Recording your attempts at "Being Peace"
I was just looking at the Peace Racket article and responses and thinking about the proposed differences between (individual) freedom and peace. It is so interesting that here at Notre Dame, where we as an institution try to promote and advertise our allegiance to "God, Country, Notre Dame" and make a big deal that we are working on social justice, environmental, peace initiatives (which all seem to be pretty in line with the ideal of a free, Western, academic institution), individual students have some huge restrictions on their individual freedoms. I am not trying to draw any connection between the Peace Racket discussion and the status of justice and freedom on our campus; it just popped into my head. My peace blog action, then, is to join with a friend in order to get a student movement going on campus that will work for fewer restrictions on student activities. Currently, the content of all events, posters, petitions, flyers, etc. produced by students and student groups is subject to approval by the Student Activities Office. This approval is not at all guaranteed. Public prayer services can be considered protests, and protests are not allowed when they might interfere with normal university functioning (isn't that largely what a protest is?). We have met with leaders of some student organizations that have had trouble with Student Activities Office, whether they have spending weeks getting fundraising methods approved, haven't been able to plan events of the content they choose, or feel they should not be required to take a University representative (read: chaperone) on out-of-state trips. Are students not representatives of the university?We students put together a set of proposals, to be presented to student government and faculty organizations for approval, for changes in the University policy regarding students and student groups. They include but are not limited to a reduction in the amount of approval required of administration branches for petitions, posters, and demonstrations. Essentially, we suggest the university trust its own students (and the faculty advisors to student groups it has hired and approved) with decisions regarding the content of events.Look for more on this subject!
This past week was an emotional rollercoaster for me. Many things that were hidden from me about the breaking up of two past relationships (a friendship and more-than-friendship), and this was recognized in the latter part of the week. Things were uncovered that blew my prior conceptions out of the water, and an emotional breakdown pretty much ensued. From this situation came the realization that no matter how peaceful a person you try to be, there will always be the counterproductive actions of other people to challenge your lifestyle. You cannot always expect your squeaky-clean values and morals to deter other people from taking advantage of you via deceit and withholding the truth. I have learned that forgiveness can never come too quickly (you should forgive openly and peacefully); however, the invitation of those who hurt you most back into your life is a tough call. When is enough enough?Without getting into the dirty details of my situation, I will give the basics: a (ex-)best friend and (ex)boyfriend were both unfaithful to me over the summer--I falsely conceived that it was a one-time thing (maybe it was my selective hearing and beliefs, or my tendency to assume the best of people). Separation from these two individuals is out of the question--I see both of them every day due to extracurricular activities. My inability to recognize the severity of the situation was definitely not a fault of my own, and I forgave both people and let them back into my life before everything came crashing down last week. After the breakthrough, though, I promised myself I would not associate with either of them unless the situation called for some type of interaction (I don't want other people to find out about the situation because their reputations would be ruined, and it would create further agitation among people of my extracurricular group). Both knew that I had been told their secret (the guy finally fessed up when I asked him on a whim), and were conceivably stand-offish because of it. I fought the urge to give him a piece of my mind (in private of course), explaining how much what they did hurt me, and how their initial fessing up to the truth wasn't genuine because they still did not share the bulk of the story. I was (and still am) so ready to give them my two cents about the situation, but instead, I chose to respond with a sign of peace. The guy has spoken to me about the situation, but I have yet to talk to the girl about it (though we both know what happened, she has not approached me and I'm not going to approach her). Long story short, I fought the urge to lash out and yell at the guy for all that had happened--when I finally saw him in person, I was completely speechless. I walked over to him and hugged him. Tight. I think that said a lot more than any words could have, especially because my anger and feeling of being used almost guaranteed a screaming frenzy. I forgive what they did, but at the same time I made the peaceful choice to distance myself from both of them. If the girl ever approaches me about the situation, I will give the same reaction. Actions speak louder than words, and silence often says more than a verbal response. Although it was a next-to-impossible task, my sign of peace showed my forgiveness, but my silence reflected my internal promise to myself that association with these people was probably not the best thing for either of us right now.
