Being the Change We Wish to See

In a time when our world seems to be increasingly unstable, those of us who are genuinely concerned about the future of the planet can understandably feel disheartened, and even sometimes feel as though we are losing hope that we will ever see the change we wish for.

And yet, the time we are living in offers each one of us an invitation to personal change; an opportunity for the conscious evolution of our selves. The question is… are we willing to make the changes that are needed?

Through this internet portal that we call Care2, we are invited to connect with others who want to make a difference. Crossing borders and eliminating social divides, sites such as this one bring us together under the hopeful sky of a common goal.

In the world of social justice causes, intentions may differ, approaches will vary, and perspectives may even be in conflict. And still, with all our differences and disagreements, our passion and our fury, we are united in our desire to make the world a better place. 

As part of a new initiative called Peace Dot, Care2 is joining with Stanford University to build a network of universities, websites, and corporations who are uniting to show their support for peace. The perspective of Peace Dot is that we can help to create conditions for peace, if we work together across boundaries that usually keep us divided. 

“People are often pessimistic about prospects for world peace. That’s a problem because negative attitudes lead to negative behaviors — a downward spiral… How can we give people evidence that there is cause to be more hopeful? Peace Dot will show how innovators are creating empathy and harmony in the world. It will show how we’re making progress toward peace in concrete, measurable ways.”

Care2 is a place where I have met some wonderful people – people who are willing to speak up for truth despite the ridicule that unfailingly follows, and stand firm in their beliefs when the tide of criticism is tugging at their feet. In short, I have found friends here in Care2, friends who share my beliefs, and yes, much to my surprise… friends who do not.

I want to share the story of one such friend of mine, who I will only refer to as ‘L’. I had met L on the discussion board of one of my posts, and we had ‘crossed swords’, in his words. I had thought of him as one of my many critics, someone who couldn’t stand my views and made it a point to let everyone else know why he disagreed. I tried not to hold that against him. After all, in an open forum, everyone has the right to voice their opinion.

But recently I was met with a surprise when I visited my inbox; I had received a message from L. I opened it with curiosity, wondering what he was going to say, after having recently made a somewhat derogatory, though rather humorous, critique of one of my posts. Well… simply put, L was reaching out to me in friendship. “We cross swords,” he wrote, “but I respect your commitment.”

We e-mailed back and forth a few times – I made one last attempt at trying to reach L with my perspective on animal rights, and he let me know that I didn’t have a chance of turning him into a convert, so I quickly dropped it. Our exchange ended on a very warm note:

“It’s great to know that even if we disagree we are friends – very civilized. We shall doubtless cross swords in the forum… Best wishes.”

It may sound very simple, and even relatively unimportant, in light of the urgency of the issues we are fighting for, but somehow this experience stands out to me as being quite profound. Having been on the receiving end of many personal attacks as a result of my outspokenness about the issues that matter to me so very deeply, this simple exchange was like a balm for the wounds on my damaged ego.

My exchange with L was a reminder that the people who disagree with me are people too. While sites such as Care2 do a world of good by bringing us together, the responsibility is ours to remember that although we can not see each other, each profile picture and pseudonym represents a real person, with real feelings, and a mind and heart that can be hurt by personal attacks or insults.

I’m not suggesting that we should stifle our passion, or even our anger, when it comes to injustice. Passion and justified anger are the antidotes to apathy, and if we have any chance of saving our planet and our future, it is essential that we break the spell of apathy that keeps us in the dangerous slumber of the status quo.

What I am saying is that it is possible to disagree, and to discuss issues where we don’t see eye to eye, without resorting to personal attacks or insults that are intended to hurt the recipient. In short, we need to learn how to raise each other up, rather than putting each other down.

In what seems to be a simple, yet remarkably appropriate step, The Petition Site has created a pledge, encouraging members to seek, pursue and reflect peace in your life and the lives of everyone you touch.

Please take the time to sign the pledge, which states, “Although peace depends on every human being, it starts with us as individuals. If we create peace in our lives, this will be reflected outward.”

I encourage everyone to take advantage of the comments board to discuss the extremely important subject of how we are going to create peace on this planet of ours. Please use the opportunity to share your experiences on Care2 and in your lives that have led you to believe peace is possible.

Photo by Cayusa via Flickr/Creative Commons

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Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat5 years ago

Good article.

