Community Mediation, my day job, is very excited to announce the launch of our IndieGoGo campaign, “Help Kids Making a Difference in Their Communities.” The purpose of this campaign is to raise funds so we can order hoodies for the peer mediators we’ve trained in New Haven area schools; these will help our peer mediators advertise the program, stand out from other students, and be part of something larger than themselves: reduced suspensions, incidents of violence and fighting, and creating a peaceful climate.
The campaign will be up for 55 days, and we are aiming for $8500 dollars; this will ensure that we order enough hoodies to cover the kids we have trained, as well as more for the students we will train in the future. The campaign is based off of similar initiatives in other states which have been successful.
Peer mediation is a proven way to reduce conflicts and other problems in our schools, and our peer mediators learning these skills will keep using them throughout their lives. Peer mediation has a proven success rate of anywhere from 58-93% in reducing conflicts in schools, resulting in reduced suspensions and an overall decrease in disciplinary measures needed. Most students, when asked, state that they use the skills they learn both in and out of school, with their friends, family and others.
If you are able, please follow the link below to donate, and even if you aren’t, please share it with anyone you know who is.
I have been working toward updating this site and trying to find some time to get back into my writing. I have also been writing a year in review for 2011 as for me, it was an incredible year and I got to do some amazing things. I will finish that up soon!
In the meanwhile, I recently did an interview/dialogue on empathy with Edwin Rutsch from the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy and Compassion. We discussed an article which was critical of empathy: ‘Great Negotiators Think With Heads, Not Hearts‘ in Forbes Magazine written by Victoria Pynchon. It is about an hour in length and goes off into a few topics beyond the article.
You can watch the video with a transcript at here. Otherwise….here is the video.
Edwin is doing some great stuff and his website is loaded with information about empathy, compassion, neuroscience and just we really are wired for connection. Check out the full site at http://cultureofempathy.com/
As many of my readers know, I stopped blogging so much because I was able to move on to a new and exciting job doing what I love and care about. I took the job of Associate Executive Director of Community Mediation, Inc. (CM) You can guess on your own that I have already begun infusing Nonviolent Communication into much of the work that we are doing. Since I know many of the folks who read this website also support the work I am trying to do and my hope of training a whole city in conflict management skills, I ask you to help my new organization with this local challenge to raise money. No matter where in the world you live, change has to start someplace, why not CT? Give and help support the work we are doing……
In the past few months, CM has been in the schools teaching New Haven youth peer mediation skills. We have been to various agencies like Madonna Place in Norwich, Public Allies in New Haven, The Children’s Center in New Haven and New Haven Family Alliance presenting workshops based on Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication. We helped to organize and present at the Seventh John A. Speziale Alternative Dispute Resolution Symposium titled, Achieving the Goals of Criminal Justice: A Role for Mediation.
We are currently working with New Haven Police to present community dialogues that will introduce citizens in each district of New Haven to the new NHPD Police Chief, Frank Limon. We are also working with the New Haven Juvenile Review Board (JRB) along with New Haven Family Alliance to provide mediation at each of the JRB panel hearings. We are working to start new programs, expand our mediation services and train more people in our community in mediation, conflict management and facilitation skills.
We cannot do all the great work we are doing without support from you, the community. The Community Foundation has started a new website to make it easier for you to support us. They have also issued a challenge to the community to find 50 people willing to make a donation more than $50.00 to make us eligible to get an additional $25,000 to continue and expand the work we are doing. We ask that you help us with this challenge by making a donation through the new giveGreater website for us. Your money goes toward making New Haven, Connecticut and our world a more peaceful place.
In my sleepy New England beach town lives a group of people who stand on the corner at the main light in town holding signs that read “honk for peace” and “Stop the War.” Of course, I support this message. I don’t support people standing on the side of the road holding signs for peace and that is because I don’t believe peace comes to anyone through crayola creations. If you truly want peace, put down the poster board, role up your sleeves and take a short trip into the downtown city near you where kids are killing kids, gangs are more popular than schools and our elected leaders see nothing wrong with putting 14 year old children in jail for fighting. Put down the sign and realize that peace takes work, action and persistence not signs.
