International Peace Day is a remarkable event. It’s the day that the United Nations adopted as the first-ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence, in large part due to the efforts of organisations like Peace One Day. For many of us who lead ordinary lives largely sheltered from global conflict and violence, it can seem as though the pursuit of peace isn’t part of our day to day. Its not that it isn’t relevant (I have yet to meet a single person who does not want a peaceful world) it’s just that it seems removed from the weekly routines.
Peace is a thriving energy
For many of us, peace is used as a synonym for the absence of conflict and it tends to be associated with the great men and women of the last century – Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Mother Teresa. But at Peacebeam we see it differently and we believe that the times we live in are calling all of us to see it differently. Peace is not just the absence of conflict, it is a state of consciousness that creates an alive, dynamic and thriving energy that requires our participation. When shocking events take place, like the terrorist attacks the UK has experienced in 2017, we tune in to our desire for peace and we feel in to what it really means to us. The extraordinary responses to these events, the outpourings of love and compassion are the manifestation of that alive, dynamic energy of peace. Our question today of all days is this: how can we make the energy of peace a way of life, a habit sown into the ordinary routines of our lives?
Small Acts make Big Changes
We think the answer is through small acts. Everyone feels time poor and stretched these days but the good news is that making peace a habit is the least time consuming, most rewarding thing you will ever do…….we change the world in the lives we are living. We know everyone loves a top tips list, so here they are: our top 5 small acts to begin making peace your habit of a lifetime starting on International Peace Day - 21st September 2017.
1. Be an agent of courage
If you know someone who is fearful, worried or anxious about something – say one word to them today that will give them courage. We live in times when fear is manipulated and spread by politicians and the media. Worry and anxiety are considered normal but they are debilitating. Our great danger is that fear perpetuates violence. So, wherever you can make a person - any person - a little less fearful today, you are making a huge difference. Soothing words can lead us straight to our courage and the energy of courage, like peace, is dynamic and alive.
2. Spread a rumour of peace.
Make a promise to yourself today that you will not repeat stories or rumours that spread fear, outrage or anxiety. Peace is calm. At its centre is an alive possibility that is the opposite of the hysteria and fear spread by our media. By passing on fearful stories we spread the soil that violence and indifference grows in. If you feel the urge today, replace it with spreading stories about International Peace Day!
3. Be a Smiler
Did you know that we are hard-wired to smile back at a smiling face? Whenever we smile, we activate a flood of feel good chemicals in our brain: dopamine, endorphin and serotonin relax our minds, our bodies and lowers our heart rate. It is also contagious, we are wired to smile back at a smiling face and so we unconsciously create a symbiotic relationship that allows two ‘smilers’ to release feel good chemicals and so it goes on. Give someone an unexpected smile today and contribute your bit of peace.
4. Look at people’s Faces
It’s easy to feel isolated and disconnected in a city like London. Often, as a self-protection mechanism we block out the frenetic activity by avoiding eye contact and keeping our heads down, earphones in. We totally understand why you might feel like that, but just for today, look into the faces of the people you usually just pass by: the barrista at the coffee shop, the people in the lift, the people at the ticket barriers or on the tube. Acknowledge the people around you in your own quiet way, this is one of the most peaceful things you can do – it creates an atmosphere of belonging, a sense that we all matter.
5. Do one anonymous random act of kindness
This is such an incredibly life affirming practice. Once you start with this, it becomes addictive and creates a rush of feel good hormones that will change how you feel about yourself and the world around you. Doing it anonymously also leaves room for that mysterious energy of love to arise for people – that feeling you get when suddenly the world looks like a kind place. Here are a few suggestions tried and tested for 'feel good' by the Peacebeam Team:
- paying for the coffee for the person behind you in the queue;
- leaving a glowing review for someone who served you;
- emailing management about how great it is to work with a particular colleague;
- sending flowers to someone who is having a hard time;
- standing on the train so that there is an empty seat for someone else.
There are so many possibilities and we would love to here your peace day stories, please send them to us at Smiles@peacebeam.com or tweet us @peacebeam.
Sending you all Peacebeams and our wish for you of unrestricted good today and every day.