Friday, 21 October 2016

Peace on the Table

Sheila Mann of Peace on the Table


One of the workers at my hummus factory is a Syrian refugee.  She arrived in Brazil ten months ago, and she is learning Portuguese.  When I interviewed the other workers, all women, first of all, I chose each one from a different religion (Jews, Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs).  I explained that it was very important that they understand why I was asking about which religion they belong to, and that this factory and project is about integrating all people together, and asked them to help the Syrian girl to integrate and learn the language.

I thought that they had understood, but when they began working, they didn´t try to include her in the group and sometimes they laughed at her because of how she spoke Portuguese. I called each one separately and explained once more about peaceful coexistence between people, and that I expected them to help the Syrian woman and treat her as equal, but it still didn´t work. So I decided to use another method.

I called everyone, including my partner (the only man in the factory) before the coffee break, gathered all seated in a circle.  I asked everyone to close their eyes and breathe deeply three times, then I began to tell them a simple story about a happy family gathered after dinner in the living room, when suddenly there were bombs falling in the other parts of the house, and the house was destroyed.  I spoke about the fear and how all the family ran away to save their lives, and how it was difficult to abandon everything and just run away to a safe place.  And the long route of this family to reach a shelter and the possibility of leaving the country and beginning in another place, like Brazil, and the effort to be integrated and to speak a language which is very different from theirs.  I asked the women to try and imagine themselves having to learn a new language such as Arabic for example, something so strange and different that it was really very hard to learn.

Peace on the Table
When I finished the story, I asked everyone to breathe deeply once again and to open their eyes slowly. Then I asked them to stand up and put them in pairs, standing in front of each other and to each hold up the arms of the one in front as a form of exercise.  Then I asked the one who was being helped to turn around, and the other one to massage her back, and then I asked the one who received the exercise and the massage to close her eyes, lean on the other and let her lead for a small walk around the factory.   When one finished, I asked the women to switch sides and each do the same thing to her partner.

I repeated these exercises every day and each time used another story.  It worked, they began to treat the Syrian woman better, because they touched her, had to lean on her with confidence to be led through the factory.  Now they are chatting more with her and have stopped laughing at the way she speaks. 

I was born in Beirut, Lebanon, I´m Jewish and emigrated to Israel in 1968, and in 1973, I came to Brazil, where I live now.  

I´m a visual artist and a specialist in Lebanese food. I had the idea to combine these two passions and realized an artistic performance in a well-known museum in Sao Paulo, where I made a speech for peace based on a statement by Martin Luther King Jr., and then served a unique Arab dish for almost 300 people.  

Recently, I decided that I was not doing enough to bring people together, so I invited my son-in-law to be my partner and opened a hummus factory, as I consider this dish  common to both Arabs and Israelis.  In the factory, we have only women workers, each one of them from a diferent religion.  

I hope that you´ve liked my story, and for more information, I suggest that you access my facebook page, Peace On the Table, or my videos on YouTube with my name Sheila Mann.  It was a great pleasure to tell you about my peace activities.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Interview with Rawahuddin Arif Khan

Rawahuddin Arif Khan
What does Islam require?

It was my pleasure and privilege to interview Mr. Khan, an imam at the Bait ul Ahad Mosque in Walthamstow, East London and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. 

Mr. Khan explained to me that, according to the true teachings of Islam, violent jihadism has no place in Islam.  Islam requires the promotion of human rights, which include freedom of religion, as well as peace, tolerance and love, and condemns terrorism.

Listen below for the interview.  It takes a few minutes to download, so please be patient.  Please share this with your networks and leave your comments below. Thanks.

Click here to listen to this interview

Click here for more blogs from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2016

 

Monday, 17 October 2016

That's Enough Green Pond Slime (How to Stop Being a Bystander)

Ceri Buckmaster
By Ceri Buckmaster

In this blog post, NVC practitioner and trainer Ceri Buckmaster explores how we can stop being bystanders when we witness conflict situations.

Click here to read this blog post.

Click here for more posts from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2016.

Ceri Buckmaster has been facilitating groups for over 20 years. She runs a project called Empathy Injection to increase empathic skills in communication.   She is an Associate of Open Edge Conflict Transformation (www.openedge.org.uk) and is developing a new website to host writing by all kinds of wonderful people around the world, about transformative practices (www.madetobe.company ready end 2016). She is currently certifying with the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC).  


Monday, 9 May 2016

The Miracles of Archangel Michael

I read The Miracles of Archangel Michael because I wanted to get more of a sense of this Archangel. I was not brought up to believe in angels and, as I have said before, I did not used to believe in them.
So I achieved my goal. I now have a much clearer idea of who Archangel Michael is, and of his energy and what he represents.
Archangel Michael is the angel of protection. He also gives confidence. If you are experiencing fear, you can call on Archangel Michael to protect you.
The Miracles of Archangel Michael mostly tells the same story over and over again – loads of people have narrowly escaped car accidents or had other problems with their cars, and Archangel Michael rescued them and protected them. If you drive a lot and/or have a fear of having a collision, driving off the road or some type of car accident, The Miracles of Archangel Michael is for you.
This book contains a couple of useful bits of information: you can call on Michael to provide psychic protection, and he will. Unfortunately, this was not explored very much in the book.
The other piece of information I found particularly useful is that Michael is a “Mr. Fix-It”. You can call on him when something,such as a household appliance or your car, stops working and he will make it work again. I have tried this several times, on my central heating and on my TV remote. It definitely worked, but unfortunately, the remote has now stopped working again. Michael, where are you???
If you don't know much about Archangel Michael and you want to find out more, this is as good a place as any to start.
However, the best book I have found about Archangels so far is Angel Astrology 101, which is a very practical guide. 

