snv2014

A Season for Nonviolence, is a national 64-day educational, media, and grassroots campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities.

This international yearly event, established in 1998 by Arun Gandhi, Mohatma Gandhi’s grandson, honors Mohatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr’s vision for a nonviolent world. The “season” begins with the anniversary of Mohandas Gandhi’s assassination on January 30 and ends with the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination on April 4.

DAY 1  Jan. 30: The thought for today is COURAGE.
“I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
-Anne Frank

When you discover that everyone is contained in you and you are contained in everyone, you have realized the unity of life, which is the divine ground of existence. Then you are not just a person; you have become a beneficial force. Wherever you go, wherever you live, those around you will benefit from your life. Even one unassuming man or woman in a community has the courage to lead a nonviolent life, she will make her contribution, and she will slowly inspire others to make the same contribution, because human nature responds to such an example.

When we can say, “Whatever comes, we will not be afraid because the divine Self is within us,” then this resoluteness and faith will enable us to work free from tension, agitation, and fear of defeat. The person who works in this way is at peace, because he or she is not anxious about results.

Today: I will light a candle to symbolize my commitment to accept the courage to practice 64 Ways of living nonviolently.

DAY 2  Jan 31: The thought for today is SMILING. Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh said “If, in our daily life, we can smile…not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friendship and nonviolence. A smile not only improves our looks, it improves our outlook, and when our outlook improves, it is much easier to be at peace.

Today: I will share a sincere smile with everyone I meet, knowing that my smile contributes to peace.

DAY 3 Feb. 1: The thought for today is APPRECIATION. Author Louise Hay says “Praise yourself as much as you can…The love in our lives begins with us … Loving yourself will help heal this planet.” Peace in the world begins inside each person. Appreciating who I am raises my awareness of nonviolence.
Life is filled with opportunities to express appreciation, yet how many times do we pass up the opportunity thinking “oh, I’ll tell them later.” When we tell someone that we appreciate them, we are promoting nonviolence.

Today: I will write down ten things that I appreciate about myself and my life. I will tell at least one other person what I appreciate about them.

DAY 4 Feb. 2: The thought for today is CARING. According to Peter McWilliams “Nonviolence toward the self is caring for oneself. Self love is a crowning sense of self worth; it is what the Greeks call reverence for the self.”

When I regard my life as a trust, I realize that the first resource I have to take care of is my own body. This can be startling! Even my body is not really my own – it belongs to life, and it is my responsibility to take care of it. Taking care of it is a demonstration of nonviolence.

Today: I will make a list of at least five ways that I can take care of myself, physically and/or mentally, and I will honor that list today through demonstration.

DAY 5 Feb. 3: The thought for today is BELIEVING. Author, Wayne Dyer writes about the impact that our beliefs have on our daily lives. Believe that you have all the resources you need to move your life in the direction of peace, happiness and nonviolence. Believe that you can be peaceful all day. Say to yourself “I am peaceful, I practice nonviolence.”

Today: I will write what I believe about nonviolence. I will create an “I Believe in Nonviolence” t-shirt, bumper sticker, song, or art, and be aware of the simple demonstrations of peaceful responses.

DAY 6 Feb. 4: The thought for today is SIMPLICITY. To simplify is to invite peacefulness into your life. When we have lots of ‘stuff’ in our lives, it is hard to be peaceful. Close your eyes and ask “How can I simplify my life, what can I let go of?”

“Live simply, so others can simply live.”
-Traditional Quaker guidance

If we dare let go of our possessions and the will to control and dominate, we will cultivate a deeper spirit of peace within us because we can accept the present moment as a gift. By simplifying our lives, dropping less important activities and ‘things’, we allow more time for what matters most.

Today: I will write down three ways I can simplify my life and put at least one of them into practice today. I will give away something I have not used in the past year.

DAY 7 Feb. 5: The thought for today is EDUCATION. Knowledge strengthens your conviction and deepens your understanding and acceptance. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” The complete education teaches how to live by the principles which benefit us and the people around us.

Learn about the power of nonviolence by educating yourself. Read an article, periodical or book; watch a video on a subject that relates to nonviolence. Learn about human rights, diversity, ecology, history, politics, forgiveness, spirituality, peace studies, biographies of heroes and more.

Today: I consciously expand my knowledge about nonviolence. I will share what I have learned with at least three other people, and invite them to learn, too.

DAY 8 Feb. 6: The thought for today is HEALING. Poet and activist, Maya Angelou turned a traumatic childhood experience into a catalyst for creativity and achievement. She used this experience as a reason to bring peace to the world.

We all have had such experiences, sometimes holding on to the experience for a very long time. A mantram is a wonderful way to resolve conflict we hold in our mind and one of the best times to repeat the mantram is while falling asleep at night. Tuck yourself in, close your eyes, and start repeating your mantram. Between the last waking moment and the first sleeping moment, there is an opening into deepest consciousness. You can send your mantram in through that opening, repeating itself in your sleep, healing old wounds and restoring your peace of mind.

Today: I will reflect on an incident in my life to find the “gift” it has brought me. I will write down two ways I can use this memory to become a more creative and peaceful person. Consciously, I share this gift with others.

DAY 9 Feb. 7: The thought for today is DREAMING. Martin Luther King, Jr., had a great dream. Follow your dream; follow your heart; follow your inner light.

