Dear GCC and Community,
I am writing this letter a day after the most recent shooting in Newtown, CT. Twenty young children were killed, six adults. How can we make sense of this, especially in light of this time of year? My heart goes out to all those directly involved and as a parent, I am especially aggrieved by this event and do not want to imagine the unimaginable: the loss of your child. My thoughts move me to believe we must look beyond this young man’s emotional issues, or the family dynamics, to our wider culture. In many ways, we sanction killing and violence: through the death penalty, through sanctioning war, by arming our police and security with guns for protection. Killing is legal in these cases. Our media displays violence towards one another as a common and accepted way to resolve problems. It is time to take a look at the culture we have created and make some fundamental changes.
I am grateful to be working towards creating a more sustainable future; a future that nurtures compassion, empathy and creativity. This semester has given me an awesome group of students! They are engaged in learning to heal those individuals and groups who are harmed/traumatized/marginalized and to heal Mother Earth. They understand the interconnectedness of all of the issues that we struggle with. To that end, I’m sharing with you a poem we created in the Introduction to Peace Studies class; a poem prompted by the question: Since we can create the future, what does a future of peace, security and prosperity look like? Here is the poem:
In a peaceful world you will feel the heartbeats of the other 7 billion people who live with you.
We all have the same goal,
A presence, rather than an absence.
A world of peace is a world of neighbors, friends, allies.
We envision a place where ego takes a back seat.
A place where all of our energy comes from renewable sources, where the forests have been restored, where soils are healthy and not contaminated.
We borrow from Mother Earth only those things we can return.
We envision the world to be without poverty, hunger or violence. To be without greed and power struggles.
A positive attitude towards yourself and others can influence a strong dynamic towards peaceful change.
A world of extremists who know only love for one another. A love that is unremarkable and intimate.
The nature of Man is change but if better natures bring better suns then perhaps our sons will strive for better.
Imagine, dream, hope and pray…..but don’t let that stop you from trying today.
With love and compassion:
Alex, Andrew, Brandon, Darien, Tanya, Shyla, Justin, Julia, Megan, Abbie
The work my students are engaging in is the hope and vision for our future, an antidote to the harmful ways we have constructed in our lives. As the collective consciousness regarding our actions is emerging, more are recognizing this fact: our consumer lifestyle is based on unsustainable practices and we must change. The level of violence in our culture is extreme. The economic system isn’t working for many. Our climate is telling us we must do better. Hurricane Sandy was just the most recent intense weather event that, like the most recent shooting, gives us pause to think about needed change. The change is about visioning a positive, gentle and caring approach to our problems, to each other and towards the natural world. We must stop killing each other and we must stop the degradation and violence towards the earth. The time is now to act. In the words of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see.” We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Wishing you love, joy and peace on earth.
December 15, 2012