"I am this unique interconnected facet of this integral whole called universe,
and because I'm interconnected with all of it, I could never possibly advantage myself by harming another part of that which I couldn't exist without."
~ Daniel Schmachtenberger, BeThePeace Bonus Interview 2017
Even though BeThePeace, our global peace event that happens annually on International Day of Peace, was first birthed in 2012, last year was the first year of The BeThePeace Challenge. Instead of just focusing on peace for one day, we explored it deeply for 10 days together as a global community. Eight hundred beautiful beings, or what we were calling, 'droplets,' joined us in this Challenge to create ripples of peace across the planet!
The intention of the BeThePeace Challenge in 2017 was to dive deeper into the question of what it means to be the peace we wish to see in the world. On Day 1, we asked what is the peace that we wish to see. Through videos, photos, and written words, we shared our visions of a more beautiful world. On Day 2 we asked, how can I be and embody that vision of peace. On Day 3 we got clear on what daily practice would help us become that vision of peace ever more fully. The following 7 days were then devoted to doing that practice daily and exploring different topics as a community.
One day during the Challenge I had the idea to do an experiment. I created a Google Doc and invited all 800 participants to co-author a poem together. I had no idea if anyone would participate or if it would even work. I shared the beautiful results for this collective poem in last week's post. If you missed it, you can find it here or again at the bottom of this article. It really was beautiful!
The following are quotes, videos, and results from our BeThePeace Challenge 2017. All names have been removed. I invite you to take these responses in and let them touch your heart. There are so many of us that are deeply envisioning, holding, practicing, and helping to birth the more beautiful world we long to see. It truly moves and inspires me and I hope will do the same for you.
International Day of Peace is quickly approaching next month. I hope you all will join us for BeThePeace 2018!
These were our prompts:
I want to live in a world in which...
To help create this world I will...
The daily practice I will do is...
"I want to live in a world in which compassion, understanding and confidence is the natural behavior of everyone."
"A place where compassion is served for all living things on the planet. Where we listen, respect, and understand the 'other'."
"The peace I wish to see in the world is for everyone to have their basic needs met: pure water, healthy food, the clothing we need for the climate we live in, shelter to protect us from the elements, the medicine we need to heal and to keep us well, loving families to nurture us and loving friends to stand beside us on our journey through life. Also the interconnectedness of all beings and no hierarchy. This is not just a dream. This is all possible. It is the way humanity began. And there are still indigenous peoples on the earth today who live with these same principles."
"I want to live in a world in which underprivileged youth are aware of their values and potentials and are agents of change."
My vision of peace is treating each other with respect, helping make each other smile, loving one another, and creating positive relationships with each other in support.
"I want to live in a world which is harmonious for all and one in which we are all more connected to our natural way of being and to the Earth we share. To help create this world I will refine my being to one of greater light and compassion. The daily practice I will do is meditation, visualisation, creativity and helping others."
"My vision is that we live in peace and harmony with all people and accepting them for who they are, seeing their inner light without judging them. Each morning I pray for peace, love, forgiveness and understanding for all the world and its inhabitants and to protect and guard Mother Earth from all harm."
"The goal of my world vision is to build a world rooted in harmony, peace, and prosperity for all beings, now, and for countless generations. To achieve this goal, I would implement what I feel are two root strategies: Redefining what we value and emphasizing the importance of courtesy."
"My vision is a world there we can meet each other like the individuales we all are without no harm, human or animals in the same compassion sympathy. Excuse my bad english but I hope my visions words can understands? Today is a very importend day, it´s the peace day but I thought that every day shall be the peace day. I reach my hands out and give all of you, who are willing to take this in yours and breath, just peace love."
"I want to see a world where everyone is at peace within themselves and shares that peace freely with everyone else. I want to see a world where what our exterior looks like is not a factor in how we are seen by others. What I do on a daily basis is to smile at everyone I come in contact with and share a pleasant greeting with them. I have also made some little cards that I can give to them or leave in places where others will find them. The cards have the Prayer of Peace by St. Francis and the Purpose Prayer from ACIM on it and on the other side encouragement to join this group or any group that is spreading peace in this world."