I have always been a bit annoyed on some level when I see people going to great lengths to promote the idea of peace in the middle east, peace in other countries, even world peace and yet those same people do little or nothing to foster peace in their own backyards. I mediate with groups of kids more often than I would like, who have been arrested in their schools for fighting, even all out brawls of kids fighting. They get arrested, expelled from schools so they won’t get educations and the bloodlines of poverty continue. When these young adults come to me, they carry in charges like assault or breech of peace. Many are in hearings to be expelled from school. In most of the cases I have done, the fights come from petty he said/she said arguments that kids just haven’t been taught to manage. We fail our kids for each day that goes by and we don’t teach them the skills they need to manage conflict with others. We fail them even further when we punish them for our failures rather than restoring them and the community by teaching them, counseling them and giving them the tools they needs to succeed.
From this, I hope you can understand my frustration when I see this group waste a whole Saturday on the side of the road with signs for peace when I know they could have spent the day mentoring kids, volunteering at the local community center or offering to babysit for a single mom who needs child care so her kids don’t grow up in poverty. They could have spent the same Saturday taking some inner city youth hiking in the woods, or to clean up the parks where the adults left their trash. Perhaps they could have volunteer to be the ones that teach these kids conflict skills so they stop killing each other.
I understand they want to express their passion for peace and I want them to know, it takes more than passion to have peace. Eleanor Roosevelt said once, “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” Not sure I could get this message across to others any more clearly than she did.
In an April 4, 2010 interview with CNN, Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights leader and friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that, “We are missing the moral leader of America who had emerged not just the moral leader of America but of the world.” Now he did say this on the anniversary of King’s death and yet something about his statement struck a chord for me. I wonder what the world would/could look like if we stopped thinking in these absolutes that are far from absolute?
When it comes down to words, moral is a tough one. It is up there with words like good, bad, right, wrong, truth, lie, terrorist or freedom fighter. All of these words are subjective to one’s own beliefs. We can never truly have the moral leader unless everyone agrees with a universal definition of moral and that will never happen. We also don’t have definitions or clear guidelines with words like right, wrong, good, bad, etc. All of these words change by person, time, or place. What is right for some isn’t right for all. What is moral to some is immoral to others. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Who gets to make these calls?
These words are really just a part of our language that stems from our system of punishment and reward. Those that are good, right, or moral deserve reward and those who are bad, wrong or immoral deserve punishment or pity. The issue remains that these things are arbitrary and get us no closer to what is really going on with people or ourselves or how to meet their real human needs. Sadly, these system are the source of much of the violence on our planet that I wish to change.
I get what Rep. Lewis is saying and yet I disagree with his strategy to meet the need. In the past, we have had leaders like King, Gandhi, Chavez, and others who are my hero’s in life and yet not everyone agreed they were moral, truthful, or right. The lines between what is right or wrong, what is good or bad, what is moral or immoral are a bit thin and at best, shaky. How can we have a moral leader if we can’t even decide what is moral? Who would he lead but those who agree with his version of moral? I believe a leader has to lead everyone not just those who agree with him.
I propose we stop thinking in terms that don’t work for all of us and start looking at things more universal to all of us. Lets start thinking about what connects us rather than what put us into boxes based on what we deserve, like good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral. All of these terms are just code for what we think people deserve. Let’s start thinking in terms of universal human needs!
Human needs cross all the barriers whether it be race, age, religion, sexual orientation, or culture. All humans have the same needs. Why not evaluate things based on how well they are meeting universal human needs rather than what we think people deserve. I might say to Mr. Lewis, stop caring about “WHAT” people “ARE” like moral or immoral, good or bad, right or wrong since those thing are so fuzzy and start thinking in terms of how those same people’s universal human needs are being met or not met.
When you really stop and think about it, there are no human needs that are negative or positive needs. It is hard to think of food, shelter, creativity, safety, spirituality or rest as positive or negative, good or bad. They just are, right? So if, like psychology says, we are all just out to meet our needs, then there are no actions that are negative or positive if we evaluate how well they meet human needs. In simple terms, even if the strategy you chose wasn’t effective, the goal was to meet a human need. There were other choices, strategies that could have been chosen that could meet the same need at less cost to others.
The thing about needs is that psychologist have been telling us for decades that all human behavior is in the service of needs, yet we live in a society that tells us having needs is weak or too touchy or mushy. How do we live past the contradiction of what our language allows and what science has discovered to work? How do we get back in touch with our human authentic selves?
