This is the story of the International Day of Peace observed every year on 21 September. In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by unanimous vote establishing the International Day of Peace as a day of ceasefire and nonviolence. In 2002, the UN officially declared September 21 as the permanent annual date for the International Day of Peace.
The day has grown into a personal and planetary pursuit towards peace.
After watching the violence on the evening news, observing Peace Day may seem inconsequential because those guys fighting over there will never listen. Here are three reasons why this is not true: 1) Your actions have a powerful impact, and 2) We can’t blame “those guys over there,” and 3) Peace begins and ends with you.
First, the question of whether observing Peace Day is inconsequential reminds me of the concept of “slacktivism,” which I wrote about in my blog post about Kony 2012. Slacktivism is a pejorative term describing “feel-good” acts in support of a social cause with no practical effect other than to make the person feel self-satisfied.
Let it be known: the concept of slacktavism is utter poppycock.
When you set the genuine intention to give back and improve yourself, your community, or others in the world, then you will make an impact. If you observe Peace Day with the true intentions of adding more peace to your life and then world, then vibrations of peace will be spread.
When your intentions are a pure desire to give back, you will make this world a more lovable place to live, and the overwhelming majority of people I encounter want to give back because they care – not solely to feel good about themselves.
Second, sometimes it’s easier to spend our time thinking about who’s to blame for the violence in the world than to ponder how we can spread peace. So who is to blame? Those guys over there? Guns? Dictatorships? Governments? Gangs? Poor people? Rich people?
Instead of focusing on people or institutions, let’s point a finger at emotions: fear, judgment, bigotry, dominance, lack, hate, and greed. These are the feelings that lead people to commit violent acts.
The beauty of living on Planet Earth as carbon-based life forms is we are but energy, and the emotions we emit are energy. Feelings of love, acceptance, abundance, forgiveness, and unity are among the highest energy frequencies humans can transmit. Fear, greed, and hate are among the lowest.
By focusing our energy on love and unity, we create an energetic vision for Planet Earth that says: it is no longer OK to harm another living being as a way to resolve a dispute – we choose peace. In this new vision we use consensus building, forgiveness, love, and non-judgment to reach solutions all parties can agree with.
Third, peace occurs at every step, one day at a time, and starts with you. The following are 6 potent acts of peace for you to take in observation of Peace Day:
1) Make peace with someone in your life. The theme of this year’s Peace Day is, “Who do you need to make peace with?” Take some time out of your day to answer that question, and set the intention to make peace. Is it a co-worker? A family member? A group of people? An institution? Consider how you can make peace and forgive.
2) Meditate on peace. At 12:00 noon on Saturday, 21 SEPT, people around the world will be sitting in silent meditation on peace. If you’ve never meditated before, don’t worry. Find a quiet space, close your eyes, take deep breaths, and exhale feelings of peace from your heart.
3) Spread the peace word. Email tweet, post, instagram, or pin a message to your network that Saturday, 21 SEPT is Peace Day. Share this blogpost or the Shanti Pax website that will be live-streaming the days events.
4) Complete one random act of kindness. Put money in the parking meter next to yours. Leave a plate of cookies for your letter carrier. Buy flowers for the barista who makes your coffee in the morning. Do something nice for your spouse. Call an old friend and tell them how much they mean to you. Do something kind and expect nothing in return.
5) Be kind to yourself. Resolve to be kind to yourself for the day and to quiet your self-critic. If your inner critic has been hounding you for not accomplishing enough, not eating right, not exercising enough, or not being talented enough, resolve to gently quiet the voice and make the following affirmation: “I love and accept myself. I am exactly where I need to be in life. I am doing my best.”
6) Do what makes your heart sing. Spend a little time doing something you’re passionate about. Do you enjoy writing poetry? Painting? Singing? Taking your dog for a long walk in the forest? Do something that is a true expression of your higher self. Don’t do something your kids or spouse enjoy – do what makes your heart sing.
The ultimate goal of Peace Day is for every day on planet Earth to be a day of peace. We have to know it is possible in our lifetimes, and it will be possible. We have to believe that our individual actions have lasting impact, and they will have a lasting impact.
Post a comment: What are your thoughts on slacktivism? How do you feel after you watch the evening news? Do you ever find yourself playing the blame game? How will you observe Peace Day?
Take action: I challenge you to take the 6 actions of peace highlighted above (and any other inspired action) between now and the end of the weekend – with most activity focused on Saturday, 21 September. Post your Peace Day plans and successes below.
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Remember, it’s the little changes you make in your daily life that bring greater peace to the whole.