An American Thanksgiving

     This Thanksgiving, some things I saw on the internet made me think more seriously about the first inhabitants of this land. One writer told the traditional Thanksgiving story of friendship and a shared meal with the usual chara…

Be the Change, Be Yourself

This guest post was contributed by George Cassidy Payne, the founder of Gandhi Earth Keepers International. He is also a writer, a domestic violence counselor, and an adjunct professor of philosophy. George lives and works in Rochester, NY. The world does not need more energy, cars, street lights, and computers. The world does not need more airports, superhighways, and mega cities. The world does not need more democracies and free markets. The world does not need more hospitals, medicines, and cures. The world does not need more agreements, treaties, and contracts. The world does not need more conversations, Facebook memes, and status updates. The world does not need more programs, grants, and scholarships. The world does not need more helpers and doers. The world does not need better high schools and colleges. The world does not need anything, not really. The world has everything that it will ever need. The world only needs to be left alone. Less tweaking and less tinkering. The world wants to be forgotten so that it can be lived. The world wants to be lost so that it can be saved. The world wants to be accepted just as it is. When Gandhi said be the change you want to see in the world, he meant be yourself. Change with the tide. Wash away with the current. Go away with the breeze. Take a breath. Become the void. Hold onto the anchor that steadies. For the world is changing all of the time. Be the change. In time, go with the world wherever it leads. Go with it. Do not try to stop it. Do not try to turn it back. Do not try to make it different. Rather change yourself. Turn as the leaves turn. Grow. Yearn for the sunlight. Stay rooted in the soil. Be one. Be the change. Be yourself. This is what Gandhi wanted us to understand. Elsewhere the Mahatma wrote: “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world—that is the myth of the atomic—as in being able to remake ourselves.” If anything at all, that is what the world needs. It needs people who are not afraid to remake themselves.

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A Story + A Request for Help

Dear friends, After three intense hours at a rally for white supremacy in Gainesville, Florida, three simple words “I don’t know” rang out with power. Aaron Courtney, who is black, stood across the lines from Randy Fourniss, whose attitude was proclaimed by the swastikas on his body and clothing. For three hours Courtney stayed with Fourniss, trying to reach him. He even tried to hug him, three times. Fourniss barely looked at him, much less let himself be embraced. That is, until the third try. Finally, Fourniss and Courtney embraced each other, and Courtney, in tears, felt the time had come to ask, “Why do you hate me?” Fourniss didn’t have an answer. Or rather he had the perfect answer: “I don’t know.” Imagine how scary, and how painful it must have been for Courtney to stay at a white supremacy rally for three hours. To even be there in the first place. And what it must have taken for Fourniss to admit that he had no rational basis for his hatred. That’s the measure of how effective Courtney was with his commitment to nonviolent discipline. It is a story of courage, dedication, steadfastness in love, and a willingness to hold up a higher image of who we are to one another. No wonder Arabic speakers call nonviolence ‘sumud,’ ‘persistence, or endurance,’ and Latin Americans talk about ‘firmeza permanente.’ We get to see examples of this every day, the world over. These are the kind of real-life stories that need to be told, shared person-to-person, and group-to-group, because this is who we really are. We need to be reminded of that. We need to remind each other every single day! It’s that tough out there for all of us. Perhaps this is why, even in the midst of a growing sense of demoralization in our political and socio-economic climate, we maintain an unshakeable faith in the vision of a more just, humane, and nonviolent world: because we see it in action. Every single day. Each of these victories is a victory for nonviolence everywhere. For you. For everyone. We believe the Metta Center has a unique ability to build upon these stories and draw out their lessons for individuals, groups, and movements, to help us all learn to use the unmatched power of nonviolence in our own lives. We share a larger, almost untold story that is unfolding in our midst, from the science that supports the power of nonviolence in our human nature, to its strategic import, its history and vast potential—developing and drawing out the simple but powerful tools of nonviolent action. And we’re working with dedicated, courageous, and sincere people all around our beautiful world. You are one of them. If you’d like a glimpse of our exciting plans for the next three years (or one hundred!), have a look at www.mettacenter.org/plans2018. We will need your help and support as we move forward, full-steam ahead, to realize those plans. We are incredibly proud to be your home […]

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We Are Enough: Newsletter

By the end of November, in this season of thanks and giving, we might begin to feel like we’re on gratitude overload! Everyone is talking about gratitude—but what if we stop for a moment to consider how truly revolutionary that is? In this spirit of radical gratitude, we are grateful to all of you for your support and collaboration in these efforts towards creating a more just and peaceful world. Turn to our latest newsletter for a generous dose of inspiration. Read the November 29, 2017 newsletter. Get the Metta Center’s newsletter. Access the newsletter archives.

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