I know Rep. Lewis wants the same things I want….human needs met. I bet he wants his needs for harmony and peace met. I bet he also wants his needs for congruency with his faith met too! I bet he would like his need for respect for life to be met. I can respect those needs because I have them too, we all do! That is what connects us as humans, our needs! We can understand each other much better when we see that we are all after the same things…..getting our needs met…
Again, I ask you to stop looking for a moral leader and look for a leader who can understand what will really meet human needs and open to all the strategies available to do that. I ask that we stop looking for people to do the right thing (assuming we can get past the arbitrary right or wrong) and look to do what contributes to human needs being met. Stop worrying if our actions are aligned with a political party or church and ask to these actions contribute to life? Do they meet universal human needs?
On March 27, 2010 at 9:00pm, there will be a showing of the film Our Journey to a Smile. The film will be simultaneously shown nationwide and narrated live via Skype from Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan by the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.
Here in Connecticut, we will be showing the film at the Sheffield Auditorium - First Congregational Church, Old Lyme. We are asking for a donation at the door as this is a fundraiser for the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. We also ask that you bring your own snacks. We will provide the beverages.
Hosted by Spectrum: Arts and Education for Peace, CT Network of Spiritual Progressives and CT Nonviolent Communication
Here is a sample of the film:
I took this quote from this article. I request you read it and share your thoughts.
“What is this kind of love? It appears to me that Jesus and Gandhi and those of us following their tradition through the practice of NVC think of love as the full radical acceptance of the humanity of every person, regardless of how unhappy we are with the results of their actions. This love is a commitment to act in ways that uphold that humanity; to care for the wellbeing of the other person even when we are in opposing positions; even when all that we value is at stake.” ~Miki Kashtan,
This is a nice article written by Richard Layard at Huffington Post about how empathy is really the source of our joy and happiness not money. Of course, intellectually we all know this fact, our televisions and billboards have done a good job at brainwashing us into believing we need “stuff” to be happy. In reality, we are hardwired to find joy in helping each other.
For we are born with a strongly social side to our nature (a homo empathicus), as well as a profoundly selfish side. By the age of two many children will run and comfort another child who is hurt. We are wired up for fellow feeling — when subjects in an experiment watch others put their hands in icy water, their own temperature falls.
April 16, 2010 - 32 Elm St. New Haven, CT
9:00AM - 4:00PM
Transform conflict in your home, workplace, school and in your community
Based on the work of Marshall Rosenberg and the Center for Nonviolent Communication
Most of us have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand, and diagnose — to think and communicate in terms of what is “right“ and “wrong“ with people. We express our feelings in terms of what another person has “done to us,” instead of taking responsibility for our feelings independent of another person. We struggle to understand our own needs in the moment, or to effectively ask for what we want without using unhealthy demands, threats, or coercion. At best, communicating and thinking this way can create misunderstanding and frustration. And still worse, it can lead to anger, depression, and even emotional or physical violence.
Through a combination of lecture, group work, video and role plays, we will examine the thinking, language, and moralistic judgments that keep us from managing the conflicts in our lives. We will explore the 4-Part NVC process and how it can be used to express ourselves in ways people can hear without judgment or raising defenses. We will also explore news ways to hear what others are saying so we don’t hear blame or judgment of us. You’ll start to manage conflicts with more easily, request what you want without using demands and begin to strengthen your personal and professional relationships.
Register Online at www.community-mediation.org or mail check or money order to: 32 Elm Street, New Haven, CT 06510. (Checks should be made payable to Community Mediation, Inc.) Registration is open to the public. Seating is limited. The requested fee for this training is $89.00 per person and includes lunch and materials. A selection of NVC books will be available for purchase at the workshop via cash or check. The deadline for registration is April 12, 2010. Questions, please call (203) 782-3500.
About the Presenter:
Twice the victim of violent crimes, Joe Brummer has spent years exploring why people commit acts of violence against others. He has studied nonviolence, conflict resolution and clocked hundreds of hours at the mediation table. He has worked with the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence to bring nonviolence to youth in schools, trained with the Community Mediation Center of RI and serves on their Juvenile Restorative Justice Advisory Board. In the winter 2008, Joe attended the International Intensive Training on Nonviolent Communication. He has presented on NVC at national conventions, universities and private organizations across New England. Joe is the Connecticut representative for New England NVC. View his website at www.speakcompassion.com
Sponsered by Community Mediation, Inc.