We need men (and women) who can dream of things that never were, and ask why not. -George Bernard Shaw

There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were, and ask ‘Why not?’
-Robert F Kennedy

Today: I take ownership of my own dream for peace and nonviolence. I will write down and act on at least one thing to honor my dream today.

DAY 10 Feb. 8: The thought for today is FAITH. When Cesar Chavez was organizing farm works in California, he challenged them to say, “Si, se puede” – yes, it is possible – when they didn’t know how they would overcome obstacles. Today, say “Yes, it is possible” even if you don’t know how your goal will be realized. Have faith – you will find a way.
Today: I will say, “Yes, it is possible,” to every obstacle I meet. I will write down three things I am having a challenge with and with each one write “It is possible for me to overcome this obstacle and be successful.”

DAY 11 Feb. 9: The thought for today is CONTEMPLATION. For at least three minutes, relax, breathe, and let your mind be fed by whatsoever is good and beautiful. Many sacred texts tell us some variation of ‘your thoughts shape your reality’.

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” -Aristotle

Today: I take a moment to relax, breathe and let my mind be fed by what is good and beautiful. As I think, so I am! I will write down my thoughts and share them with others.

DAY 12 Feb. 10: The thought for today is GROUNDEDNESS. Gandhi said “To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” Black Elk reminds us “Some little root of the sacred tree still lives. Nourish it, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds.”

This is how we are going to feel grounded, like a tree planted in the earth. Stand up straight and close your eyes. Imagine your body is a tree. Send down roots into the soil, feel the sun shining from above. Feel your branches and leaves blowing in the wind. When we feel grounded, we feel secure in our environment; and when we feel secure, we are more likely to respond to a situation in a nonviolent way. Being grounded helps us contribute to peace, to a culture of nonviolence.

Today: I will nurture a plant or plant a seed in, and for, the earth. When I am in a confrontational situation, I will recall that sense of being grounded and respond in a nonviolent way.

DAY 13 Feb. 11: The thought for today is CREATIVITY. The human soul’s natural desire is to create. The best thing you can do to a human soul is to express the natural desire to create. Your life is your creative expression. Creativity allows something unpredictable and joyous to express through you.

“Why should we use all our creative power? . . . Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” -Brenda Ueland

Today: I reflect on what I am creating in my life today by identifying at least five ways in which I can express my creativity joyously. I will create something that expresses my feelings about nonviolence.

DAY 14 Feb. 12: The thought for today is HUMILITY. Making mistakes is a part of learning and growing, simply an error in approach. Paradoxically, the only way we can begin to escape from the consequences of our actions is to stop running from them and to face them with fortitude and humility. In this sense, every difficult situation is a precious opportunity for learning.

When we humbly acknowledge our mistakes and reflect on what we have learned, it frees us from the need to be defensive. Being free from defending our position creates an opportunity for nonviolence.

“The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of the truth.”
-Gandhi

Today: As I gaze up at the stars tonight, I am aware of how small I am, how my life is but a fleeting moment in the vast scale of time and distances of the solar system and the universe. And in that moment of humility, I acknowledge that I DO make a difference.

DAY 15 Feb. 13: The thought for today is REVERENCE. Reverence for all life is fundamental to Ahimsa; it is the ultimate rationale for nonviolence – for how can one willingly do harm to that for which one has reverence – and towards which one has the love that reverence engenders?

“In the main, reverence for life dictates the same sort of behavior as the ethical principle of love. But reverence for life contains within itself the rationale of the commandment to love, and it calls for compassion for all creature life.” -Albert Schweitzer

“Reverence is a virtue that prepares us well to belong to one another; it reaches out to those who have given messages of not wishing to belong. When we approach others with gentle reverence, we bring gifts and share theirs with us.” -Paula Ripple

Today: I open myself up to a feeling of reverence for all forms of life, especially each and every person that I meet during the day. I’ll take a walk outside and experience the beauty that surrounds me as I BE with the sky, the plants and animals, as well as my brothers and sisters.

DAY 16 Feb. 14: The thought for today is GRATITUDE. On her show, Oprah Winfrey frequently promotes the daily practice of gratitude.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” -Melody Beattie

Today: I will list five things for which I am grateful for and share these good things with another, then reflect on who and what made those experiences possible. I will write a “thank-you” note to someone who would least expect me to thank them. I’ll journal about my feelings with regard to this.

DAY 17 Feb. 15: The thought for today is INTEGRITY. “Do the Right Thing!” Spike Lee used these words as a title for one of his movies. When faced with a choice, listen to your conscience, and be willing to act accordingly, no matter what others may say. You know what is right to do; you can choose to do it.

Integrity asks for firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values and denies any form of corruption. Integrity is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. And when I am in harmony, I am a model of nonviolence.

Today: When faced with a choice today, I listen to my conscience. I’ll recall then write a short story about a time when I listened to my heart when the people around me were doing something else.
DAY 18 Feb. 16: The thought for today is FREEDOM. Civil Rights activist Diane Nash said, “Freedom, by definition, is people realizing that they are their own leaders.” Take a leadership role today in your own life. Find a way where you can express who you truly are.

“When people decide they want to be free, there is nothing that can stop them.”
-Bishop Desmond Tutu
“To be free is to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
–Nelson Mandela
Today: I’ll claim my definition of freedom. I’ll write a haiku poem about freedom.

