A Forgiving Walk

I walk for exercise. I walk on a busy street in Ottawa, Bank Street in the Glebe, because the sidewalks are clearer in the winter there than elsewhere.

One of my frustrations is that cars coming out of the side streets often ignore me as a pedestrian and block the crosswalk that is designed for pedestrians who are making their way across the side streets. The drivers are so intent on seeing whether there is car traffic moving back and forth on Bank that they forget or ignore the pedestrian traffic.

I’m good at being righteously indignant. I also have a strong belief that Ottawa, and cities in general, should make it as easy as possible for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users to get around the city. So my fear of the cars coming at me from the cross streets is accompanied by my righteous indignation because these unthinking drivers are making it dangerous for we pedestrians. Both my fear and my indignation lead to ANGER!

A few days ago I was preparing for a coaching session with a client. One of the processes I was preparing to work on with her is the Ho’oponopono Healing process which is a forgiveness process.

Saying this mantra:

I’m Sorry
Please Forgive me
Thank you
I love you

is a way of forgiving myself for my part in the hurt to myself or bad vibes or whatever the negative situation is. That’s all and that’s a lot. In saying these four phrases we are calling in, what I think of, as a healing energy. Others might call it Spirit, The Creator, etc. It is a way of surrendering and admitting that each of us creates our own reality, in small but significant ways.

I surprise myself when I say or write these words because I’m not religious in any conventional way. I do believe that there is much we humans do not understand about the magic of the world. When I consider the immense complexity of the spruce tree growing outside my window for example, I know there is much about my world I can’t explain. I saw it grow from a seed that happened to land there. How could that seed become a tree? We don’t know the answer.

Think of how complex that is.

Just as we don’t know how our sincerely saying:

I’m Sorry
Please Forgive me
Thank you
I love you

helps me let go of hurt and pain when something negative happens to me. We don’t know how calling in the healing energy of Ho’oponopono can heal negative feelings.

Now let me finish my story about my walk. I had been literally shouting at drivers who barged onto the cross walk just as I approached a cross street.

But when I started studying the ho’oponopono process I began to question my aggressive self-righteous behaviour. So the next day on my walk I was much calmer. And only in retrospect I realize that not one car encroached on the cross walks as I approached them and several cars did come to the intersections at the same time as I did. I was not even aware of the difference in the way drivers were acting until the evening of that day when I reflected about this whole episode to my men’s group. It was only then that I realized what a difference my different behaviour/attitude seemed to make.

So, I really benefited from my changed attitude. I really benefited from living the forgiveness or trusting way of Ho’oponopono.

I know each of us can. Much love. Thank you. Please forgive me and I love you!!

Some of What A Woman Needs In Her Man

One of the key things a woman needs in her man is to be able to depend on him to “see” her. This means a man needs to identify, understand and meet his partner’s needs through his actions.

What does this look like?

Well, just now my wife is preparing Christmas dinner. She looked in her store of food and realized she did not have the canned oranges that she needed. They come sectioned and ready to add to a salad.

I noticed that we have a bunch of tangerines and mentioned this. She replied that she did not want to have to peel them. So I offered to peel and section them. It took me only a few minutes. But it lightened her load and, I hope, helped her feel honoured for the work she is doing to prepare a special meal for all of our family.

This is a small example. What are the elements?

1. My wife had a need.
2. I identified the need
3. I offered to do something to help her achieve what was needed.
4. I did what she needed done after asking how she wanted the tangerines peeled.

It’s that simple. And it’s that hard. Often the need is not as obvious as in the example above.

So, what are some needs that we, as husbands and partners can watch for and help resolve?

Here are some:
-A need for a clean and tidy home;
-Care for the children;
-Recognition of the partner’s efforts;
-Financial security;
-Physical security;
-Love and respect communicated in words and deeds;
-To have their feelings heard and acknowledged;

What needs does your partner seem to want you to meet?

If you’re not sure, ASK!

Comments from both men and women are invited!!

Three “Communities” That Could Benefit From Each Other: Creativity, Personal Development and Peace.

Originally posted on This Makes Me Happy!!!:

One of the themes I’ve been working on lately is to cross-fertilize three communities that I feel have a great deal to learn from each other.

They are:  The Creativity Community

The Personal Development/Spirituality Community and

The Conflict Resolution or Peace Community

I use the word “community” in the singular in each case but there are many versions of each of these community categories.

The Creativity Community for me includes:

The Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI)   http://www.cpsiconference.com/   (CPSI) and a whole range of other conferences that seem to all owe their beginnings to CPSI.