This was a short clip on the blocks to listening from the Martin Luther King Day workshop I presented at the Dae Yen Sa International Buddhist Temple in New Hartford, CT. I really enjoyed doing this workshop and was happy it was well attended. Anyway, I would love to hear your feedback on this clip and my style of presenting. I learn from the feedback.
The following article appeared in the December 2009 edition of Options Magazine in Rhode Island.
If you have ever seen the film, “Home for the Holidays” staring Robert Downey, Jr. where bitter battles, flying turkey dinners and screaming matches are just as much a theme for the holidays as cranberry sauce or potato pancakes, you know that the holiday season can bring out family conflicts. A holiday dinner can have simple questions provoking sarcastic comments, opposing political viewpoints turning into heated angry debates or boyfriend choices turning into slamming dishes.
One of the reasons we end up in conflict is because we listen to the words people choose rather than the message behind them. Psychologists have been telling us for decades that all behavior, including our words, is an attempt to get our basic human needs met. Psychologist and creator of the process known as Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg claims that human beings are only saying two things, “Please” and “Thank you.” While we have many versions of expressing these two things, we are really only asking people to “please” meet our needs or expressing gratitude when our needs are met. When we listen to the needs and feelings behind difficult messages, we are able to stay in a place of compassion.
We have four basic choices of how we can hear and respond to difficult messages. The first choice is to fight back. This means redirecting the message back to the speaker. This includes competing to prove rightness or wrongness. For example we might say, “Well if you hadn’t…” or “You know the problem with you is…” This choice tends to put the speaker in a “fight or flight” defensive state rather than a place of connection. In this mind frame, people tend to be more concerned with being right than hearing each other.
The second choice is to turn the message on ourselves. It usually sounds like “If only I was a better…” or “I know, I am terrible at these things…” This response tends to turn our focus away from the speaker and into a self-loathing session in our heads. It prevents us from being fully present to what the speaker is really saying and does little for our self-esteem.
The third and fourth choices focus on listening for “please” and “thank you.” We can hear the speaker’s message and try to connect with what comes alive within us in response. What are we “feeling and needing” in response to what we are hearing or seeing. Just being aware of this can help to keep us focused on being compassionate rather than judgmental.
Lastly, we have the choice to check in with the speaker about what is going on for them. It means hearing the “please” and “thank you” buried in their message regardless of how sarcastic, judgmental or thoughtless we believe the words they chose may be. We don’t listen to the words. We listen for the needs being expressed. For example, someone who states “talking to you is like talking to a wall” might really be expressing a need to be heard. Someone who states, “You are ruining your life” might really be expressing fear and a need for security for you. Rosenberg states, “Every moral judgment, snappy remark or evaluation of others is a tragic expression of an unmet need.” If we listen to the human needs and not the poor choose of words, we hear a completely new conversation.
Here is the flying turkey clip from the film: Home for the Holidays
Watch on YouTube
I came across this video because I follow the NVC Academy blog called, “Teach Empathy” and they posted the link. It also happens to be that I am currently reading the book, The Age of Empathy. One of the concepts de Waal proposes in his book is that the idea of competition in nature does not hold the disregard for life as might be proposed by some humans. He also writes that the famous words, “survival of the fittest” are no where to be found in Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species and that those ideas of Social Darwinism aren’t really Darwin at all. The ideas really came from a philosopher named, Herbert Spencer. Instead, de Waal proposes that by nature we evolved to be empathetic creatures because it helped mothers raise their young. It also helped to develop social groups that many mammals and birds develop for security. In short, the book explains that empathy is very natural for us. When I finally finish the book, which needs to be prior to running out of renewals at the library, I will write a review of it. In the meanwhile, enjoy the interview with Frans de Waal. He is also a very interesting speaker.
I will be presenting a free workshop in January at the Dae Yen Sa International Buddhist Temple and Mediation Center in New Hartford, CT. I am excited to do this workshop because the setting will allow for more minds to be exposed to the concepts and ideas of Nonviolence packaged into a process we can use everyday. After studying the work of Gandhi, ML King, and other teachers of nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication™ (NVC) has been the most natural and purposeful way of living the messages of these great teachers that I have ever found.