DAY 19 Feb. 17: The thought for today is ACCEPTANCE. “Resentment, fear, criticism and guilt cause more problems than anything else” says author Louise Hay. By choosing not to judge myself and see myself as unique, loving, capable and bright, and by accepting myself just as I am, I will be modeling nonviolence. Any time I can take down the walls of defense, I open myself up to a nonviolent way of living.

“Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”
-Henry Miller

Today: As I reflect on what is difficult for me to accept – in myself, in other people, and in the state of the world – I’ll let go of any resistance or judgment, and allow myself to accept and acknowledge whatever I have been resisting.

DAY 20 Feb. 18: The thought for today is SELF-FORGIVENESS. When I judge myself, I tend to believe that who I am is what I have done or not done, what I have or do not have. I know that who I am is greater than all these things. I am greater than any mistake I have ever made. When we get even the slightest glimpse of the unity of life, we realize that sitting in judgment of other people and countries and races, I’m training my mind to sit in judgment of myself. As I forgive others, I am teaching the mind to respond with forgiveness everywhere, even to the misdeeds and mistakes of my own past. Practicing self-forgiveness is a foundation for practicing nonviolence.

Today: I will write an apology letter to myself for anything I have done to myself that I wish I had not, or ways that I have disappointed myself and not fully lived up to my potential. I’ll mail the letter to myself and when it arrives, I will read it in a quiet place.

Day 21 Feb. 19: The thought for today is INSPIRATION. There are many people who inspire us. Take a moment to reflect upon who inspires you and what characteristics you most admire in them. See the potential that is also within you and choose to cultivate these characteristics in your daily life.

“Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life BE Revelation.” -Eileen Caddy

Today: As I think of at least two people who exemplify the practice of nonviolence, I’ll acknowledge what it is I admire about them, what inspires me about them. I’ll practice these behaviors today so that other people may be inspired and I’ll share this insight with at least three other people.

DAY 22 Feb. 20: The thought for today is MISSION. “My life is my message” said Gandhi. Gandhi’s mission was to be nonviolent. What do you want to stand for in your life? Do you know your life’s mission?

Today: I will write down what I stand for in my life. I will note at least one way I can show, through action, that I stand for my beliefs. I will develop a personal mission statement and draw a picture of myself living my mission. I will share my mission with at least three other people.

DAY 23 Feb. 21: The thought for today is PRAYER. “Prayer from the heart can achieve what nothing else in the world can” said Gandhi.
Begin and end the day with a prayer for peace. Let peace begin with me.

Saint Francis of Assisi said it this way:
“….. make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.”

Today: I will begin and end the day with a prayer for peace. When I say goodbye to people, I will say “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” I will create a space in my home dedicated to prayer for nonviolence.

DAY 24 Feb. 22: The thought for today is HARMONY. Choosing NOT to engage in any form of gossip today contributes to harmony. Choosing to see the good in others rather than finding fault leads to peaceful relationships. Look for the good in yourself and in others. By making these choices, we are contributing to a culture of nonviolence, we are being a model of peace.

Today: I will choose to see the good in others instead of finding fault. I will spend the entire day without criticizing anything or anyone; if I am tempted to criticize, I will write down the criticism rather than speaking it, then later discover where the criticism is coming from within me.

DAY 25 Feb. 23: The thought for today is FRIENDLINESS. To humorist Will Rogers, strangers were simply friends he hadn’t met. View those you encounter today in that light. Every time I am friendly toward another, I help break down the wall of separation and I contribute to nonviolence.

Today: I will make a new acquaintance, befriend a stranger. I will go up to someone I haven’t met yet and say “Hi friend.”

DAY 26 Feb. 24: The thought for today is RESPECT. Gandhi taught “Language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.” Respecting yourself and others means making a choice not to use profanity or ‘put downs’. Let our language be based on respect for those we address. The life of peace excludes no one. Let your words reflect your respect for others – speak from the depth of your heart and soul. The other side of respect is listening – listen to others with the respect that what they have to say matters. The act of listening has a calming effect on others, even if they are in a heated tirade, just listening models a nonviolent response.

“Courtesy towards opponents and eagerness to understand their view-point is the ABC of nonviolence.” -M.K. Gandhi

Today: As I interact with and observe people during the day, I will be aware of ways in which I respect each person. I will draw a picture of someone for whom I have a great deal of respect, then frame the picture with words that describe this person.

DAY 27 Feb. 25: The thought for today is GENEROSITY. Mother Teresa said, “There is a hidden poverty more pervasive than lack of money. It is the poverty of the heart.” Look at ways you can contribute to your family, friends and community through your generosity. You will see how your generous gift comes back to you.

The more generous you are today, the more generosity you will have tomorrow. The more love you give, the more loving you become. The more generous you become, the less need to defend what you have, the greater your capacity for nonviolence.

Today: I will find three ways to give generously of my time, talent and resources to others. I will create a ‘Gift Certificate’ for someone.

DAY 28 Feb. 26: The thought for today is LISTENING. Can you stop what you are doing and thinking, and take time to truly listen to the feelings behind someone’s words to you? Being fully present for the conversation and interested in what that person is saying is a practice of nonviolence.