Yesterday I decided to "be peace" (in light of last week's theme of "Gender and Peace") by becoming a FIRE Starter, a.k.a. Peer Educator for the Gender Relations Center. The Mission of the GRC is "to create a healtheir climate for women and men at the University of Notre Dame. Committed to the emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social development of all students, the GRC is a place where men and women can engage in respectful dialogue and explore issues of identity, relationships and equality." FIRE Starters are charged with carrying out this mission and encouraging important dialogue on campus about many issues, ranging from "Notre Dating" to sexual violence to heterosexism and homophobia. I had training all day yesterday and am so riled up and inspired to work for an improvement in gender relations and a better culture/climate in regards to acceptance of diversity at Notre Dame. Communication and active dialogue is an essential, and perhaps too often underrated, part of not only peacemaking but also peacebuilding, which is what I am aiming for with my life. This is a little way to help work for change at Notre Dame and will hopefully provide me with some peacebuilding skills for the future. If anyone wants to know more about the GRC and what we do, let me know! And oh, this is our great motto: "YOUR PARENTS TOLD YOU NOT TO PLAY WITH FIRE. WE THINK OTHERWISE."
Alright, well the whole idea of not getting angry for a week…a little tough for me. So I decided to not get angry for a day, and in particular to not get angry at a certain person. I have this friend who doesn’t seem to understand appropriateness in certain situations. She tends to say weird things at the wrong time, and often she will say things in front of other people that really make me mad. It’s not that she intentionally tries to do these things, but she just doesn’t understand that she’s doing anything wrong! I’ve talked to her about some of these things before, but she just doesn’t seem to get it. So I’ve accepted that this is just how she is...but it still makes me really mad sometimes. So, yesterday I decided that I wasn’t going to get mad at her ALL day. This was a very hard goal, but I did make it the whole day. I spent most of the day with her (she’s my roommate) and we actually had a really nice time. I think we got along very well, once I was able to get past the petty things. I’m going to try to stick on this path with her….I’ll keep you posted.
Well now that it is extremely awkward that my name was introduced as the only nickname that Professor Myers did not know I must be especially careful to not give away my identity and have everyone know that I am the slacker that made up a new nickname without knowing it.And as I have mentioned numerous times I am horrible about writing about my peace entries on time, so this is my blog for last week.Last week I worked on two special projects, both dealing with two organizations in need of help. After working on the two projects, I realized how little time they actually took. One of the projects I was actually just helping a friend who had put together a drive and it was actually very successful. My efforts were minimal but I think pertinent. For the other project, I had to devote a bit more time because I was partially in charge of it, but in the end I spend more time in the dining hall on any 2 given days. Now looking back I see how little time and effort I had to put into these things and how much impact they had. The totals from each project were high and the organizations that received the help were SO grateful. I had no idea that something that seemed so trivial to me could have such a positive impact on other people. It was nice to see that I could help and it has motivated me to save a bit more of my time to good causes instead of constantly making excuses about how busy I am (even though I am very busy, lol). Either way I felt really good afterwards... but also kind of bad. Activities such as those bring me back to reality, to a place where I realize that I have it so good in comparison to others. It really makes me appreciate what I have and also how much I have to give.
Recently, I did something peaceful that I have not done since I was in high school; I went on a retreat. However, this retreat was a little different than my high school retreats. It was the ND Sophomore Road Trip, and unlike high school, prior to going on the retreat, I only knew a few people. I also had no idea where we were going or what I should expect out of this weekend. When I left for the retreat, I was excited, but somewhat nervous. Also, I was leaving behind all of the lovely work that comes with sophomore year, and I was afraid that I would not be able to do it all on the Sunday that I came back. However, when I was on the retreat, I felt more peaceful than I have in a long time. It was almost like a sort of utopia, a time away from the real world. During this time I was able to put my worries about school aside because I literally could not do any schoolwork because I did not have anything with me. I had the chance to just go to a beautiful place and meet wonderful new people, who made me think about my life and how I want to live it. I was able to just kick back and enjoy life rather than being overwhelmed and stressed. The retreat gave me a chance to be at peace with myself and made me slow down instead of always being on the go. Although when I got back from the retreat, I'll admit I had a miny panic attack because of all of the work I had waiting for me, I realized that that weekend was something that I really needed. This year has been much different for me than last year. The "don't have to worry about my major" phase of being a freshman is over, and I have been overly stressed trying to decide what I want to do in my next three years of college. By going on the retreat, I was finally able to put my mind and body at rest, and in a way, be completely at peace. Even though I know that I can't just keep going on retreats every time I need a break, the retreat helped me to realize that I need to make time for the things that I really need in life. You can't always be on the go, you need some time to just be at peace with yourself, to take a break from work and enjoy life. I hope that after this experience, I will become better at incorporating these principles into my everyday life; after all, I think every college student could use a little more peace time.
