. But in thinking about the many writers and artists who I do not know personally, but who have influenced my life in such significant ways, I am again reminded of the importance of our choices in relation to what we read, what we view on television and film, and who we honor in our conversations. I cannot say that I have read everything that Adrienne Rich has written, and I certainly did not know her personally. But her death is a huge loss not only for me personally, but for the world. Her book “Of Woman Born” became a centerpiece informing not only how I view the world, but also who I became as a feminist scholar. Her poetry is beyond comparison in its depth, richness, clarity of conviction. I have returned over and over again to her essays – particularly one title “Claiming an Education,” reprinted in the Collection of her prose “On Lies, Secrets and Silence.” (of which I have an autographed copy!). I have tucked in her book a little pamphlet that bears the title “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying” which is a collection of many of her quotes. Among these is the line “Lying is done with words, but also with silence.”
The video that I am including here is a wonderful reminder of the honesty and integrity with which Adrienne Rich lived her life … and with which she wrote. It is well worth the time you will spend watching it. It was posted today on “Democracy Now.” It includes Amy Goodman’s interview with Alice Walker and with Francis Goldin, and also a clip of Adrienne Rich reading her poem “What Kinds of Times are These.” I hope you will take the time now to join me in paying tribute to the memory of the incomparable Adrienne Rich.
Adrienne Rich (1929-2012): Alice Walker & Frances Goldin on the Life of the Legendary Poet & Activist.
Ever since the “Occupy” movement started, I have watched, with some amazement, reports of the process that they have developed for the “participatory democracy” that is evolving, and especially their approaches for the General Assemblies! Belief it or not, what is evolving is a version of “Peace and Power” for very
large groups, and I am ecstatic! Of course I would be surprised if anyone involved has actually seen “Peace and Power,” but the important thing is that the ideas that many of us in my circle of friends and colleagues have been using for years are in fact part of a much larger ideal and vision!
For folks who are not (yet) familiar with my long-running book “Peace and Power,” you can peek inside on Amazon! The cover here (and on Amazon) is the 7th edition, but the 8th edition will be out in January!
The video below caught my eye today – it explains the main features of the processes they are using. The “Peace and Power” ideal that is particularly important to notice is that of shared and rotating leadership, and how they are working with shared responsibility and integrating anyone who steps up into the “leadership” process. This is an ideal that baffles most folks in the traditional hierarchies in which I have worked throughout my career, and is met with utter skepticism! But in my heart, I know it works, and brings about Continue reading
This is a photo of my younger sister and me watching the sun go down on the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii with our dear doggie Cuddles! The year was about 1950, and it would have been a mid-week “vacation” with our parents, whose obligations with their church kept them close to home in Hilo over the week-ends. We loved these trips!
Years later when a college girlfriend, Malinda, visited the islands, we decided to fly to the Big Island from Honolulu (where I was living as a young adult) and rent a car to tour around a bit. I told her that we would get the car in Hilo and drive to the Kona side, but that it would take us all day to make the drive. We arrived as planned, and set out along the Hamakua Coast, stopping along the way to admire the stunning coastline and a host of price-winning horses on the Parker Ranch. We arrived at our Kona-side destination in about 2 hours!!
The point of this story is to reflect on how perceptions and perspectives change along the way. One of my favorite authors, Suzette Haden Elgin, in her “Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense” explains that one of the principles of good communication is to assume that whatever someone says or believes is true — you just have to figure out what it is true of, or what else the person has to believe in order to see this as the truth for them. So for example, when i told Malinda Continue reading
I am almost done with this book and I highly recommend it … I found it in my quest to find current ideas related to Peace and Power, which I am currently revising. There are lots of very similar ideas in this book to the ideas in Peace and Power, but the ideas are presented in a story-like fashion. It is a (fictionalized) story about the real lives of real people, is a very engaging way to get across some really challenging and deep ideas about human nature and human experience.
It is the story of a group of parents who are enrolling their delinquent teen-agers in an intensive program to turn their lives around, and the parents are required to attend a 2-day intensive workshop themselves at the time they drop their kids off. In the book, you follow the narrative of the workshop, and get a glimpse into the underlying thoughts and challenges that many of the parents are facing. The group is facilitated by an Israeli Jew, and a Palestinian Arab, both of whose fathers were killed in the Palestinian/Israeli conflicts in the early ’70′s. When they met (both families had moved to the United States) they were both harboring deep wounds and bad feelings about the other side of the conflicts, but had begun a journey to heal, not only their own inner Continue reading
When I heard about Peggy Orenstein’s new book “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” I immediately downloaded it to my iPad! We had just taken my granddaughters Sophie (age 6) and Elodie (age 5) on a whirlwind trip to DisneyWorld and the main thing they wanted to do was to get princess dresses with the Holiday gift money sent to them by their granddad! I had observed their great interest in all the Disney princesses (most of whom I had no knowledge of), and their love of all things pink, but since they are also equally interested in things like Star Wars, the human body, their playlists on iTunes, the latest drawing app on their Dad’s iPad, the USA presidents, Rosa Parks and other women of history, I viewed their love of pink and princesses as something typical of little girls in their generation. What I did not realize until we went to DisneyWorld is how much of a culture this has become, and I had no idea how it got to be so. They did get their dresses, much to their delight, but interestingly they choose yellow and blue dresses, not pink! Then a couple of weeks later I came across a KQED interview of Peggy Orenstein and knew that her book is a must-read for this feminist grandmother! I have not finished it yet, but I am finding it entertaining, thought-provoking, and informative. Would love to hear from others who might have come across this book, or who have little girls in their lives who are also part of this culture!