A Season For Nonviolence - Week 3

64 Days, 64 Ways to Practice Nonviolence
You are invited to open your heart during these 64 days of A Season For Nonviolence and actively become part of your community by offering your help and your talent to others. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez all showed us that one person can make a tremendous difference in the world. The time is now, and we are the people.

We learn to practice nonviolence one step at a time, one choice at a time, one day at a time. This is how each of us, in our own way, move the world in the direction of peace. If it was up to me, there would be 365 days a year dedicated to A Season For Nonviolence.

~~~ WEEK 3 ~~~

DAY 15 Feb. 13: The practice for today is REVERENCE. Reverence for all life is fundamental to Ahimsa; it is the ultimate rationale for nonviolence - for how can one willingly do harm to that for which one has reverence - and towards which one has the love that reverence engenders?
"In the main, reverence for life dictates the same sort of behavior as the ethical principle of love. But reverence for life contains within itself the rationale of the commandment to love, and it calls for compassion for all creature life." -Albert Schweitzer
"Reverence is a virtue that prepares us well to belong to one another; it reaches out to those who have given messages of not wishing to belong. When we approach others with gentle reverence, we bring gifts and share theirs with us." -Paula Ripple
Today: I open myself up to a feeling of reverence for all forms of life, especially each and every person that I meet during the day. I'll take a walk outside and experience the beauty that surrounds me as I BE with the sky, the plants and animals, as well as my brothers and sisters.

DAY 16 Feb. 14: The practice for today is GRATITUDE. On her show, Oprah Winfrey frequently promotes the daily practice of gratitude. Expressing gratitude to others and to ourselves has a direct affect on our mental and physical attitude. People who express gratitude suffer less stress, are more optimistic and in general are happier than those who do not.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." -Melody Beattie
Today: I will list five things for which I am grateful for and share these good things with another, then reflect on who and what made those experiences possible. I will write a "thank-you" note to someone who would least expect me to thank them. I'll journal about my feelings with regard to this.

DAY 17 Feb. 15: The practice for today is INTEGRITY. "Do the Right Thing!" Spike Lee used these words as a title for one of his movies. When faced with a choice, listen to your conscience, and be willing to act accordingly, no matter what others may say. You know what is right to do; you can choose to do it.
Integrity asks for firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values and denies any form of corruption. Integrity is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. And when I am in harmony, I am a model of nonviolence. This applies not only to human interactions, but also to those with the plants and animals, with the entire earth.
Today: When faced with a choice today, I listen to my conscience. I'll recall, then write a short story about a time when I listened to my heart when the people around me were doing something else.

DAY 18 Feb. 16: The thought for today is FREEDOM. Nelson Mandela said "To be free is to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." Personal freedom means we are no longer dependent on how others act towards us. The person who practices this freedom is a model for nonviolent conflict resolution. By loving people who oppose or disagree with us and responding with compassionate communication helps bring us closer to peace and healing to the world.
Our native state is freedom. What we want most is to be free of all the thought and actions that keep us from living in peace with ourselves, with others, and with the environment. This desire for freedom is at the core of our being.
Today: I will reflect on areas of my life where I express my freedom, acknowledge those areas where I do not feel free and make a plan for resolving this conflict.

DAY 19 Feb. 17: The practice for today is ACCEPTANCE. "Resentment, fear, criticism and guilt cause more problems than anything else" says author Louise Hay. By choosing not to judge myself and see myself as unique, loving, capable and bright, and by accepting myself just as I am, I will be modeling nonviolence. Any time I can take down the walls of defense, I open myself up to a nonviolent way of living.
"Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such."
-Henry Miller
Today: As I reflect on what is difficult for me to accept - in myself, in other people, and in the state of the world - I'll let go of any resistance or judgment, and allow myself to accept and acknowledge whatever I have been resisting.

DAY 20 Feb. 18: The practice for today is SELF-FORGIVENESS. When I judge myself, I tend to believe that who I am is what I have done or not done, what I have or do not have. I know that who I am is greater than all these things. I am greater than any mistake I have ever made. When we get even the slightest glimpse of the unity of life, we realize that sitting in judgment of other people and countries and races, I'm training my mind to sit in judgment of myself. As I forgive others, I am teaching the mind to respond with forgiveness everywhere, even to the misdeeds and mistakes of my own past. Practicing self-forgiveness is a foundation for practicing nonviolence.
Today: I will write an apology letter to myself for anything I have done to myself that I wish I had not, or ways that I have disappointed myself and not fully lived up to my potential. I'll mail the letter to myself and when it arrives, I will read it in a quiet place.

Day 21 Feb. 19: The practice for today is INSPIRATION. There are many people who inspire us. Take a moment to reflect upon who inspires you and what characteristics you most admire in them. See the potential that is also within you and choose to cultivate these characteristics in your daily life. And as we live a nonviolent life, we too will inspire others to follow our model, because human nature responds to such an example.
"Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life BE Revelation." -Eileen Caddy
Today: As I think of at least two people who exemplify the practice of nonviolence, I'll acknowledge what it is I admire about them, what inspires me about them. I'll practice these behaviors today so that other people may be inspired and I'll share this insight with at least three other people.

These daily practices are brought to you by Peace and Justice Center Arlington www.ArlingtonPeace.org

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