This is my first post on here, so bear with me... I was just thinking about our upcoming game with Boston College, and I remembered my behavior during the last game I was present at (Purdue). I was actually quite patient and tolerant at the constantly jeering Purdue fans which surrounded my group, especially a group of annoying girls behind us who kept finding ways to irritate some of the people in our group by making fun of their clothes, hair, etc. Quite an immature act, I may add, for self-proclaimed Seniors at an advanced educational institution. So at one point, after we stood to cheer a good drive by our boys, the "girls" threw popcorn on the bench and smashed it on purpose where one of the girls from our group was sitting. Therefore, she could no longer sit down, and they kept making smart comments like, "will you sit down please? Oh yeah, haha, you can't!" So at this point (halfway through the 4th quarter), I had about enough and I engaged in a profanity-laced tirade that made their entire group (composed of both males and females) shut up and actually watch the rest of the game from a different place.Some may cheer this act, but in the end, I felt a bit bad because I let my anger get the best of me, and profanity only made my argument weaker, rather than dealing with the problem as a responsible adult and showing the class and respect that we as human beings deserve to treat each other with (even though they arguably voided themselves of any such consideration after about the first hour, but being a peace-oriented person, and partly because of this blog and class in general, they're human beings too, so I can't forget about that). So a promise I have made to myself for this game is that though we'll be at home, I will not use a single word of profanity, but will still yell at the top of my lungs as usual, just not profanities or negative statements questioning the abilities of our coaching staff or the opposing players). We'll see how that goes..
I was kind of saving this peace blog for the Week 7 Post, but since it hasn't gone up yet, I'll put this up on here anyway because if I wait too long, my blog will become outdated and possibly irrelevant. So here it goes.I’m sure that many of you, seeing as how this is a Peace Studies class, attended the Notre Dame Forum on Monday, so this may be preaching to the choir, but I just need to vent a little. Anyhow, I did attend the Forum (and ended up taking several pages of notes), and while for the most part, I found the speakers to be well informed and eloquent, I was quite disappointed, to say the least, with the viewpoint which the mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Louis J. Barletta, espoused. In my opinion, he was narrow-minded and to some extent, racist. For those of you who did not attend, Barletta has recently supported a piece of legislation which in effect excludes illegal immigrants from civic life and penalizes those who aid them. “Under his direction, the Hazleton City Council passed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, which imposes harsh fines on landlords renting to undocumented immigrants, revokes the business licenses of employers who hire these immigrants, declares English to be the official language of Hazleton, and restricts translation of official documents into other languages.”The irony is that it is affectionately called a “relief” act, but in actuality, it provides the exact opposite of relief to the illegal immigrants of Hazleton, who comprise 10% of the city’s population. Basically, the stance that Barletta takes is that illegal immigrants are criminals and a drain on the city’s budget, pilfering from the pockets of the “legal, hard-working taxpayers” when they make use of government services, such as education and emergency medical care, which they have not earned. He claims that many “faceless people,” citizens and legal immigrants alike, have lost countless jobs to the droves of illegal immigrants that have trespassed American borders. He also reiterated time and again that his new city ordinance protects the legal residents of his town, whom he claims have become the victims of crimes by illegal immigrants. He mentioned several times how two illegal immigrants in his town shot a 29-year-old man “right between the eyes.” He also mentioned how a construction worker in California lost his job to an illegal immigrant and then lost his sister-in-law to an illegal immigrant’s reckless driving. This implicit claim that illegal immigrants are criminals, and therefore should not be allowed to reside in the U.S. is what really upset me because not once did he mention any statistics on crimes by illegal immigrants versus those by legal residents and/or citizens. There are criminals within every group of people, whether they be legal, illegal, white, black, Hispanic, Christian, Muslim, whatever. Picking out a few cases where illegal immigrants have committed crimes does not in any way justify his tacit claims that all, or at least many, illegal immigrants are criminals. Furthermore, it seems counterintuitive to me that illegal immigrants, who have taken such great pains to come here, would be stupid enough to commit crimes and thus risk expediting their deportation. If anything, most illegal immigrants would try to lay low and be, with the exception of their illegal status, law-abiding residents so as to avoid being caught and sent back home. I also found Barletta to be self-contradictory because after repeatedly pointing out how much of a drain illegal immigrants are on the economy, he asserts that his position is not economically-driven, but based on an adherence to the “rule of law.” Well, I hate to break it to him, but the law isn’t working so well, and last time I checked, blindly adhering to something that doesn’t work and can’t be adequately enforced was never a wise move. The irony of it all is that the city was sued shortly after the ordinance was passed with a demand of $2.4 million, more than enough to bankrupt the city. So what was intended to ease the strain of illegal immigrants on the economy (as well as promote the health and well-being of the city’s legal residents) has ended up threatening the very solvency of the city itself, and until the lawsuit is settled, a restraining order has been placed on the immigration ordinance, preventing it from being enforced. Personally, I think Barletta needs to go back to the drawing board on this issue, and this time, he should bring more than just his pocketbook and biased views.
