Walking away is not an option... dialogue must prevail.

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with."
- Kenneth A. Wells

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace."
- Helen Keller

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dona Nobis Pacem




“Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it. If a day goes by that don't change some of your old notions for new ones, that is just about like trying to milk a dead cow.”
– Woody Guthrie


BlogBlast for Peace is finally here. Yay!

I’ve been struggling with this post (yes, me too Mimi). I’ve started about 5 different versions. This is because for one, I’m a procrastinator and when a procrastinator tries to go against her character and starts something too early… well, it gets complicated. The other reason is that a lot has happened in my life since the last BlogBlast of November 2008. I joined the ranks of the unemployed, I’ve had my share of illness, I lost my Dad… and through all this, I’ve been trying to find a new path to my Peace in this challenging year.

This BlogBlast finds me asking myself about My Peace… Where does it reside? There’s the obvious “All you need is Love” and “Peace begins with Me”, and they are both true. By loving those around me, by showing kindness to strangers, by offering a friend a comforting hug, by giving of my time at my Chicklet’s school, I send out a ripple into the world. Letting people know they matter. That someone cares.

Love and Understanding…

The losses I’ve lived through, struggled with in the past couple of years, prepared me for the past few weeks… That’s what life is, isn’t it? Woody was right. We change and grow.

I’m one of many, a bee, a part of The Hive.

The understanding reached and the beliefs that were forged during those challenges life threw at me prepared me to sit vigil with the woman who inspired this day. It allowed me to fulfill my part in her journey. Each bee in her hive had something to do, a specific task. Some bees, who had lost a parent or sat vigil themselves with a family member, shared their insight. Some bees, kept collecting the pollen and scouring the earth for new and undiscovered fields. The Hive hummed and buzzed. Friends came together.

So… My Peace…

“I'd rather have friends who care than friends who agree with me.”
– Arlo Guthrie


Arlo (Woody’s son and a fine troubadour in his own right) once said that accepting someone else’s opinion brings with it a “challenge to your own understanding”.

I like that… a challenge to your understanding. I’ve long held in my heart that if you can’t be bothered with finding out why people hold to certain beliefs, you’ll never achieve understanding… and you’ll never achieve Peace.

I recently read this quote:

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
– Aristotle


It’s a statement that governs my life. Not that I tout myself as an “educated mind”... But this is why I have to pick things apart. So I can understand where people come from, what their reality is. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember.

I can’t walk away from differences… I need to understand. It’s the only path I know to acceptance, to Love and Understanding… to Peace.

“It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow's viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.”
- Harry S. Truman


In all these days I’ve been posting about Peace, I have never asked the question.

I mean, from what I see, with Peace Globes being crafted all throughout the Bloggosphere, and people marching for peace worldwide… and groups popping up everywhere on Facebook and iPeace and BloggerUnite…

Why?
Why is it that with what feels like the whole world asking for Peace, why are we not there yet?
How is this possible?
How can we look into a child’s eyes and not want Peace? And not FEEL Peace?!
What is keeping us from achieving what the clear majority of human beings on Earth seem to want?

I just don’t get it.

It would help if we knew why. I mean really… Because when you know what the obstacle is, you can overcome it. Understanding.

Recently, I accompanied my Chicklet as she embarks on her journey towards High School *sigh* HIGH SCHOOL!!! (um, excuse me, I need to take a moment and regroup… hug each other in the mean time… I’ll be right back…)

Ok… So, Chicklet goes off to do her thing while I sit in the same auditorium I used to sit in as a teenager, watching the plays the theatre group had put on, watching movies the school felt they wanted us young minds to experience… I sat there listening to the vice-principal tell us about the program we were, as families, considering for our precious children.

She talked about the values the program was based on.

One in particular stood out. Because lately, Peace is everywhere I look... like spooooooky… but in the best possible way.

It was about diversity, and about being able to come together and challenge our ideas and views and opinions.



She talked about how the children were encouraged to put on debates, to take positions, to listen to other people’s points of view… but that just walking away after each opinion was stated wasn’t where it would stop at the school.

