Crafting Gentleness

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A good week

This has been a good week for making connections.

It's important for me to meet people in person. I am not terribly interested in championing causes or organisations (does that make me a bad Aquarius?), but I am interested in championing particular textures of attitude or approach. Meeting people allows me to feel affiliations from heartlogic rather than justify them on the basis of headlogic. When heartlogic then gives way to heartpresence, the fun starts! :)

I had the privilege this week to finally meet Hetty Van Gurp, who runs Peaceful Schools International. Hetty was originally brought to my attention after she had a chance meeting with a friend and colleague of mine, Sharon Porter, after Sharon had travelled to Nova Scotia. They got to talking, and one thing led to another, and we all connected up, and so it continues.

The documentaries Teaching Peace in a Time of War (both on Youtube) give a good sense of what Hetty does. There's also an interview with the director of Teaching Peace in a Time of War, which I think is a great introduction.

Anyway, it happened that a friend of my Dad's, Kevin Cassidy, is a member of the Peace People, and I mentioned Hetty's work to him, and he invited Hetty to Belfast for dinner at Peace House on the Lisburn Road, and Sharon and myself got invited along as well. Sharon and myself met up with Hetty for coffee beforehand, and we also got to meet a colleague of Hetty's, Rick Lewis, which was an unexpected bonus. Rick works as a Safe Schools Coordinator in Palm Beach, Florida. I am very interested in his work on emotional climate in schools, on account of my own research interests relating to affectual registers, the tranmission of affect, and emotional intensity. A Google search for information about Rick also brought me to these sites:

Safe School Ambassadors

Crisis Response: Creating Safe Schools

What I find particularly impressive about Hetty's and Rick's work is that they do it voluntarily, they do not advertise, and they only go where they are invited to go. I have often wondered how to negotiate the notion of 'speak not to those who aren't willing to listen, for your words will be poison', and this seems to be a very practical way. Personally, I wonder whether doing such work voluntarily might be sustainable in my own case. I would hope that it could be, if I could find other ways to ensure that life and limb were sorted.

The dinner with the Peace People was a good night with good food in good company. Led by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan they are working to promote the Charter for a World Without Violence, an open meeting about which is being organised at Peace House on the Lisburn Road in Belfast on the 24th January, 2009, from 10am-6pm. Mairead also told me about the work of Glenn Paige and the Center for Global Nonviolence. Glenn's work looks very helpful for me, particularly his book, Nonkilling Global Political Science.

Doing a search for Glenn Paige also brought me to the name of Petra K. Kelly. There's a webpage dedicated to her memory at . Her book Fighting for Hope is still available, and the introduction to her book, Nonviolence Speaks to Power, is available online (PDF).

Other books I've come across this week on my cybertravels:

Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea - Mark Kurlansky

Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination - Walter Wink

Peace Is the Way: Writings on Non-violence - edited by Walter Wink

I'll try to comment on some of these as I get a chance to read them, although that won't be before the end of the year, I imagine.


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