With an Organic Chemistry test and a Genetics test all wrapped up in one week, it can be difficult to find a minute of peace edgewise between studying, studying, and more studying (and MAYBE grabbing something to eat . . . if there’s enough time).So this week, in order to create a little more peace in my own life, I followed my friend’s advice and went with her to a weekly guided mediation night. The group meets everyday at 11:00 p.m., in Keenan chapel (except Wednesday, when they meet in Farley chapel). I went in a little skeptical, only because I’ve done guided mediation before, and all I’ve gotten out of it has been a really deep headache from hyperventilation. The group leader started the meditation with a reading from his prayer book, and proceeded to explain that the group was very open, and suggested a few ways of meditating. The suggestion I most identified with turned was a kind of Buddhist mediation; imagine trying to look at your reflection in a lake, but because of a strong wind, all of these ripples are in the way. The goal of mediation in this case is to calm the ripples and allow yourself to see your true reflection. He also described a Christian mediation, in which you envision yourself standing on one side of a river, and a specific word on at the other side of the river. Every once in awhile, however, ships sail through the river and distract your attention away from the word; mediation allows you to set aside time for yourself to focus on the word, and learn to ignore the ships, no matter how pretty their sails may be.We spent 15 minutes in silent mediation, sitting in a circle in the chapel. Then we practiced some breathing techniques, and ended the night sitting on the floor in a circle, reciting the traditional “ahom” sound you picture monks doing in a remote Buddhist temple, somewhere in northern Tibet. It was really weird – at first, I really wanted to laugh. But even though I was so uncomfortable at first, I learned to relax, and after awhile I started to get really into it. I felt connected to everyone in the circle – and what was even weirder was that we all stopped chanting at the same time! Afterwards, my friend, her boyfriend, and I all went down to the grotto together, and prayed and lit candles. It was really nice to set aside this time for myself, an hour where I wasn’t thinking about school, or things I have to do, or papers I have to write, especially during this stressful week.
I found out on Thursday that a family friend passed away last Sunday. He was 23. He was driving back to school in early morning fog and skidded off the road. I think that I was shocked about how emotional I felt upon hearing the news. I mean, I went to school with Dom but we were not close friends. He played soccer with my brother. I was in class with his younger brother. And now he is gone. It's crazy how things happen.I was sad for him and for his family. His mom is such an amazing person, and his death crushed her. My mom told me that his brothers could hardly stand to be in the same room as him during the viewing. It was horrible.I really wish that I could have been home to go to the viewing and the funeral, to lend my support and condolences to Dom's family. Instead, the only thing I thought would help was going to the Grotto to light a candle for a life cut short. I hope it brought peace to Dom and his family.