A component of Marshall Rosenberg’s “Nonviolent Communication” involves listening with compassion. The listener attends fully to the speaker’s words, while sensing the feelings and needs beneath the words. The listener is simply fully present, not trying to “figure out” what the speaker is needing, nor trying to “get it right.” If I can listen to you with compassion, it is usually only a short time before you listen with compassion to me.

Today: I will be fully present to each conversation I engage in, and listen longer than usual – and with more patience – to what others are saying. I will give the other person my full attention, because nothing else really matters. I will look directly at the person who is speaking, without thinking about other things.

DAY 29 Feb. 27: The thought for today is FORGIVENESS. When we forgive, we do not condone hurtful behavior. When we realize that there is something within us that is more important than this hurtful experience, we are free to let go of the past and move on with our lives. In doing so, we open our hearts to the humanity of those we forgive.
As we forgive others, we are teaching the mind to respond with forgiveness everywhere, even to the misdeeds and mistakes of our own past. And if I have treated a particular person badly, even if I can no longer win that person’s forgiveness, I can still win the forgiveness of myself.

“The results of forgiveness is the stopping of the recycling of anger within ourselves and in the world. Peace will come to the world when each of us takes the responsibility of forgiving everyone, including ourselves, completely.” -Gerald Jampolsky

Today: I am willing to let go of the past, and forgive those who have hurt me, and towards whom I feel anger. I will forgive myself too. Today, I will write a letter of forgiveness to someone (I do not have to mail it).

DAY 30 Feb. 28: The thought for today is MAKING AMENDS. The other side of forgiveness is making amends, when it is you who has been – or needs to be – forgiven for hurt or wrongdoing you may have caused. As with forgiveness, the gift of making amends – to yourself and to whoever has been hurt or wronged – is revealed when it is given unconditionally from your heart. What would it be like if world leaders made amends?

“Making amends may seem like a bitter pill to swallow, but for those serious about recovery it can be great medicine for the spirit and soul.” -Step 9 Forgiveness. The Twelve Steps

Today: As I interact with people today, I will reflect on whether there are ways I feel moved to make amends; I will let my heart gently guide me, as I recall each person’s unique ways of expressing his or her joys, fears and pains. I will be open to let my heart speak through words, actions, thoughts or prayers. I will offer a sincere apology to someone I may have hurt.

DAY 31 Mar. 1: The thought for today is PRAISE. 
Today:  I will give sincere praise to at least three people today for their personal qualities, achievements, or helpful service, and then to myself.   I will journal about the experience and feelings of each encounter.
 
DAY 32 Mar. 2: The thought for today is PATIENCE. 
Today:  I will look for opportunities to practice patience.  In a situation where there is friction,  rather than run away, I will move closer to the core of the conflict and look for a nonviolent solution.
DAY 33 Mar. 3: The thought for today is ACKNOWLEDGMENT. 
 
Today:  In each of the four meanings quoted above, I will take time to acknowledge each person I meet or see today – including myself – in the spirit of ahimsa and forgiveness. I will take time today to acknowledge the realm of nature, the community of life on Earth, and the Earth itself.
DAY 34 Mar. 4: The thought for today is LOVE. 
Today:  I will focus on what I can find to love in the person I like the least. As I meet people during the day, I will reflect on how love can enhance the relationship. 
DAY 35 Mar. 5: The thought for today is UNDERSTANDING. 
Today:  When I find myself disagreeing with someone, I will focus on understanding what they are saying – and why.  I will listen compassionately to them, with a silent thought of love, and tell them what I understand them to be saying.  With empathy, I will say clearly and quietly what I believe to be true.
DAY 36 Mar. 6: The thought for today is MINDFULNESS. 
 
Today:  Choose something simple to do, such as eating a piece of fruit.  Bringing my complete attention to it, I will not allow myself to talk to anyone or think of anything else except what I’m doing.  Notice what my hands do, the way the food feels in my mouth, the taste, the texture, the idea of nourishing my body.  Is this different from the way I normally eat?  I will practice being mindful in everything I do today.

DAY 37 Mar. 7:   The thought for today is GRACIOUSNESS. 
Today:  I will create a skit with at least three other people to show the difference between graciousness and selfishness.  I will observe and share with the others how graciousness adds to nonviolence.
DAY 38 Mar. 8: The thought for today is KINDNESS
Today:  I will do something kind for someone for no reason other than to be kind.  I will bring beauty to a place where it may be needed without letting anyone know that I was  the one who did it.  I will write about how it felt and then share this story with someone.
DAY 39 Mar. 9: The thought for today is DIALOGUE. 
Today:  I will speak my truth quietly and clearly, and not enter into the spirit of argument.  I will listen with an open heart, with compassion, to the truth as perceived by others.
DAY 40 Mar. 10: The thought for today is UNITY.
Today:   I will look for three ways to see beyond outer differences in opinions, appearances, or goals.  I will seek out someone who looks different from me; looking beyond these outer differences I will see the unity which is inside and journal about what I have discovered.
DAY 41 Mar. 11:  The thought for today is OPENNESS. 
Today: I will be open to understanding ideas and people that I have previously opposed.  I will find somebody who I never wanted to talk to before and find a way to have a conversation with him or her.
DAY 42 Mar. 12: The thought for today is ACCOUNTABILITY. 
Today:  I will be accountable for my words today.  I will make a list of the thoughts I think and the words I speak that are violent.  Every time I become aware of my violent thoughts or words, I will say to myself “delete” and start again. 
DAY 43 Mar. 13: The thought for today is UNIQUENESS. 
Today:    I will do something that shows how unique I am.  I may draw a picture, sing a song, dance or write a story.   I will praise, compliment or honor the uniqueness of someone I know and by doing so, notice the positive impact I make by recognizing their uniqueness.
DAY 44 Mar. 14: The thought for today is COOPERATION. 
Today:  Find a very heavy object.  Try to pick it up by yourself.  Now ask 3 or 4 other people to assist.  How did working together with other people help make this task easier for you?

