Browsing the blog archives for December, 2011

Steps to New Year Peace?

Robert V. Taylor

Is it possible to imagine peace in the New Year? It is if you claim your voice and imagination. The world needs that from each of us. Every intention and act of yours shapes what it means to be human and create a culture of peace as you take steps in that direction.

Peace sounds too big, too overwhelming to many.  Instead of being debilitated by what you can do to bring peace about back up and approach it from two other vantage points. Peace emerges when conflicts are resolved and ended. Peace in the tradition of the Hebrews is all about actions that promote the well-being of all. Not too different than the Buddhist intention of happiness for all beings.

When you think of ending a conflict, or seeking the well-being of another, or desiring happiness for others the possibility of peace is reimagined.

Your own choices and awareness will invite you to make a difference in the year ahead. These steps might add to your intentions:

Be Intentional. Peace is only possible when your hope becomes an active virtue. A specific intention to make peace will ground and make you accountable. Perhaps you will actively work with the children in your life to model attentive listening that transforms misunderstandings and makes reconciliation possible.

End a Conflict. Choose to end a conflict in your community, at work or in your family. When the happiness or well-being of all is a goal it becomes possible to imagine a resolution that moves those involved beyond entrenched positions.

Choose Compassion. We are made for compassion. Your intention to live a life of compassion creates a ripple effect among all whom you engage with. Every compassionate action of yours invites others into the circle of compassion. Learn from organizations like the Charter for Compassion or the Compassionate Action Network.

Say Yes to Peace by saying No to violence or bigotry. Join others in breaking the silences that give permission to violence or threats against people who are perceived as different.  Show up to a rally against school bullying; participate in a school board or legislative meeting to provide protections against discrimination.

Engage with the world and Universe to remember that we need one another.  Learn about an issue affecting the well-being of the planet or about a religion or culture you do not understand. Share your learning’s with those in your orbit; write, blog and speak about them. Your voice will mitigate fears of the unknown, illuminate others and point to our oneness.

With these and other choices you may already have made your voice and imagination is engaged in shaping a world where a culture of peace is possible. The happiness and well-being of yourself and others is all bundled together. Ending conflicts wherever you encounter them opens the path to a happy life of well-being for all.

Peace in the New Year depends on your active engagement!

Post your comments and steps to peace below

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Your Voice as Person of the Year?

Robert V. Taylor

The Protester has been elevated by Time Magazine to a richly deserved new status. When you claim your voice as an individual you become more fully alive. When your voice joins together with the voice of others for the well-being of many you become more fully human. The Protesters invite us to new awareness about our oneness as human beings.

From the streets of US cities to those of Egypt, Libya, Syria, Myanmar and other countries a common human thread is being given voice to. It is the human yearning for our interconnectedness and shared humanity to be dignified and honored.

In place of the narrow interests of a few, the Protesters who Time honors as the Person of the Year demand that the well-being of all be reflected in political and economic arrangements marked by fairness and opportunity.  It is a reminder that our humanity is all bundled together. 

While the specifics of what that looks like will always vary from country to country the yearning for freedom and accountability stands in stark contrast to the violence inflicted by severe distortions of economic and political benefits that accrue only to a few. The magnificence of each person flourishes when the well-being of all marks how we engage with one another.

No wonder Time highlights the Protesters. They invite us to remember that our humanity and purpose is best discovered together.

The invitation to this truth is discovered each time we claim our voice. With every seemingly small contribution in our local communities our voices collectively turn into actions that seek to expand what it means to belong as members of the one human family. Every voice is of value; every voice is important; every voice is needed.

How will we each join with others as Persons of the Year in words and acts that point to the truth that we perish or flourish together?

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Holiday Grinch or Delight?

Robert V. Taylor

The Holiday Grinch is incensed that White House cards do not refer to Christmas. While the Grinch makes political hay the rest of us celebrate the holiday spirit that Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice and Christmas invite us into. It is a choice about whether to define life by a spirit of steadfast exclusion or discovering our oneness.

Sarah Palin has sharpened her holiday knives according to the LA Times, with a full attack on Fox News about the “odd” nature of this year’s White House card. She is incensed that the card does not refer to the Christmas values of “family, faith and freedom.”  The unwed teenage girl who gave birth in a roadside feeding trough to the son named Jesus does not reflect the values that Palin has in mind.

The furor has been joined with political expressions of horror that this year’s card has “no Christmas” in it according to Business Insider.  Their gallery of sixteen different White House holiday cards shows that the “no Christmas” message has been consistent.

This is a life-draining energy storm in a tea cup! The holiday celebrations invite a life-giving energy.

The origins of Hanukkah lie in the miracle believed to have happened with scarce oil burning in the candles for eight days instead of one. It is a holiday about the scattering of the profusion of light. Whatever your tradition Hanukkah is an invitation to be an active participant in the spirit spreading of luminous light pointing to a power greater than ourselves.

In December Solstice celebrations the shifting of the earth’s axial tilt in relation to the Sun is cause for celebration. The beginning of more light filled days or the dawning of shorter days has been celebrated in cultures in the northern and southern hemispheres. The Solstice celebrations are about the human and spiritual cycles of death, birth and rebirth. They are a reminder of our interconnection with the Universe.

Christmas may be a specifically Christian celebration but it is also freely claimed by those rooted in other traditions or none at all. The vulnerability of a child born out of wedlock in precarious circumstances is a story that invites us in with our vulnerabilities. Beyond the theologies of God taking on human form Christmas is a reminder for many of the Holy found in each person. In taking stock of love made manifest in an infant there is cause for celebration and remembering our oneness with the rest of the human family.

Gifts, festivities, music and rituals reflect the celebratory time of the holidays. It’s not surprising that the holidays scatter the light of goodwill no matter how glum things might be. Or is it that the holidays invite us to remember that delight in one another, in hope and in our shared human story is still possible?

The Grinch’s may promote exclusivist views and try to spread divisiveness. But the choice of living life with delight in our oneness brings a life-giving energy to life beyond the holidays.  

Post your responses below!

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