As she said (or something like it - in French): “when you discuss, have multiple exchanges back and forth,… each time clarifying each position… at some point you just might find that both parties meet in the middle and come to a unified and slightly different point of view than each of them held in the very beginning. Sometimes, one person learns something knew, or gets a different angle about something and it affects their position. But even if nothing changes, at least they know each other a little more.”


“Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”
- Mark Twain


I participate in BlogBlast, because I believe in Peace. I participate because, like Mimi and my fellow Peace Bees, I believe in the power of words…. I believe that we might reach people through them. It’s not enough to preach to the choir. We need to reach the people who are skeptical about the feasibility of achieving Peace. We’re after a culture of Peace…
This means getting through to people who are pessimistic about Peace, who may have hatred and fear in their hearts, who are just cynical and refuse to join a movement that’s about Hope. We must get through to the people who have wrapped themselves in the “woobies” that are their opinions… because you don’t grow if you don’t challenge yourself and your beliefs. You end up stuck trying to milk a dead cow.

If we stop just because someone crosses their arms, we’ll have let Peace down… We’ll have let each other down.
Walking away is not an option. It just isn’t… Not if you care.
I can only imagine how many wars were sparked by someone leaving the discussion too early. To achieve Love and Understanding, we must be willing to stay and talk, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if we don’t agree.

When someone walks away, stay… wait for them to come back. Sometimes the wait is long… we are now taking up what was started by those who came before us.

Words matter. The words to this song were written by Woody Guthrie. He was one of the first artists to realize that music could be an agent for change. I was born on the anniversary of Woody’s passing.
As Arlo tells us in this video, his father never wrote down the music that went with the words and took it with him when he passed… it was up to Arlo to set his father’s words to music. Much like it was up to Mimi to take her Papa's marbles and start the BlogBlast for Peace.
I know you’ve already spent some time here reading my ramblings and I appreciate it (maybe you’re a masochist), and there are many Peace Bloggers and Bees to visit… but listening to Arlo is one of those gifts of Love and Understanding. I hope you’ll listen. If not now, maybe soon… we’ll wait.

Like Arlo says.. it’s about the little peace that’s in you that makes people happy to see you, the one that makes the dogs lick you and the babies smile…


I've included the lyrics, should you be in a kumbaya state of mind and feel the urge to sing along. *smile*



My Peace

My peace, my peace is all I’ve got that I can give to you
My peace is all I ever had, that’s all I ever knew
I give my peace to green and black and red and white and blue
My peace, my peace is all I’ve got that I can give to you.

My peace, my peace is all I’ve got and all I've ever known
My peace is worth a thousand times more than anything I own
I pass my peace around and about ‘cross hands of every hue;
My peace, my peace is all I've got that I can give to you.


Words by Woody Guthrie
Music by Arlo Guthrie

56 comments:

Starrlight said...

Lovely lovely, post Ann =) Aristotle has it down.

jennifer said...

*Wild applause*

This was such a great post. Your peace globe is fabulous!

Travis said...

Well done my dear.

BTW - That question you asked me a few days ago? "Walking away is not an option. It just isn’t… Not if you care."

Julie said...

Very good! So thoughtful. It's funny how the words just start to pour-isn't it?

secret agent woman said...

Doesn't look like you struggled for long! Lovely post. Peace to you.

Fortune Cookies said...

Beautiful! I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours. Then you threw in Aristotle, Woodie Guthrie and Arlo Guthrie? Icing on the cake.

Julia Smith said...

Your collage of Humans is breathtakingly beautiful. I'm definitely digging your 'kumbaya state of mind' - LOL!

Peace to you, Anndi.

Charles Gramlich said...

Peace out!

Finding Pam said...

Beautifully written. I am wishing you Peace for today and always. I loved the quotes.

Peace and love,
Pam

Finding Pam said...

Beautifully written. I am wishing you Peace for today and always. I loved the quotes.

Peace and love,
Pam

JohnH985 said...