DAY 45 Mar. 15: The thought for today is MASTERY. 
Today:  When I think of something or get into a situation where anger comes up, I will acknowledge the anger then breathe deeply, silently counting backwards from ten, and then decide what action to take.  Mastery of nonviolence will come as I continue to practice.
DAY 46 Mar. 16: The thought for today is COMPASSION. 
Today:  I will engage compassion to lead my actions, my words and my life.
DAY 47 Mar. 17: The thought for today is DISARMAMENT.   
Today:  I will have a conversation with someone today about what the world would be like if there were no weapons, nor any need for them.  I will define new uses for the resources freed-up by not developing weapons.
DAY 48 Mar. 18: The thought for today is ECOLOGY. 
Today:  I will practice recycling by using at least one recycled product and by recycling a product.   I will reduce, reuse and recycle the products I use.
DAY 49 Mar. 19: The thought for today is HONOR.  
Today:  A simple way to raise my awareness of honoring others is to do so at mealtime.  Before each meal today, I will stop to think about all the people involved with the food I eat and I will silently say to them, “I honor you.”   Likewise, I will bless and honor the earth for its abundance.
DAY 50 Mar. 20: The thought for today is CHOICE. 
Today:  I will write about the choices I face throughout the day and on how they translate my commitment to nonviolence into my thoughts, words and actions.
DAY 51 Mar. 21: The thought for today is ADVOCACY
Today:  I will be an ally. Without blaming or judging others, I will listen from my heart, and speak out with love for those who are disrespected, abused or not listened to.   I will find out how I can be an advocate in current conflicts, such as in The Sudan.
DAY 52 Mar. 22: The thought for today is EQUALITY. 
Today:  I will be mindful of ways that I see myself as better than others.  When I listen to people today, I will listen to them as equals; when I speak, I will speak to others as equals.  I will enrich my life by considering how I can invite different people and unusual experiences into my life today.
DAY 53 Mar. 23: The thought for today is ACTION. 
Today:  I will explore actions from the heart I can take today to express my commitment to peace and nonviolence – in both my personal life and in the public domain.  I will find a way to make one small change that will contribute to the well being of my home, school, workplace or community. 
DAY 54 Mar. 24: The thought for today is GIVING. 
Today:  I will clean out my closet, bureau drawers, or garage and give away things I’m not using.  I will give my time to a volunteer organization and my financial resources to a cause that supports and practices nonviolence.
DAY 55 Mar. 25: The thought for today is RESPONSIBILITY. 
Today:  I will pick up trash that is not my own, whether at home, at the office or on the street.   If there is a conflict present in my life, I will take responsibility for my part in the conflict.
DAY 56 Mar. 26: The thought for today is SELF-SUFFICIENCY. 
Today:  I will discover the satisfaction of making something for myself instead of buying something – and from spending time in self-sufficient quiet reflection or meditation.   If I know someone who is looking for employment, I will offer to assist them with a resume, an application, making phone calls, or practice interviewing.
DAY 57 Mar. 27: The thought for today is SERVICE. 
Today:  I will volunteer a minimum of two hours this week with an organization of my choice and share my commitment with at least one person.  I will do one thing today to help somebody at home, at school or work, or in my community, and then write a paragraph about the experience.
DAY 58 Mar. 28: The thought for today is CITIZENSHIP. 
Today:  I will call or write one of my legislators and register my views.  I will tell at least three people of my efforts and ask them to do the same.
DAY 59 Mar. 29: The thought for today is INTERVENTION. 
Today:  I will have the courage to intervene in a caring way with someone who is using alcohol or drugs.  Through my honest, straightforward, and nonviolent communication, I will encourage them to get educated, get help, get sober and free from substances. 
DAY 60 Mar. 30: The thought for today is WITNESSING. 
Today:  When I see injustice, I will say or take action to bring about a peaceful change.  I will write down my thoughts about the action I took, and share this with another person.

DAY 61 Mar. 31: The thought for today is PEACE. 
Today:  I choose to meet each experience with an intention for peace.  I will be aware of any feelings of anger or irritation and replace the feeling with calm.  I envision any areas of unrest transformed into safe havens for all people.  I see beyond conflict and discord to the truth: peace is everywhere present and active.
DAY 62 Apr. 1: The thought for today is COMMITMENT.  
Today:  I will identify what I am willing to do as a consequence of my commitment to nonviolence.    I will clarify and affirm my personal commitment to nonviolence by sharing it with at least two people.
DAY 63 Apr. 2: The thought for today is RELEASE. 
Today:  I reflect back on how far I have come during this 64 day journey.  I release the idea that World Peace is not possible by acknowledging that I really do make a difference.  Say out loud, “I DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!”