This doesn't have anything to do with the topic of gender and peace, but oh well. I was at a party this weekend visiting a friend who'd come in from BC. Someone said that people were fighting outside, so my friend and I went outside. One guy was really mad (about what... I don't know) and his friend was holding him against the fence. I didn't really know what to do at first because meddling can just exacerbate the fight sometimes. Then some other guy went over to the kid and said "go ahead, punch me in the face" and got the kid all mad again. His friend calmed him down again and talked him into leaving, but the guy couldn't find his sandal. I saw this is an opportunity to help out. So I walked up and asked the guy if he knew where he last had his sandal. He took offense to this I think, and his friend gave me the "butt out" look, so I walked away. But then I heard the guy keep saying to his friend "no! I want to talk to her, bring her back." I ignored him because I didn't want to make the situation worse, but then his friend walked up and asked me if I was ok with talking to his friend. I said of course. The angry guy wanted to tell me that the problem was that "Notre Dame kids all think that they are better than everyone else. It doesn't matter who it is, IU, BC, whoever." I said to him, "Don't let it get to you, just blow it off. They are just being jerks." This put him at ease a bit and he calmed down. We talked for a little bit, but he still would get fired up again randomly. I remained calm (which was easy since I wasn't invested in the conflict at all) and tried to make sure that whatever I said didn't sound condescending. I didn't put up with everything he said, though, because at one point he verbally attacked me. I said he was in no place to judge me, that he didn't know me and that I was just trying to help him. His friend backed me up, and he calmed down again. Ultimately, his friend and i were able to calm him down and I think he agreed to leave the party. This experience highlighted a few things for me. First of all I think it is really important when mediating to make sure you don't act condescendingly. It's hard at times (especially when you're talking to someone who had about 10 too many beers), but no one is going to pay attention to you if you act like you're better than them. Although this guy was out of control, he was being antagonized by verbal insults from other guys, as well as others' attitudes. I think the attitudes we have towards other people are really important because attitudes can be a major source of conflict. Lastly, I realized that outside mediators can be effective. It was a good experience to be in this role, even if it was tricky to maneuver. I think I was able to help calm this kid down because I came in and respected him, and I didn't know or even care what the fight was about, so I could be impartial. I think that is what mediators are good at doing, so it was nice to experience that.
The other day I was driving around Mishawaka with a few Freshmen from my dorm when we began talking about our classes. Needless to say, we all had classes we enjoyed and other that we did not. While one of the guys in the car was talking about a class he didn't particularly care for, he referred to one of his professors (a woman) as a diehard feminist. And as is too often the case in the company of men, this comment seemed aimed at undermining the professor's credibility.But in light of last Thursday's class discussion, I spoke up (whereas I likely would not have before) to clarify their connotations of feminism. When reduced to the stereotypes, feminism gets a bad wrap when, in reality, it's focus is really on equality. This prompted a discussion about the differences between 'man-hating' feminism and 'constructive' feminism. But in light of the class on Gender and Peace that opened my mind, I tried to pass on the favor to the younger guys I know and live with.
Would most people consider making a commitment to go to the Grotto for one week and say a short prayer about anything peace related to be one that is difficult? I didn’t think so, but as it turns out, it is quite hard to do. I began my commitment to go to the Grotto last Saturday, the day of the UCLA game, and would continue to try and go to the Grotto at least once a day for the next week and say a prayer. Well, that night it was rather easy to go to the Grotto because my boyfriend was going to go and he reminded me about my promise to go for a week and so I tagged along to the Grotto. After that, I proceeded to miss my Sunday visit because of homework and when I remembered, it was rather late and I could bring myself to go outside to the Grotto. For the next week I was able to successfully go to the Grotto, but more because it was close to my classes and such. In short, I was able to go because it was convenient to do so. Yet, I cannot get over that I missed that one day because I was lazy and didn’t want to put in the effort required to do and keep my commitment. I suppose that I can turn that experience into a learning experience. I suppose that when it comes to being peaceful in the world toady, most people are supportive of the idea but when it comes to acting on that belief and possibly having to make some sort of sacrifice, people are not as inclined to do something towards bringing about peace. I guess this could be the reason why today we are no closer to worldwide peace because humanity as a whole isn’t willing to sacrifice what we all know is necessary for brining about peace. We don’t want to sacrifice our rich lifestyles and conveniences or money. We all know that if we give to the poor, we will be doing a great deal of help and yet we still don’t do it. The rich live in the lap of luxury while the poor suffer in despair. So, I suppose the lesson or moral or what have you of this: Do not be afraid or lazy when it comes to sacrificing something in order to bring yourself and the world close to peace.