Top Values, Concepts, and Memes
We created a poll in our Facebook group where we added and voted on our top values that we think are needed to be embodied in order to have a world that works for all. Here are our results in descending order.
Key Ideas, Concepts, and Memes
Developing compassion for self and others
Sacredness of all life
Staying present and grounded in peace
Doing good and doing our best everyday
Seeing ourselves embedded in the larger whole, each an integral piece of a larger image
Making decisions based on how it will impact 7 generations
Leave people better than when you met them
Holding an open spot for communication
"co-opetition" instead of competition
Be open and learn about others
On Day 5 we compiled a list of ideas and resources for the hard times. Here are some of the responses.
A Few Drops of Wisdom for the Hard Times:
"I take a deep breathe and walk through it anyway. The only way is through it."
"As a little girl, my mother always explain when things are tough, it is a sign that more love is needed."
"The daily practice of meditation is what has gotten me through life in very good form up to the present and will continue to carry me to my transition out of this body."
"Doing something physical."
"In some of the toughest challenges, like times we are living in now, I am filled with a sense of curiosity that accompanies the primary pain of injustice and separation on display -- this sparks my creativity. I incubate challenges in the subtle field of my innerbeing. In time, insight and wisdom that I can act upon surfaces. This is a hugely CREATIVE moment for all of us!"
"I breathe and keep calm. I try to find a solution by taking a rest and then to act."
"Go for a motorcycle ride, do tai chi and meditate"
Stay present no matter what. Even if it's a situation where I can't directly help even though I would very much like to.
If I'm too much in my head, become aware of sound, sight, sensation, smell, taste.
Watch what happens when I am charged quite a bit more for something than the agreed upon amount. Anger arising. Remembering one of Thich Nhat Hanh's breathing meditations:
Inbreath: Present Moment
Outbreath: Wonderful Moment
Give it 24 hours. Respond firmly and respectfully.
Anytime I feel uncentered, or thoughts slip-in that are not serving my greatest good of happy healthy wellbeing (aka deconstructive thoughts)...
I bring my awareness to my breath (breath awareness), with more focused yet gentle inhales and exhales.
And returning to my breath (breath awareness) each time I drift off center... and returning to my breath a trillion times more if necessary, each time with gentleness and compassion. I also like to conjure up "constructive" thoughts (aka thoughts that support my happy healthy wellbeing), as often as possible. "Hacking" (in a computer programmer sense of the word), the old patterns of fear and doubt.... 💜
While I also do these practices regularly, I am very empathic, so depending on how un-centered and stressed I am, here’s my escalation path:
Doing something physical – It has to be at least mildly cardio, from yardwork and gardening to dancing or aikido practice. This gets me out of my head and my heart, giving them a much-needed break, and grounds me in my body.
Shinrin-ryoku – Forest bathing. A Japanese practice of walking with intention amidst trees. It’s a thing! Lot’s of resources/research online about how to do it and its efficacy. Interestingly, the Japanese word for tree is ki, same as for life energy, though not the same kanji.
Practicing the Relaxation Response – by Herbert Benson. I was introduced to this in college to reduce stress. It’s basically biofeedback w/o the machine. It’s amazing.
Mishkan Meditation – Inspired by the Hebrew people’s temple in the wilderness and a feminist modern interpretation of it. If I have time and place: I face North to synch up my body with the compass directions, I visualize entering and creating sacred space, a place of sanctuary; and call/breathe in the quarters/directions; and sit and breathe there and take in whatever inspiration, solace, comes my way.
Sabbath Unplugged – Eventhough I celebrate Sabbath uniquely, I try to honor many of its traditional concepts: One whole day each week of not working; unplugging; celebrating with family; in contemplation of being, not doing. Just feeding my soul. From sunset to sunset. It’s so restorative in so many ways.
What Have You Learned from the Challenge?
Here are some of the responses to what we learned throughout our 10 days together.
It is easy to simply breathe and take your time to calmly be in the moment...lots of wonderful things happen.
Being calm and transmitting calm is so beneficial to us and those around us. I'm focusing more on slowing down and unplugging, which I will be doing in a few hours. Many thanks to everyone for sharing and supporting the group. I only wish more people had joined us....there should be thousands of folks participating. Love to you all!