You can see the Facebook page for this event here. Please post it to your wall and share it with your friends. I greatly appreciate your support in helping me to spread the word to make this a successful event for everyone involved.
I have been spending a lot of my thoughts and energy lately on building compassion for those who do things or believe things with which I disagree. This is not an easy task and it really involves not allowing myself to loose sight of other people’s humanity. It also means truly focusing on the needs met by other people’s actions especially when I disagree.
Finding this compassion also seems to require me to believe that all humans are basically well intentioned and that is surprisingly not that hard. For starters, psychologists have noted for decades that all human behavior is in the service of meeting human needs. If the intentions of all people are really about getting their needs met, and all of us have the same universal human needs, that would mean that none of us has ever done anything that wasn’t well intentioned. We are all just trying to get our needs met. We just don’t always choose strategies that work with everyone else.
I have been watching the news and reading blogs of people with whom I disagree on strategies to meet their needs. The healthcare bill is a prime example of this. I am in favor of a the strategy of the public option. This “strategy” meets my needs for growth for us as a Country because I believe it helps us value every human life. It also meets my needs for financial security for the Country as I think this is the better move at keeping costs down since our treatments are keeping people alive longer but not without significant costs that are rising as our treatments get more advance, and people need more care. I realize that other people feel anxious and concerned about this strategy because it doesn’t meet their needs for growth or financial security for the Country. Pointing out that our needs are the same. We all want, value and need financial security, we all want growth for the Country and the strategies we choose are not in agreement. Our needs are what connect all of us.
Here’s the CATCH!
When I focus on the needs of other people and NOT the strategies, it is much easier for me to see them as human and find compassion. It is easier for me than labeling them as “greedy” or “insensitive” to the plight of others. I can then acknowledge their humanity while disagreeing with their tactics. I can separate the people from the problem.
I realize I have oversimplified this for the sake of writing this article and that this takes more effort than some may think it is worth. For me, as I can’t speak for anyone else, this is about the person I want to be and the world I want for future generations. I don’t want to see others, regardless what they have done, as a label. Take for instance those who are against same-sex marriage, I don’t want to see a “bigot” because I have grown to believe people are not really “bigots.” I think they are choosing strategies to meet their needs for spirituality that don’t meet my needs for equality. I sometimes struggle to see their needs and get past the name calling that happens in my head, yet that is the person I am working to be. I wish we could find ways to meet both our needs and I have some doubts that will happen. I still don’t want to sink so low that I have to call them names or view them as the enemy. It is those enemy images that block us from seeing others’ humanity. It is also those same enemy images that block them from seeing our humanity.
As I have said, this is a goal I have and I am working to achieve it in my life. To find compassion for even those who I just don’t like. I have learned that we don’t have to like people to connect with them as humans and yet when we can connect with them, humans are beautiful. What’s not to like really?
One of the reasons I stopped writing as much about gay rights is that I realized how radical it is to look for compassion and empathy for people in the pro-family, anti-gay side. (example: Peter LaBarbera, Mary Gallagher, Brian Brown, etc.) I have learned this isn’t always favorable in the eyes of many and I am even looking for compassion for them. Sometimes I can find it and sometimes I can’t get past the fact I believe in the deepest parts of my soul, their tactics of name calling and personal attacks on the other side hurt more than help our goals.
I guess it would be helpful if I explained what I mean by compassion and empathy. First off, it doesn’t mean that I approve of what they are doing. Compassion means I want to understand the “why” behind the actions. What is this about for them? For me, I think it is the easy way out to just call them a bigot or a hater and then call it a day. It is the easy way out to label someone something that detracts from their humanity and it is what they are doing to us? I think it also oversimplifies things. If all behavior is in the service of needs, then their actions meet universal human needs for them. What are those needs and can they be met some other way and at less cost to others?
Even for lesser political things, I want to reach this place of compassion in my life. The guy that cuts me off on the highway could be seen as a maniac, rude, reckless and any other number of labels. With compassion, he might be seen as someone in a rush to see his dying mother before she passing away in the emergency room.
I don’t always agree with the people I meet. The real deal is that most people are not bigots, they are afraid. Calling them names like hater or bigot increases their fear while confronting their fear with compassion may actually calm it. I believe the latter to be more effective.