DAY 64 Apr. 3: The thought for today is CELEBRATION. 
Today:  I celebrate my knowledge and maturity, my choice of nonviolence, and the journey I have chosen. 
CLOSING Apr. 4: Every day, I join others in this prayer for World Peace.
With each kind thought,
each choice for nonviolence,
we plant a seed that shall bloom
to bring forth rich fruit in its Season.
Together, friend, we till the soil and
plant the seeds that all creation may
sing for joy and dance in the
Garden of Peace.
May our prayers and practices
during this Season be but the beginning
of a new culture of peace, security and
joy that shall endure unto our
children’s children’s children.

 

YOU ARE WORTHY OF WEALTH!

wealthy

Surely our thinking is impacted by wealth. Wealth is a personal journey. Some define wealth in the strength of their finances and some with the depth of their inner peace, and for some, one leads to the other.

How you define wealth is your business. Just know, that how you feel about it will affect your confidence. If you do not feel worthy of achieving your own state of wealth, ask yourself why? What self-limiting beliefs are you telling yourself that creates this condition? What story needs to be told so you can attract the wealth that you seek?

Telling yourself the truth can be the best habit you can develop, and asking questions and shifting your self-talk can be the easiest and quickest way to change your thinking.

It all starts with belief. You can kick start this change by eradicating limited beliefs. Your reward is a renewed, strong and solid sense of confidence in yourself and your amazing abilities!

Say this affirmation: “I am worthy and deserving of great wealth and abundance.”

For most people, the biggest hurdle to wealth comes from lack of belief that it is possible to achieve wealth. If you don’t think you are worthy of wealth, that’s where your work starts. Don’t get me wrong … I am not one of these motivational types that thinks if you believe you can be wealthy, it will automatically happen.

Building wealth may be simple, but it is based on your consciousness. But I do think that, if you believe you can’t become wealthy, then you probably won’t.

I’m reminded of Henry Fords famous quote: “Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right.”

If you start with negative beliefs about money, that is where you will stay. For example, if you think that it is difficult to make money or ‘money is bad’ or ‘people with money are crooks’ or ‘money is the root of all evil’, it may be hard to rationalize having more wealth. These negative hurdles will be in the way.

Derived from the God of wealth Ploutos, the definition of Plutophobia is = The fear of wealth. Wealth is not the only fear we have. We have many fears:

  • Fear of our GREATNESS
  • Fear of Not being (good) ENOUGH
  • Fear of NOT being LOVED
  • Fear of Rejection
  • Fear of FAILURE
  • Fear of Wealth
  • Fear of SUCCESS
  • Fear of being Wealthy

As Marianne Williamson said in her book, a Return to Love (1992): “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”

“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking, so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I believe wealth starts with believing that wealth can be good, productive and also attainable. If you don’t think this way, how can you expect to be wealthier? Wealth is your divine birthright. Claim your inheritance today!

KWANZAA

happy-kwanzza

 

KWANZAA, the African-American cultural holiday conceived and developed by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga, was first celebrated on December 26, 1966.

Kwanzaa is traditionally celebrated from December 26 through January 1, with each day focused on Nguzo Saba, or the seven principles. Derived from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits”, Kwanzaa is rooted in the first harvest celebrations practiced in various cultures in Africa.

Kwanzaa seeks to enforce a connectedness to African cultural identity, provide a focal point for the gathering of African peoples, and to reflect upon the Nguzo Saba, or the seven principles, that have sustained Africans.

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa – Nguzo Saba

1. UMOJA (UNITY) (oo-MOE-jah) – To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

2. KUJICHAGULIA (SELF DETERMINATION) (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah) – To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

3. UJIMA (COLLECTIVE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY) (oo-JEE-mah) – To build and maintain our community together and to make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.

4. UJAMAA (COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS) (oo-JAH-mah) – To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit together from them.

5. NIA (PURPOSE) (nee-AH) – To make as our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

6. KUUMBA (CREATIVITY) (koo-OOM-bah) – To do always as much as we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it.

7. IMANI (FAITH) (ee-MAH-nee) – To believe with all our hearts in our parents, our teachers, our leaders, our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

KWANZAA Symbols Overview

-Mkeka – mat
-Kinara – candle holder
-Mishumaa Saba – Seven candles representing the principles.
-Kikombe Cha Umoja – the unity cup
-Mazao – crops
-Vibunzi – ears of corn
-Zawadi – gifts
-Bendera – Flag

MKEKA (M-KAY-KAH) – MAT
The Mkeka is a symbol of history and tradition. It is the base or foundation garment. All Kwanzaa symbols are placed upon the Mkeka.

Kinara (Ke-na-re) – Candelabra
The Kinara is imilar to a traditional menorah. Seven candlesticks are used in celebrating Kwanzaa aka/seven branches. Generally made of wood, they are significant of the thick African forests.

MISUMAA SABA (ME-SHOO-MAAH-SAH-BAH) – SEVEN CANDLES
The seven candles, one black…three red… three green, represent the Nguzo Saba. The black candle goes in the center, three red on the left and the three green on the right. The second day the candies are lit on the left and the right alternately. The red candles represent the struggle and the green candles represent the fruitful future. Each candle lit the previous day is re-lit along with the candle of the day until the last candle has been lit on the last day of Kwanzaa.

