Seven Days to Peace
Resolving to create a better world
Patrisia Gonzales & Roberto Rodriguez
Not since the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis has the possibility for worldwide war and even apocalypse been so palpable.
Published on LatinoLA: May 31, 2002
Here's the scenario: A series of retaliatory suicide bombers inflict heavy civilian and military casualties upon Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces mount a ferocious response, causing thousands of casualties. Several Arab nations enter the fray and respond with overwhelming deadly missile attacks. Israel retaliates with its nuclear arsenal. Russia, China, India, Pakistan, NATO and the United States all weigh in. In a matter of days, the only thing left standing are two arches with the inscription "Over 99 billion served."
Suppose there are only seven days left to create peace. In effect, those seven days have arrived. Yet in creating peace, we must first come to the understanding that peace isn't a life without conflict or problems, but a life of faith, inner strength and wisdom. Inspired by a visit to San Antonio's Peace Center, here is a seven-day peace calendar:
-- Day one: Make this a day of deep thought, prayer and meditation. Probe your heart to understand the source of the hate and anger within your own life ... to see how you create violence or violate others spiritually or emotionally. Resolve to transform yourself. Ask with your heart how to create peace within your own life, family, community, nation and planet. Ask yourself how your thoughts and actions (or nonactions) contribute to war. Create your own peace plan, become peace itself, and declare yourself a conscientious objector against war. Declare your body a war-free zone.
-- Day two: Dedicate this day to atonement, forgiveness and reconciliation. Visit or contact every family member and close friend (visiting their Web sites doesn't count). Make amends and ask forgiveness. Bring closure to past problems, disagreements and conflicts and make peace within your circle. Additionally, do or create something with them that symbolizes peace. Always involve elders and the young.
-- Day three: Set this day aside for gaining and communicating knowledge. Read everything you can about peace. Read poems, a book, listen to a song or a story. Then write a song, a poem, paint a picture or create your own story. Create a message or your own peace symbol. Live and share that message. Resolve hereafter that the first and last things you hear and see each morning and night are not the news, but rather, stories that affirm peace, dignity and justice.
-- Day four: Contact every local media outlet and politician and tell them that war is humanity's stupidest and most wasteful invention. Tell them you reject the idea that war, death and destruction are the route to peace. Tell them of your disappointment with our ever-escalating military budget, and tell them also that you support creating a cabinet-level position for the Department of Peace. Do use your computer, but don't rely on mass e-mailings. Make human contact.
-- Day five: March, walk, run -- take communal action for peace. Conduct an all-night vigil. Organize an event where you can deliver your message of peace. Serve food. Invite the homeless. Invite elders, children. Invite your neighbors. Do it at a park, a community center, a place of worship, or do it in your own home. Focus on the meaning of war and peace, and have your own group create a peace plan.
-- Day six: Re-examine your severed role in your relationship to Earth and creation. Make this the day where you learn something new. Become part of creation, not just part of resistance. Learn about plants and their medicinal uses. Learn how to cook, eat healthy, purify water and how to make a fire. Tell your grocer to carry organic foods, not genetically modified ones. Learn to grow your own and teach others.
-- Day seven: Organize tekios (volunteer work brigades). Use this day to assist others within your family and community. Clean your neighborhood, your park, river, etc. Create a community garden or a peace wall or center. Assist those who most need it. And always, start with your own home first. Plan the next seven days.
At the beginning and end of each day, pray in the manner you know how. There's no wrong way to pray. If you come with a good heart, that's all that's needed. Don't just sit around. Always make time to exercise. Take long, meditative walks. Live as though you have but seven days to make peace. But do rest, always smile, live your life peacefully, and resolve to become the best human being possible. Resolve to create a new world.
COPYRIGHT 2002 UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE
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Patrisia Gonzales & Roberto Rodriguez can be reached at XColumn@aol.com