The words are so easy .. “let’s just all get along.” But the actions are so very hard. My thoughts have turned to this human dilemma recently because I have (finally) developed a web site/blog for my book “Peace and Power.” And then there is the very contentious, exasperating and tiring clamor that goes on in the U.S. government these days, not to mention the tensions around the world. Some days it seems like the best thing to do is to dig a hole and just ignore all of it. But of course, even though it seems like the larger political scene is far removed from our individual every day lives and there seems little that we can do, ignoring what is going on that larger world does nothing to change that world either. So for me, it seems that the slogan “think globally, act locally” has a lot to offer, and so turning attention and energy to ways to create peace and harmony in our personal lives at least plants a seed of possibility in the world.
“Peace and Power” is a process for group interaction that is intended to do exactly this .. plant a seed of possibility for getting along to together in groups where everyone participates, everyone thrives, and everyone shifts to ways of dealing with conflict where everyone reaches an understanding of one another, and can be at peace with one another despite our
differences. This last sentence illustrates the problem — it represents what most people want in their lives, and it sounds so wonderful and so appealing. But at the same time most people also assume that making that ideal real is next to impossible and pretty much out of reach. In my experience, the reason that the ideal seems so out of reach is that people have not learned how to “practice peace.” We have learned how to “practice war” even in families where we have early lessons in relating to others. It is just so much easier to strike out, to let anger run amuck, to manipulate in order to get the satisfaction of getting our way.
But I believe that many people, maybe even most people, have also learned the ways of peace – how to respect other people’s wishes and desires, how to negotiate conflict so that everyone wins, and how to comfort one another when things are tough. These ways of being together take time, and energy. Settling conflict takes time to sit together, to talk, and to reach understanding. It is harder to take turns than to impose one’s will on others. It is harder to exercise the discipline of self-control than to strike out in anger.
“Peace and Power” is built on the ideals of “getting along” together – an ideal that would well serve all people of the earth. “Peace and Power” approaches are not a magic solution, nor are they the only ways of bringing the ideals of Peace into reality. But these approaches do provide some ideas and guidelines for action that can shift daily practice. I am excited about the web site and blog because it gives you the opportunity to engage in discussion around the challenges of making these changes day to day. Visit the blog, and share your ideas!