KIKOMBA CHA UMOJA (KE-KOM-BAH CHAH OO-MO-JAH) UNITY CUP
The Unity Cup symbolizes the foundation principle of the Nguzu Saba, Umoja (Unity). It is used to pour Tambiko (Tahm-be-ko) -Libation for our ancestors. It is poured to represent the connection with our ancestors.This is a gesture of honor, praise and a commitment to acknowledge the journey of our ancestors

MAZAO (MAH-ZAH-OW) CROPS
Mazao represents the historical roots of Kwanzaa as a harvest of “first fruit” cerebration. Mazao also represents the rewards of collective and productive labor. Most urban dwellers do not harvest crops, so fresh fruits and vegetables are used to represent the fruits of their labors.

VIBUNZI (VE-BOON-ZE) or Muhindi – EARS OF CORN
Each house places one of the Mkeka (ears of corn)…an ear for each child. Even if the household has no children – at least one ear of corn is placed, beside the Kinara, to represent the potential for children.
Note: Kwanzaa serves to reinforce the relationship between parents and children because it is with the children that our hopes for the future rest. It is the parent who must guide and instruct the child toward principles and values which strengthen the family and aid its progress.

ZAWADI (ZAH-WAH-DEE) GIFTS, Such as:
A book…gifts of knowledge and/or heritage symbols such as African art or picture of African-American hero, Handmade gifts. Never store bought or commercial gifts.

BENDARA (BEN-DA-RA) NATIONAL FLAG
The Flags colors are Red, Black & Green. Black represents the African-American people, Red represents the experience of our people and Green represents our youth who are our future and hope for tomorrow.

Family Celebrating Kwanzaa

 

 

YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT DICTATE YOUR SUCCESS

spirituality1

So many of us go through life carrying the shadows of our past and tainting our future. If we had great failure in the past, we let it define our identity and severely limit our potential for any future success.

Then we hear success stories of those who did not let any disadvantage dictate their success, those who blatantly ignored their shadows, shunned their current circumstances and defined their new future with brilliant colors!
How did they do it, we wonder? Can we too let go of these dark shadows? Can we walk into a new light, no matter what our past may have been and what our current circumstances suggest? I believe we can.
Imagine what your life would be like if you stopped blaming your circumstances on other people and things and took responsibility for your life.
I recently read a great quote from Ben Franklin that I hadn’t seen before. He said, “Joy doesn’t exist in the world, it exists in us.” While the quote was new to me, the concept wasn’t.
However, as I began to think about it more, I realized that even though I “understand” this wisdom and do my best to live by it and remind others of it, more often than I’d like to admit, I find myself living as though I’m simply a victim of the things that go on around me and in the world—especially the stuff I don’t particularly like…agree with…understand…enjoy…or feel like I’m on top of.
The circumstances of our lives, especially when they seem stressful or intense, does have an impact on us, for sure. However, all too often, we give away our power to these circumstances and situations.

We act as though it’s a foregone conclusion that we will feel a certain way, based on specific circumstances like the economy, the weather, our health, our level of activity, the state of our romantic relationship or lack thereof, the behavior of our children, our families, the state of our career, business or our environment at work.

Our experiences of life (whether grateful, worried, peaceful, angry, excited, sad, alive, depressed, joyous or anything else) are much more of a reflection of us and what’s going on within us, not a reaction to what’s going on around us. So do we put so much attention on the environment?

We’ve all had many times in our lives when things were going great on the surface or we accomplished or experienced some wonderful external success, only to feel a sense of disappointment or sadness underneath because, whatever it was didn’t satisfy us at a deep level.
And, on the flip side, most of us have had moments of incredible joy, excitement and bliss that weren’t directly connected to anything externally. Because we are joy-filled on the inside.        
We’ve learned to transcend our physical conditions. Even though we know this dynamic to be true, we still seem to get caught up in the hypnotic, erroneous notion that if we just got rid of some issues, altered some circumstances, manifested some increased success or changed some specific situations in our lives, then, we’d be happy, peaceful and relaxed.
Author and spiritual teacher Byron Katie says: “The definition of insanity is thinking that you need something you don’t have. The mere fact that you exist right now, without that of which you think you need, is the proof that you don’t need it.”
What if we lived our lives with a deeper and more conscious awareness of the fact that we get to create our experiences in life, at any moment?
Imagine what our lives, our careers and our relationships would look like if we stopped blaming our experiences on other people or on external circumstances. We would free up so much positive energy and take back so much of our personal power.
So, know your circumstances do not dictate your success.

YOUR DREAMS ARE POSSIBLE!

Hands-and-butterfly

People achieve the impossible. They do it every day, at every age, every demographic, and in every social condition. They rise up to the occasion and defy the norms and no one has to give them permission, to live their dreams. So why are you waiting for permission then? YOU decide if your dream is worth pursuing. So go make it happen!

Do you ever feel like your dreams are crazy? Are you afraid of others judging you, of not supporting what you want to do and who you want to be in the world? Many of us struggle with finding and living our purpose. I did this for years and it was one of the most frustrating and painful times of my life.

What are your deepest dreams and desires? What do you really, truly want? You may be longing for an opportunity to travel or have a child. Perhaps your heart yearns for a romantic relationship or the chance to express your creativity. You may be dreaming of changing your career or creating more material abundance in your life. Or you may just wish, you could sleep at night.

The fulfillment of all of our dreams begins with intention and desire. As the sages of India observed thousands of years ago, our destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions and desires.

