A Persistent Peace

When John Dear was over here, he specifically asked us to pray for a book he had recently written, but was having difficulty getting published…his autobiography. So I’m more than delighted to say that not only did the publishing come through, but it is due out August 1. Read all about it, including advanced chapters, here.

There is also a possible film in the works over it, so continue to pray that all of that will come through.

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Pace e Bene National Gathering

Very disappointed to be missing this, but our baby will be due about a week before, so I’ll have to miss it…but get there if you possibly can, it’ll be absolutely fantastic.

PACE E BENE Australia GATHERING 2008

‘Engaging Nonviolence – Deep Listening to the Spirit’

Adelaide: Thursday November 6th – Sunday November 9th

An Invitation

To join with others and listen to the spirit as we share the journey of ‘exploring nonviolence’ and how it takes shape in our lives.

Right now we are seeking indications of interest in attending and invite responses via email, post, fax or phone

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Bob Myers

Pace e Bene Australia

3 Brierly Street

Warrnambool

Victoria 3280

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Phone and fax (03) 5562 3277

Mob: 0408 541 152

Email: bobmyers@aapt.net.au

Who else could you invite?

Who else do you know who shares the passion for this possibility? Who would wish to journey with the spirituality of active nonviolence? Who could you invite to enrich the gathering with their presence? For more details of the program, see below.

Accommodation venue details

The Monastery Conference and Function Centre

15 Cross Road, Glen Osmond SA 5064 Tel: 08 8379 3681 FAX 08 8379 8751 http://www.stpauls.mx.com.au

Set in tranquil, picturesque grounds in the Adelaide foothills “The Monastery” is only 10 minutes [5km] from the city centre and 20 minutes from the airport. Car parking is available on site.

Money matters of various kinds

Accommodation: is in single rooms with shared facilities…cost includes all meals from Friday breakfast – Sunday lunch (linen $10 extra).

Single (waged) $290 Single (unwaged) $240

Couple (waged) $550 Couple (unwaged) $420

If you wish to come a day early or stay later, please contact the Monastery direct).

Other conference fees – invitation to contribute

Our commitment is to have the conference accessible to everyone, and our invitation to ourselves is to equalize the costs as much as possible. We suggest an ‘access contribution’ (of what you can afford) from those living in or near Adelaide which would be used to balance out the higher costs of those participants who have to travel further, or who have other financial challenges.

We don’t want anyone to miss out through lack of funding. Remember the possibilities of resources from within your own community or network. Perhaps a parish, workplace or institution would help fundraise to assist with your costs.

There are some funds available to subsidise participation by people who might otherwise be unable to take part. Please let us know your needs.

Draft Programme Thurs Nov 6th – Sunday Nov 9th

‘Engaging Nonviolence – Deep Listening to the Spirit’

Program outline (so far… do send your ideas, needs and requests!)

Phase 1 Engage with the spirit of the gathering place and with each other
Phase II Engage with deep spirit within self
Phase III Engage with the spirit of our wider communities – going beyond ourselves

THURSDAY 6TH NOV

Evening

Gathering (from 6pm), welcome, settle in, introductions and grounding in place

Dinner informal pizza, nibbles, drinks

Sharing ideas and offers for daily morning prayer ….e.g. meditation, Tai Chi, yoga, other – whatever skills/gifts the group may offer


FRIDAY 7TH NOV

Morning

Morning Prayer – as per last night’s suggestions/offers

Breakfast

Welcome to country
Welcome to each other
and sharing the stories of our individual journeys to here

Lunch

Afternoon

Sharing Our Community Stories and Gifts

(Focus: how have we got to ‘here’ and what’s going on in our world now…)

· The Pace e Bene story – locally, nationally and internationally

· From Violence to Wholeness, Engage, Travelling With the Turtles….

· Recent stories…among which are: the Solomon Islands; Mainstreaming Nonviolence; Samuel Hill 5; FVTW in Scotland….

· Sharing our Gifts (What are the gifts you wish to offer this gathering given your journey to here?) – sharing skills, knowledge, wisdom, experiences…gathered along the way

· Other possible dicussion areas might include: gender and nonviolence training, rising militarisation in the region, refusal to pay war tax…..plus the contributions you bring of course….?

· Dinner

Evening

Discernment: invitation to one hour of ‘noble silence’ between 7-8pm

(after dinner) to discern movements within self from the day….

followed by

Sharing the insights between 8-9pm

SATURDAY 8TH NOV

Morning

Morning prayer as Friday
Breakfast

Sharing our Gifts continues (What are the gifts you wish to offer this gathering

given your journey to here?)
Sharing skills, knowledge, wisdom, experiences…gathered along the way

Lunch

Afternoon

Discernment: Invitation to one hour of ‘noble silence [after lunch] 2-3pm discern movements within self from the day….followed by

Gathering to share insights/further skills and other discernment


Evening

Dinner

“Celebration….”

