Peace – still all we want

I am reading a book by John Perkins entitled The Economic Hitman and so recently I signed up to his newsletter. This is the most recent newsletter and I felt the urge to share it…

Peace

I’m in Istanbul, a city that has seen its share of war. Today Turkey is greatly impacted by the violence in Iraq and Syria and the turmoil over Iran; yet this country is a leading negotiator for peace. I hope you’ll read the below on the topic of peace.

Aggression Begets Aggression

By John Perkins

In our present state and based on the world’s past history we know that aggression only begets more aggression. War creates more war.  Terrorists do not dream as children of becoming terrorists. As we hear the drumbeat of our current US leaders for more “intervention”, I can’t help but think of the line in Catch-22 – the satirical novel of war – “Open your eyes. . . It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead.” (Chapter 12, pg. 133-134)

And I think of my friend, Kiman Lucas, Executive Director of Clear Path International – http://www.cpi.org ,  a non-profit that works to restore the dignity and self-sufficiency of conflict survivors in many countries. Kiman recently traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia; she wrote:

“ I believe any future in our world must be based on the rule of law, respect and empathy for each other and a tolerance and appreciation for our differences.  But fundamentally, we need to stop glorifying our tribal pasts — whether they are what you think of as colonial masterminding or what I think of as tribal divisiveness.  I do not want to bring the world back to the glorious conquering days of the colonial powers any more than I want to bring the world back to the headhunting days of the Shuar. 

It may serve our egos to remember the good ole days of our own people’s triumphs, but it also serves to perpetuate the myth that aggression is honorable.  Perhaps it will be “female” thinking – based on nurturing rather than killing – that can bring the people of this world together to stand up for what is right and to recognize that the “enemy” has always been the ideas we have about the other, not the other.”

Nurturing peace, planting seeds of harmony, wisdom, co-existence and respect for all is the only way to preserve a future that will be different for our children. Repeating the mistakes of the past and arming ourselves with bigger and better weapons only provides new anguish to those who are the targets of those weapons –  children, villages, women and men who, just like us, are trying to do the best for their offspring. When we cut out all other options of human existence and rely only on aggression to solve our problems, we become the PROBLEM.

Today think of one way you can sow peace in your community and watch it bloom worldwide. Take at least one action for peace every single day.

END 

John

John Perkins

New York Times bestselling author

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www.johnperkins.org
Hoodwinked
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
The Secret History of the American Empire
Shapeshifting
The World Is As You Dream It
Psychonavigation
The Stress-Free Habit
Spirit of the Shuar

Making Choices, Setting Priorities

It can be difficult to make choices sometimes.

There are times when I really want to do two things and I simply can’t, then it comes down to setting priorities. I need to decide which choice to make based on what is important right now rather than what I would really rather do. Sometimes I need to decide what it is that I really need to do.

I have some strong spiritual interests/practises and for some of these practises I have Teachers. My spiritual interests are not church based at all, despite having being raised in a church going family. In fact, like many Irish people of my generation, I have no interest whatsoever in church or it’s dogma however I fully respect the choices of anyone who does.

My spiritual interests are more nature based, spirit based, a little like a “Pick ‘n’ Mix”. I do believe in the power of prayer, I meditate when I am disciplined enough, I ask for help from various sources, I give gratitude for what I have received in my life, I try to live in the moment and to practise self-awareness. I am a strong believer in the power of letting your light shine so that others may be encouraged to do the same.

Recently the opportunity has arisen to attend a workshop being presented by both my teacher and his teacher. This is a wonderful opportunity as the man is held in very high regard and it is the last time that he will travel to Ireland to give one of his five day workshops.

My teacher has gone out of his way to make this workshop available and affordable for me for which I am very grateful and I did think that I would be able to take the time needed.

However I really need to be at home to help put a roof on our house. The house building has already been postponed for a few weeks to allow us both to earn some money and we are ready now to get back to building work.

The winter is coming, Equinox has passed and the nights are getting colder, we have even lit a fire in the last three evenings. We really need to put a roof on the house before the weather deteriorates any further.

The wall frames are already in place so in order to be prepared for winter we need to put on the roof first, then weather-proof the walls. Half of the rafters are in place and we are now getting ready to put up the other half, put a roof decking in place, put on the vapour barrier, battens and the roofing material which in our case is corrugated tin.

