Courage ~ The Season for Nonviolence
The Season for Nonviolence began last week. Co-founded by Gandhi’s grandson, Arun, and the Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), the annual 64-day Season for Nonviolence was launched at the United Nations in 1998 and has been at the heart of the work I have done for “Caring and Courageous Kids” back in 2009, and for what is now “Mindful Kindful YOUniversity”. The season spans these two memorial anniversaries: Mahatma Gandhi (January 30th) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4th). It’s the first time in years I forgot to start on January 31st. In actuality, it doesn’t matter when I start posting “Reminders” because, afterall, Thanksgiving isn’t the only time we practice gratitude, or Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time we practice kindness and love! Likewise practicing non-violence is a life-long commitment, and like any virtues, value, or habits, it takes a life-time of reminders and practices to keep coming back to the heart, and back to peaceful intentions. The Season for Nonviolence offers a “thought for today” for 64 days. Today’s thought for the day is COURAGE.
AGNT shares: “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.” (1)
In our daily lives, we can inwardly reflect about our own thoughts and actions and reflect on whether our thoughts, words, and actions align with how we want to show up in life. Sometimes it takes a great deal of courage to be honest about ourselves, and it takes courage to try again. Anne Frank once said “I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
This week Mindful Kindful YOUniversity launched our Mindful Teen Program and the students were asked to journal their thoughts about the following two questions:
- What would you like different in your life?
- What is going on in your life right now that isn’t working for you and is possibly a problem?
When they finished writing I told them that since they already have to deal with this/these problems in their day- to- day life, they don’t need to hold on to this/these problems – the problem they wrote about can stay in this class/in the journal. Then they were to journal a response to these questions:
- What do you think of the idea of letting go of your problems and leaving them here?
- Is this something you can try? If so, how?
After finishing this part, this being our first class, some were reluctant to share to the group, however the most reserved person said, “that feels really good – I didn’t know I could do that.” Another added, “I realized some of the stress I have I put it on myself and I can maybe try to let go.” They are on their way to learning how to let go of harmful thoughts and to begin developing the habits which will contribute to their well-being and positively impacting those around them.
In our Dragonfly Circles class this week (for younger students) we also had a journaling activity:
- #1- Draw or write about a time when something didn’t go as expected and you got upset with yourself. How did you feel? What message did you think or say to yourself that was not being a friend to yourself ? Write the message in a talking bubble.
- #2- After you finish #1 cross out the old message with an “x” and write a new message in a new talking bubble. Say something that feels like you are talking to a good friend. What could you say that would create good feelings in your heart? Use words that are kind and caring. Does that change how you feel about yourself? When we create good feelings inside our hearts we call that “heartprints”. You can make a heartprint next to your new message!
To teach and practice non-violence and world peace with youth, and with ourselves, we begin within, by paying attention to the very thoughts that come up in our own minds. We can learn how to notice judging and harmful thoughts and meet each one with compassion. We can let go of thoughts that do not support our well-being, and open our hearts to peace.
Today you can light a candle to symbolize a commitment to accept the COURAGE
to practice 64 Ways of living nonviolently.
I’ll be posting on Instagram & Facebook with daily REminders throughout the Season for Nonviolence! Join me!
(1) Season for Nonviolence, 64 Ways in 64 Days http://www.agnt.org/64-days