CPSI is a conference that has been running for close to 60 years now.  It was started by an advertising executive Alex F. Osborn.  Osborn developed a creative problem solving process using applied imagination and deferment of judgment enabling as many ideas as possible to be expressed (group use of this principle was called Brainstorming). Dr…

View original 329 more words

Peace and Violence in Animals and Humans

In Payback: Why We Retaliate, Redirect Aggression and Take Revenge, authors Barash and Lipton, explore the role of violence in both human and animal societies.  Barash is a professor of psychology and an evolutionary biologist.  Lipton is a psychiatrist who has specialized in the biology of human behaviour.

One thing is clear from reading Payback:  both animals and humans do all three of what the authors call the three R’s: Retaliation, Redirected Aggression and Revenge.  Or, at least, humans do all three.  Animals clearly do retaliate and exhibit redirected aggression.  It’s less clear whether they take revenge.    For humans it is clear that both justice (that is the perpetrator being found guilty and punished) and redirected aggression:

 “re-establish the social status of, as well as the internal balance of, an offended party, diminishing the initial victim’s stress by subordinating someone else.  This may help explain why so many crime victims respond to exculpatory evidence with outrage rather than gratitude that an innocent person has been spared.  It also illuminates why forgiveness is so difficult, despite the ardent recommendations of the world’s greatest ethical and religious leaders.” (p. 19 Barash and Lipton)

Barash and Lipton then go on to site many examples of animals exhibiting retaliation and re-directed aggression. 

 So humans come by their tendency to retaliate, redirect aggression and take revenge from their, that is, our, animal antecedents.  So, to what can we attribute the fact that we mostly control these three tendencies?  I suggest that it is our ability to reason that helps us with this.  Because of our ability to imagine the impact of different behaviours, we have learned to control our initial impulse to retaliate, redirect our aggression or take revenge.  We understand that the three R’s as the authors dub them, can lead to negative consequences that in the long run are worse than acting in a more peaceful, controlled manner. 

And yet, we are hard wired to retaliate, redirect our aggression or take revenge.  That is why there is human on human violence in the world. 

So is the glass half full or half empty?  Should we be pleased that we humans are less violent than we might be, or should we be saddened that we have not used our reasoning ability and our ability to imagine the future more effectively to eliminate all violence? 

 Either way it is interesting to also look at ways that we humans have found to avoid violence.

In their last chapter, titled “Overcoming” the authors briefly describe eleven tools that we humans have invented to overcome our tendency to “pass pain on”. 

 Here’s their list:

 Tool 1: Calls on the person who has been hurt to forgive.  (The Jewish Bedtime Shema)

Tool 2::Love your enemies, refrain from retaliation, don’t pass the pain on.  Forgive. (The Christian Sermon on the Plain)

Tool 3: The Twelve Steps (The Way of AA)

Tool 4 Ghandian Nonviolence

Tool 5: Buddhist Vows

Tool 6: Breathing Meditation

Tool 7a: Original Tit for Tat (The Game Theorist’s Way)

Tool 7b: Generous Tit for Tat

Tool 8: Passing Gain Along (The Economist’s Way)

Tool 9: Psychiatric Responses

Tool 10: Self Protection (Get out of abusive or corrupt relationships)

Tool 11: Forgiveness Protocol

 Finally, the authors offer a Principle for Minimizing Pain

 Here’s their shorter version:

 “When evaluating alternative actions, I will ask myself whether each is likely to increase or decrease the total amount of pain in the world, and I will always choose the latter.” (Page 199 Barash and Lipton).

In order to explore this topic further, I’ve decided to do a full article on each of these tools as I find more material on each.  This topic and these tools have captured my attention!!

If anyone wishes to provide input please feel free to do so.  I’ll be most grateful!!

Reference for this article is:

Payback: Why we Retaliate, Redirect Aggression and Take Revenge, David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton, Oxford University Press, 2011. 

 

 

 

 

What, Exactly, Do We Mean When We Speak About Peace?

As much as I love the idea of peace and know that I am in favour of peace, when asked to explain what I mean by peace I have trouble.

So, I have set myself the task of seeking a way to understand what “peace” means to me in the hope that I’ll be able to explain the concept of peace to others.

Positive and Negative Peace

One of the first distinctions I have discovered is the notion of positive and negative peace.

Negative peace is the lack of violence and war. This can be created through the use of force. Galtung, one of the leading peace scholars, suggests that the use of coercive power by, for example, the U.N. or one or more countries to support or enforce a cessation of violence, are examples of negative peace.

This type of power may be used as a step towards positive peace. But it is not creating positive peace in and of itself.

