Happy New Year and Welcome back
Honoring Dr. martin Luther King, Jr. the evening of January 16 was instrumental in establishing the tone of our reflections for the beginning of this semester. As participants in the “Walk the walk” week activities, we ponder on the message of Associate Provost Page and words of Fr. Jenkins, who are we? and What is our role in creating an inclusive and welcoming campus? I thought this article was appropriate in considering who we are as a community.
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THE ART OF PEACE IN TIMES OF WAR
I wrote this article as a way to help us when we view someone else as a ‘threat’ because they differ from how we see and experience the world. We often enter into a war of words in a battle for the truth. Each of us trying to convince the other of how wrong they are and how right we are. The art of peace is never easy in times of war, but never more needed.
My hope is that these suggestions will help in finding worlds not yet discovered – yearning to be explored, understood and embraced. For hatred, often is about fearing what we do not understand.
1. STAYING IN THE ROOM TO WORK THINGS OUT
This is not always easy, especially if we morally, spiritually, politically or religiously disagree with someone. Also, we might emotionally leave, even if we’re still physically in the room. So, the real the commitment here is our willingness to remain emotionally and physically present and open to working things out.
2. REMAINING CURIOUS
It is often convenient to stop listening when our truth is in competition with someone else’s truth. The hard part is being curious about what they mean and how their experiences impacted who they became and are today. This requires being sincerely curious about the social and personal contexts of someone’s life journey and how those experiences shaped their future life choices and perceptions.
3. TAKING NO PRISONERS
There is a Buddhist saying: “To have no enemies, is to take no prisoners.” I think that what is being implied here is to notice how withholding some part of the truth will hold another hostage. Thus, creating resentment, bitterness and distrust. It’s not easy. As someone once said: “The truth is always there. Saying it out loud, now, that’s the hard part.”
Being in a relationship affords you the opportunity (if you’re willing to take it) to see who we are in the eyes of another. We seldom get to hear, let alone truly see, what we look like to others when we’re angry, frustrated, irritated, in love, in despair, feeling hopeless or lost. That is why reflecting on our actions/inactions and being open to hearing how others experience us is so critical to our growth and understanding of ourselves and our impact on others. As Anais Nin once wrote: “We do not see the world as it is, but rather who we are.”
5. OWNING OUR PART
There is an American Indian saying: “Today, is a good day to die.” One of the implications here is that we need to examine whether or not we are headed in the right direction and if we are harming others by our actions/inactions.
Perhaps, one of the reasons we have such a hard time apologizing and taking responsibility is because we seldom witness that quality in our leaders and from our institutions.
Maya Angelou once wrote: “I may not remember what you said or what you did, but I will l always remember how you made me feel.”
6. A WILLINGNESS TO TRANSFORM AND CHANGE
So often, change is viewed as having to lose something, rather than as an opportunity to enhance and enrich our lives. Transformation is defined as a change in nature, form or character.
To create trust and community, we must be willing to transform our goals, ourselves, our communities and our institutions when the need arises. Change is a healthy and necessary part of nature and science and in all relationships.
As Amelia Earhart once shared: “The most difficult decision is just to act. The rest is just tenacity.”
StirFry Seminars & Consulting © 2017
I have attended several of his sessions at conferences and wanted to share his perspective with the University.
If you want to participate in conversations, visit MSPS Facebook site for upcoming events. February 15, MSPS will host a panel Sports and Social Activism: Fame, Controversy , & Impact in Montgomery Auditorium. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 574-631-6841
Iris Outlaw `90 MSA