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14 March, 2013

Finding one’s peace potential

The beautiful paradise island of Barbados with its Sun, Sea and Sand - but even in 'paradise’ women and girls need to find their own peace potential.
The beautiful paradise island of Barbados with its Sun, Sea and Sand - but even in 'paradise’ women and girls need to find their own peace potential.

The beautiful paradise island of Barbados with its Sun, Sea and Sand - but even in 'paradise’ women and girls need to find their own peace potential. 

A Creators of Peace Circle taster session on the 23 February in Barbados brought together 15 teenage girls facing difficult challenges in their lives. This was an opportunity for them to share their Image of Peace, and reflect on ‘what destroys peace and what builds peace, in personal relationships, at home, or in the community.’

As the group gathered, sitting on the floor in a circle together to create a safe space and an atmosphere of respect, the girls came up with the ground rules on what it takes to build a strong community. Passing a ball of string between them, the girls created a web, each saying one word (such as ‘respect’) before passing on the ball.

It started off slowly, as the girls settled themselves. In groups of threes they explored ‘what destroys peace and what builds peace,’ based on the principle that everyone is responsible for his or her own thoughts, words, and actions. The participants came to the session with ideas all formed of how to destroy peace. As they focused on the questions, it was remarkable to see how their energy level changed.

On the topic of what destroys peace, several girls shared that what really destroyed their peace was 'abuse’. Another said: ‘When people do not listen it destroys my peace.’

On what builds peace, in their own words they came up with what would help build peace in their community: respect, honesty, patience, humility, kindness, forgiveness and self-control.

One theme emerged: for each of us it starts with inner peace, in order to be effective.

The facilitators explored with the girls how they could incorporate in their lives the concepts of ‘peace begins with me’ and of inner listening.

Experiencing silence through meditation, they practiced sitting motionless, quieting the mind, through inner listening. They learned about the benefit of listening, not only to what friends and others are saying but also to the Voice within, to the source of wisdom, which lies within all of us, that can provide guidance for our specific wants and needs.

The workshop offered them new knowledge and information on peace and for some it was a moment to explore their personal responsibility in building peace personally and in their community. Their listening skills also improved as they experienced quiet reflection in the sessions. Some expressed how they left energized with new awareness and skills.

Monica Ellis lives part of the year in Barbados and London, and is a member of the UK Creators of Peace team and is an international coordinator.

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