Peace It Together Students Use Haiku to Express Their Experience of Self-Exploration in Film

Reena Lazar is the Executive Director of Peace It Together, a program for students which

provides a unique dialogue and filmmaking program that offers youth the opportunity to connect deeply with their so-called “enemy” while co-creating short films that can be used as peace-building tools throughout the world.

Listen to some students express their experience in this program in haiku form. Clearly the program had a powerful impact on them.

The Power of Community

The Power of Community cannot be overlooked. Our story around community has been corrupted through some erroneous beliefs about biology and evolution, which has created a cancerous culture.

Education researcher (and Kentucky native) Joseph Chilton Pearce has pointed out, “We have a name for cells that don’t work for the good of the whole organism. We call them ‘cancer’.” Pearce worries that a false understanding of our human role on the planet has led to tumor-like behavior on our part, rather than healthier kinds of growth.


“My Favorite Parenthetical Thought”

within cosmic
laws is the energy of grace,
which animates
what we call higher motivation
when a universal law
emerges in our psyche
during a decision making moment,
it comes
as a messenger of grace,
as well as psychic motivation.
In contrast,
traffic laws on the highway
are not ‘grace-filled.’
They are order-keepers
of the mundane
world that lack
the animation of grace.
an intuitive ‘hit’
to slow down
for no conscious reason,
which then turns out
to be a life-saving act
because another car
was out-of-control,
is an act of grace
operating in the mundane

Carline Myss, April Salon (Year not recorded.)

“Everything is Waiting for You.”

by David Whyte

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

– David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press

Bully or Coward?

Why Wouldn’t our Children Bully?

It should be no surprise that bullying of and by our children has come forward as an issue of concern in America.  Look at the adult examples all around them.  Look at the tenor of our foreign policy, regardless of who is in power, regardless of the year.  We have bullied the world more or less since our inception.   Do you think that the sense of entitlement that motivates this adult and national behavior doesn’t influence and shape our children?!

Specifically, take a look at our current political ad campaigns.  Candidates are trying to shout, push, and fight their way into power so that they can “take back” Congress, or “keep” Congress.  And the candidates refuse to take responsibility for so doing—it’s just politics.  They say that they are victims of the very system they claim to have the strength and wherewithal to change, their espoused motive for seeking election.  I guess their plan is to stop bullying once they win their seat.

Then take a look at how are we responding to the bullying our children are experiencing?   If we are doing anything (the constant specter of litigation haunts those who are in the position to take action, often keeping them frozen in a feeling of futility and fear for their livelihoods), we are trying to crack down on the bullies.  Enforce rules.  Legislate the problem way.  Isolate them.  Expel them.  We are using bullying tactics to rein in the bullying.

Would it not be wiser to look at the underlying reasons for the behavior?  Attempt to come to terms with the cause rather than respond to the effect?

What is a bully?  A coward.  Per our habit, in our usual media blitz of the topic du jour, we tell stories about victims.  Then we ask the perpetrators, “Why would you behave this way?”  The resounding answer in this case:  “I wanted to belong.  I wanted to be part of the cool group.”  Read:  I’m insecure.  Read (here we go):  I have low self-esteem.  And why wouldn’t they?  Why wouldn’t they?

Parents are too busy chasing the dollar to parent.  Our leaders are too busy jockeying for positions of power to govern.  The talking heads are stuck in the blame game.  Our teachers and healers are busy covering their asses, the constant specter of litigation haunting them.  And all of this driven by a twisted and obscene notion of success and entitlement set in motion by [don’t touch the sacred cow] capitalism.  Not capitalism per se, but the perverse corporate capitalism we practice.

This bullying is a symptom of a malaise that plagues our country.  We need to be honest about some of our core beliefs as Americans.  We need to look at what we expect from our children, and why.  Ask any parent what he/she wants for his/her child, and he/she will answer, “I just want him/her to be happy.”  And what does happy really mean?  Comfortable, successful.  So we need to wrestle with our notions of comfort and success.