So, how am I doing this? What is the process?
The first step is to remove the labels we have on people. As long as we are seeing people as bigots, haters, heartless, selfish, greedy, insensitive, cruel or whatever label we have, it is likely we are part of the problem, not the solution. Next we need to connect and empathize with what needs the person was trying meet when they did what they did. Unless we connect and understand those needs, our actions in response are likely to create more violence.
Next, we need to to check back with ourselves. We need to look at our own feelings, our pain in response to what this person (or group) did and what needs of ours were not met. For each enemy image we have of someone, we must empathize with ourselves as to what needs of ours are not met. For example, if we see our boss as “a jerk” and “a control freak” because he requested that all travel requests be approved before reimbursements will be given, it will be unlikely that we will be able to empathize with why he has done this and therefore impossible for us to find other ways for his needs to be met at less cost to us.
Chances are, if we only see the boss as a control freak, we will not address the issues that will then meet our needs. We will instead feed our enemy images and look for other ways to back up our conclusion that he is a control freak. On the other hand, if we are able to check in with our own needs, that travel isn’t always predictable and that pre-approval may not always be possible and that we have a need for financial security and cannot afford to “not” get reimbursed, then perhaps we can explore ways to meet everyone’s needs. After we have done away with the enemy images, then we can explore what needs the boss was trying to meet with his new rule and see if there is another way that need can be met AND still meet our own needs.
For me, this is a personal journey I am taking to be the person I want to be. I can’t say I know what needs are met by Peter LaBarbera with some of his actions. I also can’t say I know what Gov. Donald Carcieri needs were when he vetoed the domestic partner funeral bill. I know the easy way out is to call him a bigot and a hater. It also means my reactions will be from an energy of violence rather than compassion. I don’t want that for myself. I believe we can make change in other ways without using violence either physical or non-physical.
It is unlikely we can make change by convincing those who disagree with us how evil they are. It is unlikely we can influence voters to vote for our rights by convincing them they are bigots and haters. I do believe we can make change by empathizing with the fear in people that is the root of homophobia. We can influence change by trying to help others see that their actions are effecting us in negative ways and explore ways they can get their needs met at less cost to us. This process will work in the quest for equality and it can work in the conflicts in our families, places of employment and even our churches.
One of the reason both Gandhi and MLK were so successful in their nonviolent campaigns was their ability to find compassion for those who were viewed as their adversary. This was also the case for President Ronald Reagan and Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev who somehow found ways to see each others humanity beyond their political differences. They didn’t start this way. They were arch rivals until one day Reagan is said to have turn to Gorbachev after a heated debate and say, “This isn’t working. Can we start over? Hi my name is Ron. Can I call you Mikhail” and they formed a friendship that helped to end the cold war.
I believe this change in view can help us solve many of today’s problems in our families, in our schools, in our workplaces and in our communities. It is written in the Tao Te Ching that if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. I believe compassion is a better way and we can find it for those with whom we disagree when we change the way we look at them. I know my journey is not for everyone but imagine if everyone took this journey with me. I wonder what we might accomplish. As much as Gandhi? As much as King?
Marshall Rosenberg writes in his book, Speak Peace in a World of Conflict: What you say next could change the world:
“Peace requires something more than revenge or merely turning the other cheek; it requires empathizing with the fears and unmet needs that provide the impetus for people to attack each other. Being aware of these feelings and needs, people lose their desire to attack because they can see the human ignorance leading to these attacks; instead, their goal becomes providing the empathetic connection and education that will enable them to transcend their violence and engage in cooperative relationships.”
I am convinced if we can transform the way we see those with whom we disagree, we can find ways to meet everyone’s needs. As soon as we can get past the labels that declare who is right and who is wrong; the labels that declare who deserves what punishment or reward then I believe we have a chance to make real lasting change. The poet and philosopher Rumi wrote, “Out there beyond the ideas of rightness and wrongness there is a field. I will meet you there.” It is on that field that the solutions to many of the conflicts in our lives stand for the taking.
I also believe that in those cases where it is difficult to make this connection, that at least one party has to make the effort for anything life-enriching to happen. Why not you? This is how we can “be the change we wish to see in the world.”
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"Be the change you wish to see in the world"
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
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