Saturday, February 11, 2012

Co-Creating Peace - Narrating Our Stories With Active Hope

By Jon Warner

'Given the fact that two thirds of Man's brain is dormant it never ceases to amaze me how little he uses the one third which is active. If Man pushed just a little harder what miracles there might be!'
Albert Einstein, 1932

We co-create our realities with every word, action, idea, with our ways of understanding, our connections and conflicts. Stories; histories, cultural connections are central to our identity, our agency, our capacity to flourish, our sense of belonging. Yet stories can be used to divide too and the forgotten connections between our stories, our faiths, our understandings can be said to be the most dangerous. A story written is only part of the story. Words, silence, music, dance, colour, even taste and scent can combine to tell a story, which can reconnect us to one another, to the environment upon which we depend and most deeply with ourselves and our source. A story woven by many voices, held in safe space, can share unspoken, even unspeakable truths. It can open us to envision futures our fears and conditioning tell us are impossible, or explore worst fears and memories from a place of support. I have seen it unleash powers within the human heart, mind and soul. For me it is in being more ourselves and in connecting with life's cycles that we see more life and encourage others to do the same. Whatever you choose to do, may you find joy and love within it.

The story can help provide insights into, even transcend aspects of interfaith conflicts within the connected roots and entwined branches. In almost all creeds and religions if you look closely enough and disregard that which seeks to lessen and control us we see the power of thought, action, envisioning. Many have translated writings and scriptures understanding that we as humans were moulded in the image of a divine oneness, as in part meaning of this is that we are imbued with the image-creating power of a divine whole. Within our imagination lies the power to create; to manifest and change our realities. Descartes said 'I envision therefore I am.' It is possible we are each a part of the universe envisioning itself. Inner conflict and outer conflict mirror and magnify one another. We are all born into the heritage of conflict. For those trapped in the hot points of the most complex, evolving and tenacious conflicts their journey is one of the greatest bravery. What can i say to them when my own experiences of war has been less relentless and for the most part non-life threatening? All i can say is 'please tell me your stories'. Whenever i do this i am often overwhelmed by the stories of hope, love, bravery and connection as well as those of loss, despair, hatred. In the circle, when these stories are interwoven new and renewed stories of healing are created, not by me, but by the circle.

These are archetypal tools for human flourishing, capacity building, peace-building and keeping. Do not leave the story-weaving in the limitations of the war songs. Working towards thinking, living and being in greater awareness, connection, peace, you may say closer to divinity or to your higher humanity, requires, in my eyes, creativity of thought and an ability to listen to life; it asks for us to be able think outside accepted ideas where it is appropriate, even vital so to do. It also asks that we find our ways of walking the path towards oneness and reminds us all beings are interconnected. No one can be truly free from want and fear until all are thus we free ourselves and enable others. Eco-systems and global currencies, hearts and imaginations are all connected. Living with awareness comes with a responsibility to see how all beings, lives and energies flow in and out of each other and how we are all part of a big 'oneness' with many currents and tides. To story-weave is to recognise and celebrate change; to be part of it; to be navigators of the tides and a part of the tides themselves. This is of course my own opinion and I welcome others.

To me story-weaving is about living with awareness; with roots and branches, creativity, connection, intent, focus and joy; about sending out and receiving healing and about actively visualising and working towards a future and inviting others to work on that plan. We speak and envision what we may help come to pass. We may receive and share from others, past and present through an eye and a voice within our hearts. We may see them written in flame, hear them in wind, reflected in water. They may nourish us like fruits from the earth. We are all linked and our actions, words, dreams and ways of seeing have a ripple affect. Just as when we give out smiles we welcome others to share being happy and the opposite can happen when we trade harsh words, I see that joy given to one can lift many, pain given to one can hurt many. For this reason I try to exercise my will through love, to protect others' right to live and be within love and to take the path of no or least harm. I am further researching multi-sensory story-weaving within conflict resolution, capacity building, education, peace-enabling and sustainability research. Please share your stories, ideas, inspirations and insights with me. Invitations for collaboration or requests for facilitation input on projects welcome.

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