As a passage from the Hindu Vedic text states, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

Our destiny ultimately comes from the deepest level of desire and also from the deepest level of intention. The two are linked. An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed which you aim to create.

Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.

We can cultivate and fulfill our intentions with ease and grace when you:
Get clear on your Intentions, detach from the Outcome and Let the Universe Handle the Details. Trust that infinite organizing power to orchestrate the complete fulfillment of your desires. At the level of Spirit, everything is always unfolding… perfectly.

There is nothing too big for God. What do you want?
Material Abundance
Relationships
Spiritual Awakening
Personal Growth
Community
Health and Well-being

You can have it all. Your dreams are possible.

YOU ARE SPECIAL JUST AS YOU ARE

spiritual-1

This one still shocks me. Every human being—all of us on the planet—is born with unique fingerprints and unique voices. Does this gift from Mother Nature alone not shock you? It is the best perspective to instantly remember that you are so unique. There isn’t another one like you on the planet. There never will be. Know this. Exploit it. Enjoy it and remember it.

I will share words from one of the greatest meta-physicians because I think he says it best: Mr. Winnie the Pooh.

* Your presence is a present to the world;
* You’re unique and one of a kind;
* Your life can be what you want it to be;
* Take the days just one day at a time.
* Count your blessings, not your troubles;
* You’ll make it through whatever comes along;
* Within you are so many answers;
* Understand, have courage, be strong;
* Don’t put limits on yourself;

* So many dreams are waiting to be realized;
* Decisions are too important to leave to chance;
* Reach for your peak, your goal, your prize.
* Nothing wastes more energy than worrying;
* The longer one carries a problem, the heavier it gets;
* Don’t take things too seriously;
* Live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.
* Remember that a little love goes a long way;
* Remember that a lot… goes forever;
* Remember that friendship is a wise investment;
* Life’s treasures are people… together.
Realize that it’s never too late; Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way; Have health, hope and happiness; Take the time to wish upon a star. And don’t even for a day…forget how very special you are.

You Deserve Happiness!

We tell ourselves that we don’t deserve to be happy based on past experiences. This is the silliest untruth of all. What have you done in your lifetime to not deserve happiness? This is your birthright? Who implanted such a falsehood in your head?

Yes, you deserve happiness in abundance. The funny thing is you cannot have happiness while you hold on to the thought of anything less than that. Happiness flows to you when you fully expect it, not when you resist it. So, stop resisting it and start inviting it. Has anyone ever told you that you deserve happiness? No matter what we’ve done or where we’ve been. We all deserve to be happy. Thank goodness we are more than our experiences. But somehow we get stuck in this place that we don’t deserve to be happy.

Do you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I deserve to be happy?” No! Most of us leave our homes on a daily basis not even thinking about the goodness that is at hand. We all want great things to happen in our lives. But we are still thinking small. Playing the same old tune…”thinking-small-not-good-enough” tune. We play the tune like an old school record. And it is on repeat in the background of our daily interactions. “Not worthy…not worthy.”

We focus all day long on our looks, our success, our jobs and our treasures, so much that we never stop to look around and see the opportunities right in front of our face. And so we focus, focus, focus on all outer workings of a life. Then we get overwhelmed. Suddenly, the mission is too big to handle. We don’t know where to start. We figured it can’t be done and the light gets snuffed from our eyes. Changing your world starts with a single sentence. I deserve happiness. I deserve happiness.

Put your hand over your heart right now. Say to yourself, I deserve happiness. I deserve happiness. I deserve happiness. You are worthy of that. I dare you to say it so much that it wears holes in your pants and fringes your jeans. You deserve happiness. Say it. Everywhere. In every situation. No matter what the cost. You are worth it! And say it, only say it, because you mean it more than anything.

You must believe that you deserve happiness. This is not temporary happiness. We have to believe in a happiness that doesn’t disappear in the morning at the first crack of daybreak. A simple sentence like “I deserve happiness” should be spilling out of us. It should be urgent. It should be shoulder-shaking urgency. We should be saying that on repeat to one another. We should be meaning it more than we mean the road rage and the celebrity gossip that we engage in. We should be meaning it. Because some of us, we know how it feels to want to give up on this lifetime or want to go to sleep and never wake up. We’ve all felt the pulling of the threads that unravel, and we’ve all ached to get back to that place of Love.

This need for people to know themselves and that they are worthy of love… is so much deeper and real than we give it credit for. It’s not a quiet need. It is a real, raging, unsinkable need. We learn to turn away from validating ourselves because it takes more effort to say I deserve to be happy than buying milk at the grocery store. It takes more than a conversation on a computer screen. It demands more of our time, and we’re already so crazed that we don’t have enough time in the day. Who am I to add one more thing…like being happy? I don’t want life to suddenly work in a way where we turn inward, and we focus on all of our junk, and we think we need to be “fixed” in order to be happy.

I don’t know if anyone has ever thought to tell you, but you deserve happiness. You deserve to know that life means something. It would be sad if you weren’t here. And the world would miss out on the purpose you brought here in your arms. You deserve happiness. You deserve happiness. You deserve happiness! I want to speak that into your bones until you believe it. And you feel it. And you get strong enough to tell someone else that they deserve the very same thing. You deserve happiness. And you are so worth it my beloved.