Thursday, February 24, 2011

Peace, man.

I grew up in the love and peace attitude of the seventies. John Lennon had sung about it, the radio played songs with beautiful, innocent lyrics: "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair".
We listened to Simon and Garfunkle tell us:

Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war
I dreamed I saw a mighty room
The room was filled with men
And the paper they were signing said
They'd never fight again

Everywhere I turned as a young teenager, was love, and peace. We wore the peace symbol on our Levi jeans back pocket, we made the sign when our photos were taken. I still do.

My hair was waist-long, straight and golden. My skin was tight and brown, tanned from hours spent running on the beach with my dog. Freedom was endless, and as the days blurred into years, my cheesecloth shirts grew holes, and my leather handmade sandals grew thin, but still the message was the same. Love one another.

Peace, man.

I wore no makeup, I ate healthy food; apples, mostly! Slogans like free love, and stickers telling us to “Save water! Shower with a friend” only reinforced the society attitudes that everyone should love one another. My dad was a priest, and would tell me solemnly, with his hand on my shoulder; Jesus said Love one another. That’s all. Just love one another.

I totally got it.

Now as an adult, I don’t get why this generation of spoilt, over indulged, over educated kids, hate each other so much. Why are they so full of aggression, and depression? What happened? What the hell happened? We brought them up, so wouldn’t we have passed on our values to them? The internet happened. That’s what. Violent video games, so called ‘friends’ you never met, or saw, happened.

Your opinion on everything and anything was able to be ‘out there’ in cyberspace, your thoughts and ideas were blogged and broadcast on social media sites. And then trolls began; strangers bagging your ideas, slagging off with contempt and hatred and over-reaction to your opinions. So we stopped giving them. We withdrew.

Although we might reach out even further with other social networking, we are now expected to be totally available at any given point in time; on mobile phones, and the net. We don’t have any special place for ourselves. We haven’t the time, or the energy to honour our own selves. Instead of running along the beach with the wind dancing in their hair, my sons sit in front of their computer screens, chatting, working, studying to get ahead. Where is their freedom?

Why do I have to be fearful when they go to the city at night? That they might be glassed, or stabbed, or punched. I am sure my sons are quite capable of looking after themselves, but neverless, I do worry and fret. Young people at university are on anti depressants. Why? Why aren’t they coping?

Why are young girls called Princesses? Why do they have a birthday party I can’t even afford, at age five? What on earth do you do for their birthday when they become teenagers, or *gasp, an adult?

Why do we as a society so easily complain? Why is my city full of whingers and knockers?

Why are we so intolerant of each other?

Love one another. It’s a really simple message.

A worldwide Day Of Peace has been suggested, for Friday March 4, 2011.

It’s a really simple message. Peace.

The young man behind this idea, Stephen Danger Shoemaker says:
"I have an idea... for a day of peace. Wouldn't it be amazing?
Just one day in the year where we all held our tongues.
A day where we ignored others' shortcomings and made a valiant effort to be kind and understanding.
A day where we all got along. It's sad that we are all at a point where we should do this, but it's even sadder to know that we easily could every day, but refuse to do so.

My proposition is simple:
One day, March 4th, we all stick to three simple rules that will make the world a little bit more bearable. Feel free to partake in this before and long after then; the only reason I have the event set that far into the future is because I want word to spread and allow this to have as big of an impact as possible.
This event is to take place everywhere we go in the world, preferably all the time.
Rule #1.Say not a single unkind thing about anyone or anything. If at all possible, try not to even think a nasty thought. If we do, reflect on why it was that we thought to say it in the first place.
Rule #2.Show everyone we cross paths with some genuine human compassion. Be it with a smile or kind words, just spread some love.
Rule #3.Make not one person the exception to the rule. Not everyone deserves to have roses thrown at their feet and have a holiday in their honor, but nobody deserves to feel alone. Reach out. Talk to someone new. Care about them, and we will be cared for in return.

Peace, man.

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