Random Thoughts

Charlie and the Football

Posted by on Feb 16, 2012 in Random Thoughts | 1 comment

My coffee mug is wise. It teaches me, “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” Unknown

What happens when the noise in your head drowns out the calm in your heart? What happens when this construction of peace seems impossible to achieve?

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Devils and Dust

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Creativity, Ingredients, Random Thoughts | 0 comments

Other people’s mixed CDs, for those of us who don’t collect tunes exclusively online, are always interesting and revealing pieces of data. They provide a potential host of new music to add to our own collections as well as offer insight into people’s musical taste and even into the essence of their personalities. As the songs pleasantly moved along on a particular mixed CD, #4 was unfamiliar, but it intrigued me and I was compelled to hit repeat.

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We, the stories

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in Creativity, Ingredients, Random Thoughts | 9 comments

Not too long ago, I was fortunate enough to have a previous post, “The Femininity of Peacebuilding” published on the website Peace X Peace. As I was perusing through other contributors, I came across a woman whose point of view was particularly compelling, Roxanne Krystalli. Roxanne has the unique ability to demonstrate her expertise about peace and conflict without actually saying a word. As we all know, words often don’t do a sufficient job of expressing our true feelings, and those times they come up short are when we need to find a different medium of communication, to find inspiration without using language. Roxanne’s blog, Stories of Conflict and Love, with a simple photograph of a tree’s reflection captured in a cup of coffee, or a short story about rediscovering her love for oranges, breathes life into the true essence of building peace, the desire for connection with humanity.

There is a famous quote lifted from a poem by John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” Donne’s quote carries special weight here because peace can and will only emerge from a collaborative process. Consequently, I want Critical Peace to be a medium for global collaboration amongst those who want to contribute to the pertinent and challenging discussion about peace. In an effort to support this initiative, and sustain the conversation, Roxanne generously wrote the following post for Critical Peace, in which she allows us to see the product of her inner musings about objectivity and personal storytelling. Thank you Roxanne.

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25 Lessons from the History of Nonviolence

Posted by on Jun 16, 2011 in Random Thoughts | 8 comments

My last post, Mental Peacebuilding, referenced Mark Kurlansky’s book Nonviolence the Twenty Five Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea. At the end of the book he enumerates these 25 lessons in an easy to read manner. These are lessons about violence and nonviolence he has pulled from the pages of history as patterns reemerging continuously throughout centuries of narratives.

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Hypocritical Peacebuilding

Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Random Thoughts | 1 comment

I received an email from Jumo.com yesterday summarizing issues in which I have expressed interest. One headline entitled “Progressive Christian Group Rejects Gay Rights Ad” particularly piqued my interest because of the combination of the words “progressive” “christian” and “gay.” I clicked on the link and read the full article. It outlined the basics of a conflict between the proclaimed progressive Christian group, Sojourners International, and a New York-based organization, Intersections International.

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Casual Peacebuilding

Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Micropeacebuilding, Random Thoughts | 0 comments

As much as I hate to admit it, maybe the hippies were right. Maybe if we’d all accepted the “love in” as a genuine form of conflict resolution, the world would be a more peaceful place. Just take the endangered Bonobo monkeys for example. These monkeys are 98.5% similar to humans and therefore fight, but before a fight becomes violent, they engage in an interesting mediation strategy. No, they don’t talk about their feelings, use “I” statements, practice active listening, or negotiate a settlement. They have sex. Brief, but apparently meaningful, sex. After an encounter, all problems are then solved and they can go about their other daily Bonobo activities, no hard feelings. I’m not sure the human world is ready for this approach, but just throwing it out there as an alternative. So, remember the Bonobo next time you’re trying to resolve a conflict.

Watch this short Nightline video to get a lesson in Bonobo peacebuilding.
Bonobo Chimps Practicing Conflict Resolution

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The Problem with Peace

Posted by on Apr 24, 2011 in Random Thoughts | 0 comments

The Problem with Peace

People often ask me what I studied in graduate school. International studies gets a knowing nod, conflict resolution is often received with a confused look. “What do you do with that?” people ask, not out of rudeness, just curiosity. I want to respond with, “build peace,” but am certain this answer will be unclear, insufficient, and seem too idealistic, even futile or childish. Perhaps this is because “peace” conjures us images like this:

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