Today I met with some friends to do something I "shouldn't have done" the week before midterms. We met our friends at the Catholic Worker in town and -- you guessed it -- wrote poetry. We read a passage from the Old Testament, sat silently for an hour to meditate and write (three haikus), and shared our work. It didn't have much to do with gender, except there were both masculine and feminine people there... The theme of the poetry writing group was "silence," especially finding God in silence. I have heard a priest on campus say that the biggest challenge to our generation is our lack of silence. We never have extra time, and it's all about the past or the future moments. So we took an hour-plus out of our weekends and accomplished little in the way of academics. I was really glad to have taken this time aside. It is so easy to get caught up in homework and running around to meetings and meals around here; sometimes the weeks escape and I feel like I haven't even really been there, like I'm selling out to the boxes others have set out for me to climb into. But it's moments like today, when I'm able to be truly quiet, to think, to create, to be with friends, that I feel centered and ready to continue with the other things in life I find important. More importantly, time like this is when I can realize the things that I'm really good at and really love to do so that the work I do during the "normal" days will be more focused and guided.Oh, and here's my poem if you're interested. Keep in mind, the topic is "finding God in silence."waves of atoms float,finding eardrums or orange leaves,sometimes unnoticed. quiet steel hammerpulls thorns out, fastens the pieces.so long, entropy!no more steady chimeheard counting down existence.breathe crisp truth, and go.
Peace blog for Week 7:This Thursday was the last day for the tutoring program I have been doing for the past month. Along with six other Notre Dame students, I have been teaching Spanish at the South Bend Juvenile Justice Center. The JJC is a correctional facility for teenagers under the age of eighteen that have gotten in fairly serious trouble. We were assigned to one group of boys, and for a month, we have been teaching them Spanish. The director has been doing this program for four years, and it is always a great success. Every year, the students look forward to the class and by the end of the program, they are very disappointed that it is over. I was so excited about their enthusiasm, and they really retained the things we taught them. I have always known that people who commit crimes are not necessarily “bad” people. Through this experience, this idea has really been reinforced. The overwhelming majority of the pod was really awesome. For some of the boys, life at the JJC is better than their lives at home. The situation that many of the boys come from is so awful that they have no support or opportunities in their lives. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be in some of the circumstances the boys have experienced. I know that my family is the primary motivation in my life, and without them, I don’t know where I would be in life. I believe that education and support can drastically turn the boys’ lives around. The boys were happy simply to talk with us. Our last night at the JJC, we all cooked a big dinner. This was an opportunity to talk to them and ask them questions. They seemed surprised that we just wanted to converse with them and learn about their interests. After a while, they were excited to talk about anything and tell us about themselves. They couldn’t believe that we wanted to spend six hours a week teaching them Spanish for no other reason than to spend time with them and help them learn. This experience has not only made me truly appreciate everything I have in life, but showed me that giving back to the community really does make a difference. I have been tutoring for many years, and I think it really can make a difference in someone’s life. I think this experience shows that small acts really can make a big difference. Doing something peaceful everyday or every week can lead to change. It is important to take the time and listen to people. Just hearing what someone has to say, and being there for your friends and family really can make all the difference in the world. In discussing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights last week, I realized that people in our own country and the surrounding community do not necessarily have all these rights in the sense that they do not have equal opportunities to succeed based on their family life. By getting involved with the community and promoting education, I really think we can make some positive changes.
In my psychology class we are learning the mechanisms that lead to speech development. First we develop phonemes, basic sounds, then single syllables, enter the two word stage, and progress from there until we have learned a complex language with grammar, syntax, and diction. Language is, to many, what defines us a humans, for we alone have the capacity for abstract thought. Yet somehow this unique talent is bittersweet; language is a physical dividing line creating the us and them attitudes. In an effort to bridge the language barrier, I Googled “peace” in every language. Next, I made note cards and wrote peace in a new language on each. Including the word for peace and the language it was written in I taped these to each door in my section to see the reaction.I soon overheard curious conversation. Many people were confused as to why there were there and in an attempt to find the meaning looked at the other translations satisfied when the arrived at the more known pax (Spanish). However, no one has tried to figure out just how the sign came to be on their door, no one has made the connection between the fact that the English translation is on my door and matched my handwriting. It seems that curiosity only draws them to the surface meaning, what exactly the sign translates to but they are not interested in the deeper meaning of the word. Interestingly enough one girl reacted violently saying “What is the s---? Get it off my f------ door!” She then ripped the note card of, crumpled it up and threw it in the trash. On a much smaller scale, this language experiment reflects many reactions to the world’s larger attitude about peace. There are few people I know who would say that they do not support peace, and the few who do react vehemently to conversations about peace just as the one girl ripped down her sign. However, for the majority of us we support peace, we may donate to a peaceful cause every once and a while showing our surface interest and curiosity. Yet very few of us go beyond that and try to actively understand or promote peace.