I am grateful that we have all the materials that we need to do this next bit of work and we even have offers of help from two good friends, one of whom has experience in roofing his own house.

Does anyone want to volunteer to make soup and sandwiches for us? I think we will have a few days of one-pot dinners cooking away on the stove whilst we are outside hammering away.

Now, I just need to remember to pray for a dry spell of weather….

Say Hello to the World Food Program

Today I received an email from the World Food Program because I had signed up to the site some time ago to offer a little support, my wee drop in the ocean.
Today’s email was not to ask me to sign a petition or donate money, rather it asked me to take a few moments to reach out and offer support to real people, doing really hard work, heroic work actually.
I thought that I would just copy the email here and give others the opportunity to offer some support to these hard working people too, I am sure after reading about what they do you will want to drop them a note and say hello by clicking here.
EMAIL FROM WFP:
Bai Mankay Sankoh’s life changed within hours of his arrival in Uganda five years ago. He drove 300km from the capital to his World Food Programme duty station in the north where citizens were being terrorized by a militia group, the LRA.
He had a military escort of 12 soldiers – 6 in front, 6 in back – and wore a 20kg bullet-proof vest. He passed villages that had been ambushed and burned down. When he arrived at a camp for people forced from their homes, he quickly saw there was no food to eat, no proper shelter, and no clean water.
“That changed my life in terms of how we can help,” Bai says.
Now Bai is running a WFP office in Karamoja, a region wracked by violence, drought, and extreme poverty. Just two months ago, WFP launched a new emergency operation there, coupled with a livelihoods support programme, with the aim of breaking the cycle of hunger.
“What’s unique about WFP in Karamoja is we have staff who come from Karamoja. You can see they’re determined to change things,” Bai says. “One of my staff said: I’m lucky to have gone to school and have a job, but I see hundreds and hundreds of my brothers and sisters who aren’t so lucky. I sometimes go home and cry and ask myself how we will help these kids.”
That’s what gives them the motivation every morning to come to the office – WFP is the only lifeline for many in Karamoja.
We’re collecting messages from supporters like you to send to the Karamoja team. “It’s a tough environment,” Bai says. “A letter coming from somebody outside would be great comfort to the staff.”
Will you send a short note to the hardworking staff in Karamoja?
Let them know you appreciate the lifesaving – and demanding – work they do.  The Karamoja staff are fighting hunger on several fronts including:
Distributing emergency food aid to the most vulnerable families
Supporting pregnant women, infants, and schoolchildren before chronic hunger can do irreversible harm.
Strengthening livelihoods through projects such as the cultivation of cassava
They’re seeing some amazing results. They’ve also seen plenty of heartbreaking situations.
Keep the staff going with a message of support.  A few words go a long way.
Thank you,
Marcela
Manager, Online Community
World Food Programme