According to Galtung, positive peace is “the integration of society”. This requires improved understanding between humans, through communication, peace education, dispute resolution, conflict management and arbitration etc.

In an analogy to health: Curative Medicine is equivalent to negative peace and Preventive medicine is analogous to positive peace.

We need to look at the conditions for absence of violence as well as the conditions for positive peace. (Interesting that we don’t have another term for positive peace other than “peace”; while we do have the term “absence of violence” for negative peace.)

So we still have not said what positive peace is.

Positive peace is emancipatory (i.e. positive peace creates freedom).

A Culture of Peace:

1998 UN resolution on the culture of peace:

“A culture of peace is an integral approach to preventing violence and violent conflicts, and an alternative to the culture of war and violence based on:

- education for peace,

- the promotion of sustainable economic and social development,

- respect for human rights,

- equality between women and men,

- democratic participation,

- tolerance,

- the free flow of information and

- disarmament.

My definition of Peace:

Peace exists in a society or community when the members of the society are able to achieve healthy fulfillment in their personal and professional lives in ways that do not interfere with the healthy fulfillment of others in their society or community.

So, what is healthy fulfillment? Hmm…. By healthy fulfillment I mean achievements that add to the physical, emotional, spiritual or intellectual health of the individual and/or the community or society.

Having struggled with these concepts for a while I am coming to the conclusion that positive peace cannot exist without the support of negative peace.

In other words, positive peace exists when trust, cooperation and adherence to a set of norms and behaviours that provide the opportunity for fulfillment have been agreed to by the society and are being respected by members of the society, country or, ideally, the whole world.

But, as far as I know there is no example where these conditions are not protected or enforced by a set of laws and enforcing bodies such as a police force or army to, in effect, enforce these norms.

So, while I and others work to create positive peace in my life and in the world in general. I need to acknowledge that we need some form of force to support the peace we all cherish. With good will and hard work, force will not need to be used. And importantly, when force is used it must be used according to rules agreed to by the society as a whole. If these societally endorsed rules (i.e. laws) are not respected and followed, we get violence.

References:
Johan Galtung Positive and Negative Peace Baljit Singh Grewal Aug. 30 2003

Three “Communities” That Could Benefit From Each Other: Creativity, Personal Development and Peace.

One of the themes I’ve been working on lately is to cross-fertilize three communities that I feel have a great deal to learn from each other.

They are:  The Creativity Community

The Personal Development/Spirituality Community and

The Conflict Resolution or Peace Community

I use the word “community” in the singular in each case but there are many versions of each of these community categories.

The Creativity Community for me includes:

The Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI)   http://www.cpsiconference.com/   (CPSI) and a whole range of other conferences that seem to all owe their beginnings to CPSI.

CPSI is a conference that has been running for close to 60 years now.  It was started by an advertising executive Alex F. Osborn.  Osborn developed a creative problem solving process using applied imagination and deferment of judgment enabling as many ideas as possible to be expressed (group use of this principle was called Brainstorming). Dr. Sidney J. Parnes further refined Osborn’s work, resulting in what is commonly referred to as the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving process (CPS).

A long list of conferences have followed in the footsteps of CPSI.  One of my favourites is Mind Camp that happens north of Toronto every year.  There are many others.  See http://www.conferencealerts.com/creative.htm for a list.

There are also a whole range of companies that specialize in providing services to help organizations increase their creativity.

The Personal Development Community for me includes:

Coaching and counselling practices of many types; personal development organizations like the ManKind Project, http://mankindproject.org/ ; the Inner Journey  http://www.innerjourneycanada.com/ ; The Oneness University; Yoga; Chi Gong and many others.  In fact there is a huge variety of approaches to personal growth and healing.

The Conflict Resolution/Peace Community for me includes:

Mediation; Peace groups of many types, e.g. The Canadian Peace Initiative ; Civilian Peace Service Canada; USAID; many of the offices of the United Nations and so on.

What these three communities:

  •  The Creativity Community
  • The Personal Development/Spirituality Community and
  • The Conflict Resolution or Peace Community

have in common is that to be successful they need to help people develop new perspectives and behaviours.  The growth is related to personal growth as distinct from growth of knowledge.  It’s not book learning we’re speaking about here.  It’s a change in how each person sees the world and his or her relationship to the world.  These are profound changes people need to make.

I see these three communities as being mutually synergistic.

So, I like to challenge myself and those I interact with by asking:

1.  Do you agree that these three “communities” have a lot to offer each other?

2.  If yes, what can you and I do to make use of each others’ knowledge and activities?

If no, are you willing to learn more about one of the other two communities to see if there is a benefit?

 I’m looking forward to your comments…..!