Where have you found peace or created peace in your world?

Though peace is important in our lives, it can still be challenging to know where we can create peace. For Barbara, peace has been a lifetime commitment beginning with her grandfather’s words, “You will be a peacemaker.” She has found herself fulfilling his words by working with the UN University for Peace, United Nations Association and Rotary International plus speaking around the world with her late husband Robert Muller (former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations). For Mark, peace became an essential part of his working with businesses and organizations in his crisis management practice plus his teaching communications programs. Both of us know how to create peaceful environments. We also know we aren’t alone in our role in creating peace.

When Barbara was invited to help with the Rotary World Peace Conference 2016, she invited Mark Fowler, her co-author, to join in the planning. There were many places to assist. We decided it was essential to support the speakers (there were 150, including ourselves). Mark suggested that Barbara interview as many as she could and place those audio recordings on the Peace Conference website: www.peaceconference.org. For Barbara and her passion with interviewing*, this was like coming home. Prior to the conference, she interviewed more than 60 of those 2016 peacemakers (interviews at www.peaceconference2016.org/).

So much to learn from these peacemakers! Everyone asserted that “Peace Begins with Me”… It was interesting that peacemakers from around the world with many different approaches and successes would have the same thought. All were focused on peace and peace was their personal responsibility. When you seek peace, you will find it.

From this Rotary World Peace Conference 2016 and its other interviews and our workshops, participants kept coming back to “Peace Begins with Me”… Peace can seem overwhelming with chaos in our world today—down the street, in our homes and schools. How can anyone take on making peace possible? Remember: We must seek peace to find it.

There are ways to help peace become more tangible for all of us. Our attitudes and philosophies can make the difference. It can start with simple acts: a genuine hello, a gracious thank you, an honest compliment. It can come down to changing our reactions to life and what we do with the many twists and turns.

· Paying attention to and tempering our reactions to what we hear, see or learn about. Being present and not ready to judge and leap. Let’s release “shoot first, ask questions later” from our consciousness.

· Relinquishing any immediate thought that, if another person has a different perspective on an issue we believe in, getting along is impossible. This is dangerous territory; consider, for example, our recent Presidential elections, friendships were lost and relationships shattered (according to many news media).

· Resisting the urge to see situations as problems, instead of as opportunities.

· Giving permission to go beyond putting everything into categories like “Right” or “Wrong”, my truth vs your truth. Time to listen. Pay attention.

· Noticing expectations so that new ideas and opportunities have a chance for real communication; then, we won’t be disappointed when reality doesn’t meet our dreams.

· Letting go of our almost immediate search for whom to blame—“Who did it?”

These shifts can help and allow more collaborative and peaceful connections. Peace does begin with me. When we seek peace, peace becomes available!

A favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”

Life can be a lot like driving on country roads with twists and turns, blind spots, narrow curves and 1-lane bridges. We don’t know what lies ahead. Like life, we want the ride to be enjoyable, safe and exciting—seeing new things and appreciating all we experience. But life may not be predictable. Some ways to make our interactions effective and peaceful can also help in relieving our stress in situations.

· Come from a perspective that the quality of any conversation is your responsibility and your words matter.

· Pay attention to what we are saying. Maybe, what’s coming out of our mouths is not exactly what we mean.

· Slow down reaction time—it helps because the brain views positive and negative differently and discriminates. Bad news is recognized by the brain in 3 to 4 seconds and good news in 12 seconds**. Thus, waiting is polite and necessary to provide time for the heart to react.

· Seek to substitute “What happened?” for our knee-jerk reaction: “WHY!!!” Instead of seeking “Who’s wrong?” and to blame, choosing to be part of the process can go a long way to creating peace and reducing anger. Slow down. Pay attention.

· Embrace other perspectives and other points of view. They may have much to offer. Information does not have to be competitive. New information expands the knowledge base, thus increasing possibilities and opportunities for all of us. Others’ perspectives can be just what we need to bring success to an idea or a project.

· Open the window to understanding and honor the roadblocks. All of us have patterns and attitudes that prevent us from contributing our ideas, feelings and blessings***:

o “I don’t know enough”

o “How can what I have to say make a difference?”

o “I know the answer”

o “They may never listen”

o “They always have the answer”

o “I’ve tried that and it didn’t work”

Along the way, we’ll learn that these steps forward will bring us to a new level of how we can support peace and acknowledge that Peace Begins with Me.

Because peace does begin with me, we all have our own unique ways of embracing it. We can’t live an abundant life—a fulfilled life—without the peace we seek in our world. Our world and our actions impact others.

Please look for our book in 2019: Power of Peace.

To access Barbara’s Power of Peace Podcast Interviews: http://www.revolutionaryconversations.net/media-home/bgm-radio-show.html

Where have you found Peace or created Peace in your world? We invite you to connect with us. Please let us know by sending an email to [email protected]

We would like to leave you with a thought about peace from Barbara’s Power of Peace Podcast Interview with Lynn Kitchen****:

“We already know what it feels like and looks like not to be in peace.

Why don’t we explore together (which is your fifth step)

what it could look like and feel like to be in peace as a world?

That would be tremendous.”

Peace Begins with Me. Enjoy the peace we can create one conversation at a time. May peace prevail on earth.

* Over the years, Barbara’s passion has been interviewing. As an example, for her “Radio for Peace – Inspiring Conversations”, she interviewed many world leaders, dignitaries and others visiting the University for Peace in Costa Rica.

** “Why Negative Is Stronger than Positive.” Dr. Mike Bechtle, Conversations about Living On Purpose, http://www.mikebechtle.com/why-negative-is-stronger-than-positive/

*** Excerpted from “Change Your Conversation, Change Your World” – a Revolutionary Conversation® Workshop, www.revolutionaryconversations.net

**** Lynn Kitchen is a 22-year Board Member of the Spirit Awakening Foundation that provides anti-bullying, peace-keeping initiatives and mentoring programs to at-risk and incarcerated youth. She is actively developing a collaborative plan called “Mentor UP for Youth”, sponsored by The Café of Dreams: https://thecafeofdreams.com/mentorup/

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