A beautiful post. I went to Woody for music for my post myself, he was an amazing talent that is sadly not as well known as he should be.

Mimi Lenox said...

First it was Songbird's voice and then it was Trav's conviction and Vinny's love for Nancy and Starr's rockin' ripples...then it was Julie's daddy and now you decide to open the watergates again.
I didn't know the story behind Guthrie's song. His father. Oh, Ann...it is perfect and it spoke to me so wonderfully.

You and I have bonded even more throughout the last few weeks. Don't get me started...you know. The phone calls (which will not end even now)kept me floating in a cocoon of support. All of you did that.

I'm glad I bought more tissues yesterday. I am listening to the video now and making more coffee.
It seems that fathers are a theme this year - loved ones - lessons - life.

I love you.

Mimi Lenox said...

P.S. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZz!!!!!!!

Bond said...

Very well done...an incredible song that fulflls the desires of the day

Nessa said...

So much to think about.

Dona Nobis Pacem & Thursday Thirteen

Jay said...

That was terrific Anndi! Great job babe. ;-)

Walk in the Woods said...

☮Peace☮

Last November I saw Arlo perform this ... and I cried beautiful, loving, healing tears of ☮Peace☮

storyteller said...

Heartfelt post ;-)
I'm so glad you visited two of my four my Peace Posts this morning leaving a link back here to yours. One blessing of Mimi's marvelous idea encouraging us to blog for peace is that the day provides a wonderful opportunity to encounter others we might otherwise not meet in this 'virtual' world. I've bookmarked your site and look forward to returning as time permits ;-)

I do believe that Peace begins within and extends itself as we interact lovingly with others and that it's always a choice in each moment.
Hugs and blessings,
Happily Retired Gal

"Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing so gentle as real strength." St Francis de Sales

storyteller said...

WOW ... I just checked my other two sites and realize you visited the ALL! Thanks for taking the time and for visiting, sharing your peaceful thoughts, and offering positive feedback.
Hugs and blessings,

Robin said...

What a beautiful post. You're absolutely right, it's often the littlest steps that make the strongest footprints. Thank you for taking your steps to help us all grow closer to peace.

PS You quoted Woody AND Arlo! I think I've found a little corner of the web that I will like very much. I'll definitely be back to read more. I wove Tom Paxton and Tommy Sands into long heartfelt yearnings in my earlier peace posts, but somehow this year the words just didn't come. I'm so glad that yours did.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

WOOT WOOT!

What a fine job you did with this post. Wonderful :-)

Peace from Minnesota,
SpeedyCat

Marilyn said...

What a great post. I remember a show I heard on the radio about a group that's trying to build understanding between Jews and Muslims and they said they were going to start, not with consensus, but with understanding each other's differences. I'm not sure why that came to mind just now but I've often felt that way with my more conservative friends and relatives, like maybe if I could just really figure out why they feel that way I could help them see why I feel this way.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

This is a delightful Blogblast for Peace, Anndi! You have touched on many of the people who I greatly admire. Thank you.

May peace be with you and with our hurting world!

Akelamalu said...

Great post Anndi and I just love your Peace Globe. :)

Carver said...

This was a wonderful post at so many different levels. Peace to you and yours, Carver

thepoetryman said...

I too like the idea of it being a challenge to our own thinking of peace. Yes. That is good.

Wonderful post, too.

Peace...

moorebloglife said...

What a beautiful tribute to this day and what it means. You did a great amount of work on this post you should be proud.
Amanda Guthrie-Moore

Babs-beetle said...

Lovely peace post and so true. Unbending thoughts and opinions are the cause of many problems.

RennyBA said...

Great contribution and nice quotes and globe!

Thanks for visiting mine too :-)

RennyBA's Terella

Sarge Charlie said...

very nice post, thanks for stopping by, peace.

Dawn (Twisted Sister) said...

Your post is so beautifully written and really spoke to me.... I couldn't agree more.

"To achieve Love and Understanding, we must be willing to stay and talk, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if we don’t agree."

Peace from NL & Lab!

Daisy said...