Please share this with your networks, and please leave your comments below.  Thanks. 
 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Are We Listening to Our Children? Part 2

Listening
This blog post originally published on the Advice 4 Parenting blog.  My ebook Affirmations for Parents describes ways parents can improve communication with their children. 

Are We Listening to Our Children?

I was speaking with a youth worker not too long ago who said that many parents have no idea what their children are getting up to, They send their children to school, to church or to the youth club, and they think their kids are okay, but they really don't know what their children do once they leave their sight.

This put me in mind of my church's group for young people, which I had attended as a teen. The group had a good reputation for being a place where teens could talk about what was on their minds. Youngsters would come from miles around to take part on Sunday mornings, even if they had no other involvement with the church.

I remember once saying to my mother, who was an elder of the church, that some of the young people were in gangs, or had friends who were gang members. She dismissed this, saying, “”Nobody at that church is in a gang”.

When you don't listen to your child and pay attention to what's on her mind, what matters to her, you miss an opportunity to bond with him or her.

Young people want to connect with their parents and share what is of value to them, Every time you avoid listening to your child, you miss what could potentially be an wonderful chance to strengthen your parental bond. Even if you don't agree with what he is saying, it is important that you show an interest in what your child cares about.

You may also miss the chance to address a very serious issue. I recall another woman, who worked with a group of teens, saying that her organisation was working on a project about sexual assault, and how to make the youngsters aware of the need to protect themselves. One day, her own daughter told her she had been assaulted by the mother's boyfriend some years earlier. When the mother said, “Why didn't you tell me?”, the daughter replied, “I did. You told me to wash”. The mother was obviously devastated by this.

Busy, stressed parents may be in denial about their children's activities, and even about threats they may be vulnerable to. When we make time to listen to our children, we have the chance to understand what is really on their minds. 

Zhana is a writer, publisher and Transformational Growth Consultant. Her new ebook, Affirmations for Parents, gives practical suggestions of how to have brilliant communication between you and your child. You can download it from: http://tinyurl.com/m4zwlxy

Click here for Part 1 of Are We Listening to Our Children

Please share this with your networks, and please leave your comments below.  Thanks.
 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Domestic Abuse – Behind Closed Doors

Domestic Abuse - Behind Closed Doors

43% of all victims of domestic abuse are repeat victims – they may have been assaulted by the same person within the past year. So a large number of them are already known to the police.

I recently watched the documentary Behind Closed Doors on the BBC. It followed the Thames Valley police.

Behind Closed Doors depicted deeply sickening real-life examples of domestic violence. One man beat his partner for six hours. And these men appear to show no remorse.

One interesting thing is that this documentary focused on examples of where the police have gotten involved – often, they don't.

I think that for NVC to be effective, it needs to be used before violence reaches this kind of level. See also: Violence Begins at Home.

For more about NVC, visit our London practice group.  

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Violence Begins at Home

Soldiers in Africa
Click here for an article about Nonviolent Communication (NVC).

See also:  The Need for Self-Connection.

We all know where violence leads. War, destruction and death on a massive scale, atrocities, terrorism. But where does it begin?

Violence begins at home. I am not just talking about overt physical violence.  But I AM talking about its ROOTS.  

Violence begins in our own minds. In the way that we talk to ourselves about ourselves.

Once we speak about ourselves in ways such as blaming, labelling and judging, it's a very short step to doing the same about others. In Nonviolent Communication (NVC), this is known as “jackal speech”.

When we jackal about ourselves, we disconnect from ourselves and our feelings and needs. When we jackal about others, we create distance between us and them.

Behind every jackal is an unmet need.

We often talk in terms of “them”, wanting “them” to change their behaviour. Wishing “they” would behave differently. But change begins with the self. NVC gives us the tools to bring about real, lasting change in ourselves and the world. When we change the way we communicate, the dialogue can change.

In NVC, needs are universal. We all share the same human needs. We all want to be safe and we all want our children to be safe. We want everyone's children to be safe. So safety is defined in NVC as a need. The problem is, we move away from needs, and jump to strategies to try to meet those needs. We conflict and disconnect on the level of strategies. That's how we, as human beings, end up going to war and experiencing killing, destruction, torture, atrocities, etc. (see above).

Once we connect with our own feelings and needs, we can connect with others', moving, as Ike Lasater says, “From Conflict to Connection”.


Please share this with your networks, and please leave your comments below.  Thanks.