BRIDGET’S DAY

Happy Bridget’s Day
Although by many calendars today, February 2nd is Imbolc and for many that includes the olden goddess Bridget, in my local community and for many in Ireland February 1st is considered St Bridget’s day.
In one of my local towns – and even as I say that I realise it sounds strange however there are a few towns around here that feel like local towns to me now because of where I shop or go to night classes – now where was I? In Ballinamore in Co Leitrim there is a shrine to Bridget above the town and beside the graveyard. It is always well cared for and has candles lighting there regularly and sometimes little mementoes or even coins left there for special intention.
I would say that most people who spend reflective time there may be addressing their intentions towards St Bridget, for me there is simply Bridget and I love that connection between the older pagan type spirituality and the newer christian spirituality.
Bridgets Day is still held as a pattern day in Ballinamore. A pattern day is a very old custom in Ireland and thankfully is respected still in many rural areas, when the local people gather and pray at a shrine or  holy-well or even at holy rocks. There is a pattern to the praying, a certain ritual to be followed whether it be walking sun-wise (clockwise) around the shrine for a set number of times reciting a certain prayer or group of prayers such as a rosary.
In Ballinamore the pattern includes walking around the shrine and through a small part of the graveyard – I need to ask more about this locally. Last year I took part and did what I saw others doing. There is a lovely feeling in taking part of an ancient outdoor ritual with people from the local community, even though I only knew a few faces.
I loved the fact that this pattern is considered such a regular part of life here. There were people young and old, walking alone as I was or with family, neighbours or friends. Some pray aloud, some pray quietly, moving their lips and many were simply reflective or praying to themselves, rosary beads swaying as they walked slowly and reverently in the footsteps of so many before them.
There were many cars parked at the roadside in which some people, many quite old and stiffened with age and life, had travelled to the shrine. Most local people had walked the distance from town as people had done in years gone past, for many the walk from town is part of the pattern and they pray as they walk. Even the younger ones who walked with friends were keeping a respectful atmosphere, chatting very quietly with each other. Others, like myself, had maybe travelled from the surrounding countryside to be there.
This year as I took a few moments of quiet at the shrine lighting a votive candle I noticed that there were a lot people setting off down the wee side road that runs alongside the graveyard after they had finished their rounds of the graveyard. They were all wearing wellies (rubber boots), some were carrying little empty water bottles and they were all keeping the silence of pray-full space with them.
Always up for an adventure, especially a spiritual adventure, I followed off down the road too. This was great fun and unexpected, to be heading off down a road I never walked before, not knowing where I was heading, how long it would take or even if I would get there as everyone else was obviously dressed for all sorts or terrain with their waterproof boots and big coats.
I was wearing bright summer sandals on my feet because I had only gone to town to post some packages and had forgotten that it was pattern day until I saw all the activity. I did notice that some of the people coming back the road were amused and dismayed in equal amounts by my choice of footwear. I, however, was gladdened to know that people were coming back! Now at least I knew that this was a “there and back” journey, not a tramp across endless terrain towards who knew what! I am exaggerating there a little I think!
People nodded towards each other, and me, when they met on the road but other than that a silence pervaded which was very peaceful. After some time we turned off the road and into a field, however it looked to be fairly dry so I followed along.
I decided that if the going got very wet I could then decide to either turn back or get very wet feet, as it happened I didn’t have to make that decision because the ground, although very soft in places, had a well worn track and I was able to keep my socks dry.
We were some distance now from any roads and it was so lovely to be following along in quiet procession, just walking. I had no destination in mind because I had no idea where we going. It was obvious to me now that we were to eventually come to a well because of the empty bottles so many people were carrying and those coming back had full bottles, beyond that I was in blissful ignorance.
It was a beautiful day, cold and clear, with a slight threat of rain to the west. The fields were silent other than the occasional bird song and the sometimes tick of an electric fence hidden behind briers to one side of us as we walked.
Then I could see a turnstile in the hedge at the far end of the field that we were in and realised that was our destination. Leitrim farmers are not in the habit of erecting turnstiles in their hedgerows. Once through there I found myself in a little garden with a statue of St. Bridget and a path which I dutifully followed until I came to a well.
I decided that in honour of the triple goddess I would walk sun-wise three times around the well before drinking a beautiful mug-full of deliciously cold water from the well, using the mug placed there for that purpose. I stayed there for a wee while, drinking in the scene after drinking the water. There were lots of daffodil bulbs, bravely sticking out their first greenery, dotted around alongside the path, under the trees. It will be a lovely place to visit once the daffodils are in bloom.
The rain finally started to fall softly as I neared the graveyard on the return journey. There were still as many people heading towards the well and a fresh bundle of Bridget’s crosses was being left at the shrine by a local woman. The crosses are made locally and left at the shrine on Bridget’s day with a sign asking for donations which this year are going towards a hospice.
I got into my van and headed for home, passing many people still walking out from town, ready for their spirit adventure.
Bridgets_Cross
Bridget’s Cross, traditionally made with rushes

Although by many calendars today, February 2nd is Imbolc and for many that includes the olden goddess Bridget, in my local community and for many in Ireland, February 1st is considered St Bridget’s day.

In one of my local towns – and even as I say that I realise it sounds strange however there are a few towns around here that feel like local towns to me now because of where I shop or go to night classes – now where was I? In Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim, there is a shrine to Bridget which is above the town and beside the graveyard. It is always well cared for and has candles lighting there regularly and sometimes little momentoes or even coins left there for special intention.

I would say that most people who spend reflective time there may be addressing their intentions towards St Bridget, for me there is simply Bridget and I love that connection between the older pagan type spirituality and the newer christian spirituality, that they can often exist side by side, chose which ever you wish.