Lovely post. Wishing you peace today and everyday. :)

maryt/theteach said...

Thank you, Anndi, for your outstanding peace post. And thank you for commenting at my post. I really appreciate it! I wish you and your love and peace today and always! :)

Carletta said...

Hi Anndi,
It's been a long time but what a great day to be reconnected.
This was a wonderful post that left me with tears in my eyes from your heartfelt words.
I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your father. After reading Mimi's post I cried for mine and he's been gone 13 years and your post brings a few more.
You've said so many wonderful things here. You have a beautiful heart.
Here's hoping you have had a peaceful and joyful day!

Mike Golch said...

Anndi,great posting! Dona Nobis Pacem

Dianne said...

you did an astounding job kiddo

Desert Songbird said...

Today words failed me, but they didn't you, nor Travis. Powerful words, powerful emotions. If peace is the reward for a tumultuous journey, then you, my friend, have gained a lifetime of peace.

tarheelrambler said...

Great post with a lot of power in the thoughts and words shared. Thank you for all you've done to give Queen Mimi a hand when she most needed it.

Kimmie said...

Ann...your post touched me beyond words. Just beautiful...you are an amazingly strong woman. Bless your heart. Peace. :)

Much Love,
Kimmie

mark's tails said...

Great post and beautiful peace globe. Peace to you.

Felicitas said...

Wow! What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing all the words of wisdom and the music. Peace be with you.

Ferd said...

Thank you very much for this thoughtful peace post!
Peace, Anndi.

Ron said...

BRAVA.....ANNDI!!!!

As I've read your posts throught out these past few weeks, I can honestly say that you emulate the perfect example of sharing and spreading PEACE.

It's behind every single word you've shared here.

What an inspiration you are!

Thank you, Twin!

Peace!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxo

Ivanhoe said...

What a lovely post! And your globe is sooo pretty. Thank you for your hard work, Worker Bee :o)
Love and peace to you from Ohio,
I.

katherine. said...

anndi-bee...your post resonates for me in so many ways...thanks much.

Karen Jo said...

Very nice. I, too, believe that understanding is the root of peace and that there can be no peace without understanding. Peace to you and yours.

CyberCelt said...

Love your post and your globe. Woody Guthrie is a great example of a peace-filled person.

May we all be filled with Peace every day.

Sanni said...

Heartfelt thanks for this outstanding contribution to BlogBlast for Peace, Anndi.

You touched my heart and little soul...

Peace to you,your honey and Chicklet.

Love ya bunches, my friend!

Sanni

Debra said...

Love the words to this song! Great peace globe and post!

Michelle said...

Hi Ann

Well... for someone who wasn't sure she could think of what to say you said a lot and it was all perfectly lovely. :-)

Years ago I saw this article about peace. A sort of sermon thing. The author said his dad used to point at this painting of a mother dove asleep on her nest in a storm, protecting her babies from rain and wind . He'd say... "That's peace. It's easy to talk peace when life is calm and smooth, creating peace when life is a mess... that's the real challenge!"

I think you and Mimi earned your doctorates in Peace under pressure this year. I think I came in as a third year with honours (one distant family death, two job losses and three health issues). It has been such a year! But maybe that's what Peace is really about? Being the dove in the storm?

Sunshine4Life said...

very nice peace thought!

thanks for the visit!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

A wonderful post. I am sorry you have had these losses . I really feel for you. I love the Helen Keller quote and the Woody quotes and song. Also I love your image of bees. Well done.

Sunny Dreamer said...

Hey, wonderful post! I love quotes and like how you sprinkled your post with them. I also liked what you said about change and understanding and growth. Last year was a very hard year for me and I could sympathize with the hardships you shared with us. I hope things are going better for you. Thanks for your comments on my post.

Peace!

amynoroom said...

I haven't felt peace in a very long time, personally. :-(

thepoetryman said...

Just dropped in to have another look at your peace post... and as lovely the second time around.

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Very thought provoking and well written. Wishing you peace as you continue to come to terms with and grow from all that you've faced in the past year.
Janice.