I am very grateful for having participated in the 10 day project. It has changed the way I think about life over all and my life in particular. The new practices that I have adopted have blessed my life and the lives of those I have touched. This has been a very beneficial 10 days for me and the world as a whole. Blessings to all as we go forward with our new practices and commitment to be the peace that we want to see in the world. Blessings.
This challenge exceeded all my expectations.
Thank you everyone and especially Catherine Douglas! Thank you peace ripples everywhere! We are having a ripple effect large and small. I have had a few profoud peace moments, able to share more peace with others and have so much gratitude for this wonderful forum! May you reap deep blessings and much love!
Thank YOU for this challenge! So enjoyed hearing how we are deepening and expanding the positive change we want to see in the world.
My heart is in peace. Thank you.
In a sea full of calm
I am a drop in that sea, and I have swum in a marvellous, calm wave for these days with you all. Thank you.
I'm sure the waves are endless and we are all connected... So... Let's keep on sailing in LIFE
This group is very inspiring and I am feeling calmer and happier this week, thanks to you.
Holding the peace lightly inside but gently releasing it to you all this morning. Already feeling this is a practice that I want to keep longer than the 10 days. I don't think there is any more important work than embodying peace and love in these turbulent times. We can overcome anything with enough love!
Celebrating the Ripples We Created Together
It was deeply moving and inspiring to see how people took inspiration from this 10-Day Challenge and ran with it, sharing it in their unique ways in their communities. I heard of people using the prompts in their women's circles, families discussing the questions around the dinner table, and friends hosting dinner parties where they write a collective poem together about a more beautiful world. A number of teachers were discussing ways to incorporate these topics into their classrooms. One art teacher in Mexico and I were discussing the possibility of having her students paint the world in which they'd like to live and then discuss how they want to help create that. Another teacher in Spain mentioned she'd like to bring this to her Secondary School students. Multiple people expressed being moved to tears by seeing so many people around the world that also stand for peace.
Here are a few more ways that people said they were carrying this forward:
Inspired by this Challenge, a professor at UC Berkeley gave all of his students the extra credit assignment of writing up how they think studying anatomy relates to fostering compassion and peace. With the political tensions happening on that campus and at college campuses across the USA, this provided students a deeply fruitful and thought-provoking space for dialogue and contemplation.
A musician from East Oakland, inspired by this Challenge, had the idea to create a rap battle in the name of peace and reconciliation, calling it #PeaceMode as a play on #BeastMode. He already even talked about making t-shirts!
Someone else responded: "I think I am going to create pay it forward baskets and then donate them to someone in need through an organization that I support. Then, I also liked the idea of take a compliment thing! That was a great idea! Maybe post quotes about peace or unity...a new one per week in my classroom and then ask the students to journal on what it means to them OR ask them their favorite quote to add to the list!"
Here are a few more responses:
I will replace negative thoughts with positive ones that are both kind and truthful, and start making peace in my own mind
So, for today, I did my best to spread some peace ripples in my extended family. A political argument here on Facebook has stirred what was already a lot of tension in the family, and I took some time to write a heartfelt note to all the people involved. It's something I have wanted to do every since this blew up a couple weeks ago, and today I had the time and space to do it. It felt good to put that out there. Much love and peace to all of you!
I sent peace, calm and serenity to Catalonia in my country. And I suggested doing the same to my WhatsApp groups. Peace in our hearts, peace in our meditation practice.
Smile, laugh, make eye contact, offer to help, listen without thinking about what I want to say next. Be present. "Woman up." Strive to follow J. M. Barrie's advice, "Always be a little kinder than necessary."
When I saw all of these beautiful people so deeply sharing their hearts and visions and actions, I felt filled with hope. In a time when I had been struggling, this reinvigorated my flickering ember of hope into a full-on flame. May this synopsis bring you similar hope and inspiration!
Don't forget to check out our poem that we co-authored together during this Challenge and please join us again this year! We have many wonderful new additions and there are always new and deeper layers of peace to explore and practice embodying.
May we be the peace we wish to see in the world.
Join us for the 3-Day BeThePeace Challenge for 2018!