It is time for another short communication with Christine Whitelaw, as I am missing her. This is a blog to which she responded three years ago. It shows just one of the “common things” we shared, wrote about, took photographs of, or values we shared.
Where is the balance? I hope Rita Marie Johnson’s work and influence is taking a deeper root in our society than we hear via the news on our states of conflict seemingly everywhere.
For myself, I continue to watch for sparks of violence in my daily actions, intents, words or thoughts and weed them out. That is my own grass-root level effort, and it feels like it is growing increasingly peaceful. May it be so, one day in the world.
“Here we are, God — a planet at prayer. Attune our spirits that we may hear your harmonies and bow before your creative power that we may face our violent discords and join with your Energy to make heard in every heart your hymn of peace.” Joan Metzner, Earth Prayers From Around The World
I am reading Non-Violent Communication right now, part of my course work for Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy, it is wonderful, so clear and practical, but take it bit by bit! What an inspiring story, thank you.
Conflict or Peace – Can we choose Peace?
March 19, 2011 by napkinwriter
Costa Rican children taught Be Peace in Daily Lives
Apparently, we can choose peace over conflict. One woman, over the past seventeen years, Rita Marie Johnson has taken this simple, but not easy to practice belief, created a high vision for it to occur, wrapped ambitious goals around the vision, and has produced a system that is taught in the Costa Rican school system. It is now being instituted in the United States. Her vision is buoyed up by foundation training courses for teachers to get it off the ground and into the children’s daily lives.
She is starting with the children — but she has her sights set on presidents and leaders of nations — to “vacation” at her Costa Rica training grounds and learn the fundamentals of her program, BePeace.
BePeace was developed by Rita Marie Johnson, in 2002, after moving to Costa Rica from Texas, where she strengthened its peace model. She was surprised to learn that Costa Rica did not have an army. She was also inspired by a poem that tells of a teacher, Rasur, who comes to a village and awakens the children to the wisdom and compassion in their hearts.
In 2000, Johnson wrote a story about The Return of Rasur, a story that holds the answer to education in our time. She went on to write and produce a musical entitled Rasur that got noticed by the President of Costa Rica.
A key element that gives life to its vision is they believe that to become more peaceful nations we must begin within ourselves and that teaching our children is the logical first step to shifting generational violence into lasting peace.
Here in our United States education system, we deal daily with the bullying problems that cause deaths of young students and much silent suffering from those who “just take it.”
BePeace, a program within the Rasur Foundation International, focuses on three things: feeling peace; speaking peace; and then teaching peace.
Their vision is a world where every child practices peace and passes this gift to the next generation. Their mission is attracting, training and supporting natural peace teachers to evoke the wisdom and compassion in children through the practice of BePeace. Their motto is: “Before directing the lightning in the sky, we must first harness the storms in our own hearts.”
The key word here is practice. Is this some lofty goal, where you keep a simple smile on your face all day and turn away from conflict in your path? No, it is a program of training in life skills, psychology, the worth of each person, and the willingness to learn and apply behavior patterns that are scientifically proven to establish calmness within a person which then gives the person some options of learned behaviors to apply to the stressful situation at hand.
Eliminating the “knee-jerk” defensive behaviors, deeply engrained in most of us, probably gets us half-way down the path anyway. But my own life experience in changing, modifying, bettering my own behavior has taught me that to change means to practice — over and over again.
The Rasur Foundation International and BePeace program makes sure their students get the chance to practice. They have set up a foundations course for individual study, teachers and group coordinators, where the heart of the program is explained, demonstrated, conversed about, and taken into individual practice. The students, in turn, will: be peace, speak peace and then naturally teach peace.
BePeace synergistically combines the intelligence of the heart and compassionate communication for a peaceful, compassionate speaking into a daily practice for creative, peaceful living. This practice evolved from the work of the Institute of Heart Math and the work of Marshall B. Rosenberg at the Center for Nonviolent Communication.
Rita Marie Johnson, realized the powerful synergy between these two methods and developed th practice of BePeace to combine coherence through appreciation and connection to universal needs through empathy and honesty.
This is real work! Based on scientific testing and results, the work done to “feel peace” develops a physiological change within the body, called “coherence”. More than just a slowed down heart-rate, it evens out the beating of the heart and produces communication between the heart and the brain.
For those who like the scientific talk, this is the book to check out.
During the foundation course, participants will become skilled in how to “feel peace” and enhance intelligence through the practice of physiological coherence betwen the heart and the brain.
The second part then comes where they learn the steps of compassionate communication, that is “speaking peace.” Here is where, with the best of intentions, I fall down so often. I need more practice in whatever it is they learn to do here. Good intentions, for me, just don’t get the job done. The foundation teaching course says that “speaking peace” is connecting more consciously with our own feelings and needs, and of those around us.
Is that a win-win? A phrase so highly touted but so often fallen short of? I’d say so. In negotiations, someone gives up “something”. And they feel that. If speaking peace is what they say it is, then there is a respect and recognition of all needs on the table and somehow a peaceful outcome for all is a result.
The high prize! One I’d like to try for.
This is the other resourse the practice of BePeace is founded upon.
I am all for learning any method and truth that helps me MODEL, and as their organization says, be peace. That has been my life quest and I am having success…as long as I don’t push it or crowd myself. I like the Heart Math side of it and I have life experiences that cause me to know that what they report in this book is true in my own case. I’ve studied and learned many methods to the ends of eliminating violent or hurtful communication on my part — again, some success.
Somehow, the alarming feeling is that it doesn’t come naturally. A look around the world and our neighborhoods would seem to support that. I have to take the time and initiative to learn…and maybe in learning, I’ll actually see that it is remembering what I have forgotten that is most important. As an individual and as part of a mass society, in the forgetting, I became focused on the ego and protection of “little me”.
Maybe, I can hope, that it is more realistically a matter of REMEMBERING who I really am and being peace, speaking peace and teaching peace will radiate from my center.
To find out more, here is the link:
founder, Rita Marie Johnson