Let’s Make 2016 the Year of Peace!

It’s Time for Peace

We are well into our New Year’s resolutions that typically involve losing weight, taking more time for the family, quitting smoking or drinking, getting out of debt or doing something new that we always wanted to do. These are all fantastic resolutions. But, what if we added to that a collective resolution that would change not just us individually, but a resolution that would change the world? I am suggesting that we resolve as a species to make 2016 The Year of Peace. With the world in its current state, it seems time for us to pull together and make this kind of unified declaration.

In the past year alone, the world has seen its share of chaos with terrorist activities, refugees dying on their way to freedom, airplane crashes, earthquakes, droughts and stock market uncertainties. So many of us want to feel safer, more secure and more connected to each other. I believe the majority of us on the planet don’t want war, crime, poverty and separation based on religion, origin or orientation. I believe we want to take our rightful place on the planet which is to be a complete part of a large planet family. I believe that most of us want peace.

By our very nature, the human species is a loving, giving, compassionate species. But, we have been trained away from our natural, healthy and peaceful state. What is created for us with this training is a world that feels lonely, uncertain and downright dangerous. But, we have the power to change this.

Teach Our Children Peace

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the experience of peace. The value of peace has been lost through trained materialism from a young age, television programming and societal structures, to name a few. But, we can help children return to their natural state. In fact, we kind of owe it to them.

How do we teach children peace? A good place to start is to visit the website kidsforpeaceglobal.orgKids for Peace was founded by a mother of two, Jill McManigal and a high school honors student, Danielle Gram. This non-profit organization believes that youth are innately wise. Starting with that as a foundation, children were asked a number of questions about what peace means to them and what they want the world to look like. The children’s answers became the foundation for the Peace Pledge of the organization and solidified the organization’s mission. Today, Kids for Peace has launched over 200 interconnected chapters all over the world. Peace is contagious.

The work of Kids for Peace includes Kindness Challenges, books written to inspire peace, a Peace Day Challenge, Community service opportunities, Parties for Peace that can be set up and even honorary peace heroes that include Ellen DeGeneres, Tony Hawk and Jane Goodall.

Kids for Peace is one way to introduce children to peace, but there are many other ways. We can encourage interaction with nature, set aside creative time (which means turning off the TV and all electronic devices) and help with local charities. Spending time in nature by going to a park or a nature preserve lets kids get close to Mother Nature and explore wildlife at their own pace, guided by their own interests. Nature is healing and provides a peaceful setting for healing to occur.

Setting aside creative time for kids to hand make birthday cards, holiday decorations or just to make whatever their heart desires is also an avenue to peace. Creativity, not structure and rigidity, leads to peace within. When we are really little we tend to be a lot more creative. This is us being peaceful. As we grow up, this is trained out of us and we lose our inner connection with peace that taints our connection with the outside world. It is time to recognize this and help our kids keep that critical connection to peace.

Helping local charities by being part of a food drive or helping at nursing homes can give kids a great sense of peace through the love that is shared through such activities. Peace is an aspect of love and giving to and helping others is part of the expansion that love provides. Getting involved with our local communities is a strong step towards world peace. But, we can go one step further and become good examples of peace, which may just be the most powerful teacher of all.

Be the Peace

The entire planet is elevated in peace when just one person chooses peace. That’s the amazing power of peace. As we wish for a brighter, safer, more unified future for our children, each one of us can take steps to create more peace in our own lives. This trickles down to our children and acts as a reinforcement to what is already natural for all of us.

It was the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh who said, “The first step is to come home to ourselves. You don’t need to become a Buddha. You need to become yourself.” This means we need to find peace within ourselves again. We have lost our way. We focus too much on the outside and not enough on the inside. What does that mean? It means we don’t have any space for peace when we are locked into drama, when we are running from here to there and generally overwhelmed by life. Start by making an appointment in your calendar each day for 15 minutes of peace .¨ and then keep that appointment. Find a quiet place in the house to close your eyes and listen to relaxation music in headphones or go outside for a walk in the park and really look at the trees and flowers.

Let go of anger. A lot of us harbor and regurgitate anger from past experiences as if they are happening right now. Stop bringing up old stories of anger. There is no reason to live such moments more than once. It’s over. If you do this, you will see for yourself how much more peaceful your life is without these stories and the archaic anger from yesterday and yesteryear.

Finally, believe in peace. When I ask people if they believe the world can be a peaceful place, the answer most often given is, “I think it’s possible, but probably not in my lifetime.” It is obvious we have been trained away from peace as a way of the world. But, we can unlearn what we have been taught and remember that peace is near and dear to our hearts.

Peace is possible for the simple fact that it is who we are at our core. Finding ways to reconnect with this natural inner state of being means we can reconnect with that peaceful state which makes it easier to experience it on a regular basis. We have to be open seeing ourselves, others and the world different that we do now. If you look for peace, you will easily find it.

It seems that kids today have an internal compass toward connection, eco-friendly methods of living and peace in the world. We can learn from them, too, even as we do our part to support peace in their lives. It is a synergistic effect when we are all working toward peace.