Lori K.
Lori K.6 years ago

Sometimes it is difficult to believe peace is possible, when there are so many out there who are determined to fight. Long friendships broken because one always pushes, while the other allows themselves to be pushed in order to keep the peace. When the other finally pushes back to keep balanced, the pusher explodes.
Until all are willing to allow others their beliefs, peace is difficult.
I guess the best we can do is to listen, allow others to vent, and keep our beliefs to ourselves when they are not readily accepted.

Terri A.
Terri A.6 years ago

The first act of Creation is a thought is if we all thought the same thought, how could it not be so? I look forward to the time when we Peace and cooperation.

Sha Faye
Sha Faye6 years ago

"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love - for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann

Barbara V.
Barbara V.6 years ago

I thought everyone who put in their opinions here did a superlative job of it! So much so, I'm inspired to take this opportunity to thank all the Care2 members who have sent me green stars and such inspiring notes. I think simple kindness and genuine concern for all people, for all animals, and for our planet, is the answer for developing peace and happiness in this world--or so my Buddhist practice has taught me. But it isn't just one's religion per se, it's that very special desire to give of one's self for the good of others that adds up--a real heart and soul-expander; you realize that your life can be a very special experience, even with its ups and downs. Perhaps peace is possible, but I reckon in this day and age where evil flourishes, it would take a lot of work and effort on our part to bring it about! Nonetheless, onward and upward!!

Bruce Anderson
6 years ago

For those that are disheartened through the onslaught of worldly events that are not going down the path you feel it should...hearten up...for most people are just as you no matter their race, creed or religion and want whats right not only for fellow human beings, but for all walks of life and nature in general.

Life is alot like visiting a humane shelter. As you walk through it's loaded with animals, but the ones who first get your attention are the dogs barking the loudest just as in the negative news. But as you divert your attention away from the few loud ones, you begin to notice all the others who are patiently waiting their turn for something good to come their way. Through silent but effective action such as wagging tails or heart stealing puppy stares, they do finally get your attention; the attention that is more permanent.

The same applies with us all and sooner than later just causes that are wanted by most of us, will come and prevail.

We don't need rescuing nor to be the loudest, just continue in perserverance in doing what each and every one of us do best...that's what will make this world shine on...each and everyone's single contribution...

Sarah D.
Sarah D.6 years ago

Peace is a coping mechanism. In a perfect world peace does not exist, only acceptance and tolerance plus debate exist in a perfect world.

Richard Embleton
Past Member 6 years ago

To make peace, manifest peace in this world, Barbcat Kay said it correctly. Silence of mind is what Isaiah 41:1 is talking about - meditative state where spirit takes control of the body its taken birth in, in this unpeaceful world. It takes strength to make peace, and it take people who will bear the pain on their subtle bodies (Trees of Life) to make an actual Reality of the Kingdom of God exist here. If people think that it's simply the lack of peace, love, joy and silent awareness that Humanity needs to correct, then the whole reason for Creation is not apparent to such folks. This planet, and Humanity where designed to be a trap for the most negative of all existence, the demons. (Revelation 18:2)
Want to see what's going on, really?
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With My Love and Peace

Barbcat Kay
Barb Knight6 years ago

I've made a whole bunch of Care2 friends who believe in peace. To me "Peace" along with his friend "Quiet" work together because you can't have one without the other. Peace, true peace, comes from within after you've blocked out the noise around you.

Katherine Rabenau

I believe strongly in the potential for peace, though some days my faith in our willingness to reach for it fails me. I'm 62 and have always thought of myself as a pacifist. At present, I'm a bit confused about my own beliefs as regards Afghanistan. I don't think anybody wins wars, but I'm not sure that simply giving a nation over to forces like the Taliban and Al Q is right either. If we can find a way to use the military to keep these violent forces at bay while we help root the people economically and educationally, that is probably a good thing. If it's possible. I really don't understand violence. I think what we did in Iraq was a crime @ has left scars that will probably never heal in the hearts and minds of too many of our young people. So, I've gone from being pretty sure of what I think to being a bit confused. I'm afraid that I think in many cases it's politicians who stand in the way of peace, whether American, Israeli, Palestinian... whatever... they are always too eager to leap at any excuse for violence vs. peace. Mr. Obama's willingness to talk to even the most vile folks gives me hope. It's harder to depersonalize someone you are talking to into "the enemy." When we recognize that everyone has feelings and try to understand the other side rather than only listening to our own voice, there's hope that we can create a better world. I'm hopeful, except on those days when the fact that my own government seems unable to pass a health care bill leaves me weeping.