Bridgets Day is still held as a pattern day in Ballinamore. A pattern day is a very old custom in Ireland and thankfully is respected still in many rural areas, when the local people gather and pray at a shrine or  holy-well or even at holy rocks. There is a pattern to the praying, a certain ritual to be followed whether it be walking sun-wise (clockwise) around the shrine for a set number of times reciting a certain prayer or group of prayers such as a rosary.

In Ballinamore the pattern includes walking around the shrine and through a small part of the graveyard – I need to ask more about this locally. Last year I took part and did what I saw others doing. There is a lovely feeling in taking part of an ancient outdoor ritual with people from the local community, even though I only knew a few faces.

I loved the fact that this pattern is considered such a regular part of life here. There were people young and old, walking alone as I was or with family, neighbours or friends. Some pray aloud, some pray quietly, moving their lips and many were simply reflective or praying to themselves, rosary beads swaying as they walked slowly and reverently in the footsteps of so many before them.

There were many cars parked at the roadside in which some people, many quite old and stiffened with age and life, had travelled to the shrine. Most local people had walked the distance from town as people had done in years gone past, for many the walk from town is part of the pattern and they pray as they walk. Even the younger ones who walked with friends were keeping a respectful atmosphere, chatting very quietly with each other. Others, like myself, had maybe travelled from the surrounding countryside to be there.

This year as I took a few moments of quiet at the shrine lighting a votive candle I noticed that there were a lot people setting off down the wee side road that runs alongside the graveyard after they had finished their rounds of the graveyard. They were all wearing wellies (rubber boots), some were carrying little empty water bottles and they were all keeping the silence of pray-full space with them.

Always up for an adventure, especially a spiritual adventure, I followed off down the road too. This was great fun and unexpected, to be heading off down a road I never walked before, not knowing where I was heading, how long it would take or even if I would get there as everyone else was obviously dressed for all sorts or terrain with their waterproof boots and big coats.

I was wearing bright summer sandals on my feet because I had only gone to town to post some packages and had forgotten that it was pattern day until I saw all the activity. I did notice that some of the people coming back the road were amused and dismayed in equal amounts by my choice of footwear. I, however, was gladdened to know that people were coming back! Now at least I knew that this was a “there and back” journey, not a tramp across endless terrain towards who knew what! I am exaggerating here a little, I think!

People nodded towards each other, and me, when they met on the road but other than that a silence pervaded which was very peaceful. After some time we turned off the road and into a field, however it looked to be fairly dry so I followed along.

I decided that if the going got very wet I could then decide to either turn back or get very wet feet, as it happened I didn’t have to make that decision because the ground, although very soft in places, had a well worn track and I was able to keep my socks dry.

We were some distance now from any roads and it was so lovely to be following along in quiet procession, just walking. I had no destination in mind because I had no idea where we going. It was obvious to me now that we were to eventually come to a well because of the empty bottles so many people were carrying and those coming back had full bottles, beyond that I was in blissful ignorance.

It was a beautiful day, cold and clear, with a slight threat of rain to the west. The fields were silent other than the occasional bird song and the sometimes tick of an electric fence hidden behind briers to one side of us as we walked.

Then I could see a turnstile in the hedge at the far end of the field that we were in and realised that was our destination. Leitrim farmers are not in the habit of erecting turnstiles in their hedgerows. Once through there I found myself in a little garden with a statue of St. Bridget and a path which I dutifully followed until I came to a well.

I decided that in honour of the triple goddess I would walk sun-wise three times around the well before drinking a beautiful mug-full of deliciously cold water from the well, using the mug placed there for that purpose. I stayed there for a wee while, drinking in the scene after drinking the water. There were lots of daffodil bulbs, bravely sticking out their first greenery, dotted around alongside the path, under the trees. It will be a lovely place to visit once the daffodils are in bloom.

The rain finally started to fall softly as I neared the graveyard on the return journey. There were still as many people heading towards the well and a fresh bundle of Bridget’s crosses was being left at the shrine by a local woman. The crosses are made locally and left at the shrine on Bridget’s day with a sign asking for donations which this year are going towards a hospice.

I got into my van and headed for home, passing many people still walking out from town, ready for their spirit adventure.