Last week I was speaking on the phone with my mom, chatting about my little brother’s homecoming date and soccer practice. She was retelling me the story of the final few minutes in which the opposing team’s coach exploded in anger at the referee cussing and swearing up a storm. He was promptly ejected from the game and banned from the next. Both sides agreed that his anger was justified as the referee had called an incorrect foul, however his behavior disgusted everyone on the field. This is only one story among many similar, of anger expressing itself through fiery language. As such, I decided that I would clean up my mouth and for one week I would avoid angry words and not swear. My week long-swearing fast ended on Saturday and I was particularly amazed at how easily I slip into foul language when around certain people. When in once setting using words such as silly or foolish boy were more accepted. It is interesting to see just how much our peers and environment influence us. Indeed, if they have such influence over things like language color, it is difficult to estimate the impact on actions inviting anger. On the other hand, is this influence solely found with negative behavior? Or can we as peers inspire peace and benevolence in others with our words and actions?
This Week was very interesting; I went away for the weekend to Chicago. One of my oldest family friends migrated to the states last year and now lives in Chicago. I was really excited about the trip as I have not seen them in almost a year. The weekend was awesome, we went out to a few restaurants, did a little shopping, and other than that just spent some good old quality time together. Chicago’s diversity is very comforting to me, which ever background you come from you are sure to find others from home around, and it really gives you a taste of home. I arrived back to the bend last night a bit tired and having a lot of work to get done. While I was doing my homework my phone rang, it was my aunt, and I answered and told her about my weekend. She was a bit silent and then told me that they had had a slight falling out, I was a little upset because she was throwing comments like, "so whose side are you on anyways?" arrrgggg I hate when people do that, you have nothing to do with a small feud that will soon be over anyways, and then you are suppose to choose sides!! I brushed it off which made her even more angry, we said goodbye and I was upset. After wasting more of my homework time being upset, I took a deep breath and brushed it off, I came to the conclusion that its okay to not take sides and not get in the middle of an argument when two people you care about are fighting, they need to sort it out themselves and the more people who throw themselves into the argument the more it will inflame. I have decided to take a step back and allow them to sort through it themselves.island girl
One of my good friends from home loves to pass on the chain emails that send words of wisdom about boys, family, friends, and life. Many times I delete these messages before I can reach the inevitable if you do not send this to 25 people in the next 10 minutes you will live a cursed and loveless life warning. However, yesterday I opened a particularly heartfelt foreword message; it contained words of wisdom such as “it takes 40 more muscles to frown than to smile” and “never frown, even when you are sad because you never know who will be falling in love with your smile.” Although I have heard these words of guidance many times before with this peace blog in my mind they had a particularly resounding affect. As an amendment to my no swearing pact, I decided to spend one whole day, 24 hours, without frowning or complaining. It seemed like such a simple task but within minutes of my decision I realized that unceasing smiling was more challenging than I anticipated. Within the past 24 hours, I have smiled through studying for my organic chemistry and genetics tests-grinning at 3, 7-Dimethyl-1,3,6-octatriene and pericentric inversions of heterozygote chromosomes both particularly difficult. I naively predicted that these would be the most difficult things to grin through. In the last 24 hours, three of my close friends have broken down in tears. For her own reason, each chose yesterday at a time to cope and clung to me for support. Smiling at the tears, smiling at the foolish drama with boys, and smiling at the antics of sisters and grandfathers, I did my best to bring peace to their world. Yet, early this morning I found out that my brother preformed CPR on his fiancée’s father and that despite his and the EMT’s efforts he died in the hospital. I cracked. My last smile flickered and fell from my face as I spoke to my brother on the phone. It is astonishing that life can move so quickly, that one day can be so full of sorrow. We need more smiles.
When I was listening to people talking about the kiva website in class yesterday I decided to check it out and try it. I wanted to do this because it is something that I don't usually gravitate towards. Generally, I am a big supporter of state sponsored programs and big humanitarian organizations rather than individualized action of this sort. But I decided that I should branch out and try and help people in a more direct and personalized way. Additionally, my fairly conservative boyfriend is all about "helping others to help themselves." So in the spirit of his conservativness I gave somebody a loan on kiva.After about an hour of reading profiles (hey, it was pretty addicting) I finally sponsored a couple from pakistan that sell vegetables for a living. It was really cool to be able to see a picture of the people you are helping out. I also really like that you get updates about how their business is doing. Anyway, I really enjoyed using this site and I have a feeling that I will be using it more in the future. (A side note: I was talking up the website so much to mmy bf that he went on and sponsored someone too!)
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