SUNDAY 9TH NOV

Morning

Morning prayeras Friday..

Breakfast

Where do we go from here- Open space

2 sessions before Lunch

Sunday Lunch

Afternoon:

Closing Circle, Ritual and Departure (3pm)


MONDAY 10th Nov – optional Pace e Bene Australia AGM

TUESDAY 11th – THURSDAY 13th Nov – optional – APDS – Arms Expo NV Action

Pace e Bene Australia intends to provide an alternative ‘nonviolent marketplace’ in Adelaide during this weapons bazaar. We will keep you informed about how this initiative develops and invite active participation by our friends and supporters around the country. There will be a variety of ways to be involved, whether by being present in Adelaide or by creating solidarity activities in your own community.

leaders’ demons

The other day I was having issues and came across this passage in Let Your Life Speak. It just struck me as incredibly and deeply true of me, and so I keep it here for future reference.

If we, as leaders, are to cast less shadow and more light, we need to ride certain monsters all the way down, explore the shadows they create, and experience the transformation that can come as we “get into” our own spiritual lives. Here is a bestiary of five such monsters…

The first shadow-casting monster is insecurity about identity and worth…When we are insecure about our own identities, we create settings that deprive other people of their identities as a way of buttressing our own…

A second shadow inside many of us is the belief that the universe is a battleground, hostile to human interests. Notice how often we use images of warfare as we go about our work, especially in organizations. We talk about tactics and strategies, allies and enemies, wins and losses, “do or die”. If we fail to be fiercely competitive, the imagery suggests, we will surely lose, because the world we live in is essentially a vast combat zone.

Unfortunately, life is full of self-fulfilling prophecies. The tragedy of this inner shadow, our fear of losing a fight, is that it helps create conditions where people feel compelled to live as if they were at war. Yes, the world is competitive, but largely because we make it so. Some of our best institutions, from corporations to change agencies to schools, are learning that there is another way of doing business, a way that is consensual, cooperative, communal: they are fulfilling a different prophecy and creating a different reality.

The gift we receive on the inner journey is the insight that the universe is working together for good. The structure of reality is not the structure of a battle. Reality is not out to get anybody. Yes, there is death, but it is part of the cycle of life, and when we learn to move gracefully with that cycle, a great harmony comes into our lives. The spiritual truth that harmony is more fundamental than warfare in the nature of reality itself could transform this leadership shadow – and transform our institutions as well.

A third shadow common among leaders is “functional atheism”, the belief that ultimate responsibility for everything rests with us. This is the unconscious, unexamined conviction that if anything decent is going to happen here, we are the ones who must make it happen – a conviction held even by people who talk a good game about God.

This shadow causes pathology on every level of our lives. It leads us to impose our will on others, stressing our relationships, sometimes to the point of breaking. It often eventuates in burnout, depression, and despair, as we learn that the world will not bend to our will and we become embittered about that fact. Functional atheism is the shadow that drives collective frenzy as well. It explains why the average group can tolerate no more than 15 seconds of silene: if we are not making noise, we believe, nothing good is happening and something must be dying.

The gift we receive on the inner journey is that ours is not the only act in town. Not only are there other acts out there, but some of them are even better than ours, at least occasionally! We learn that we need not carry the whole load but can share it with others, liberating us and empowering them. We learn that sometimes we are free to lay the load down altogether. The great community asks us to do only what we are able and trust the rest to other hands.

A fourth shadow within and among us is fear, especially our fear of the natural chaos of life. Many of us – parents and teachers and CEOs – are deeply devoted to eliminating all remnants of chaos from the world. We want to organize and orchestrate things so thoroughly that messiness will never bubble up around us and threaten to overwhelm us (for “messiness” read dissent, innovation, challenge, and change). In families and churches and corporations, this shadow is projected as rigidity of rules and procedures, creating an ethos that is imprisoning rather than empowering. (Then, of course, the mess we must deal with is prisoners trying to break out!)

The insight we receive on the inner journey is that chaos is the precondition to creativity: as every creation myth has it, life itself emerged from the void. Even what has been created needs to be returned to chaos from time to time so that it can be regenerated in more vital form. When a leader fears chaos so deeply as to try to eliminate it, the shadow of death will fall across everything that leader approaches – for the ultimate answer to all of life’s messiness is death.

My final example of the shadows that leaders project is, paradoxically, the denial of death itself. Though we sometimes kill things off well before their time, we also live in denial of the fact that all things must die in due course. Leaders who participate in this denial often demand that the people around them keep resuscitating things that are no longer alive. Projects and programs that should have been unplugged long ago are left on life support to accommodate the insecurities of a leader who does not want anything to die on his or her watch.

Within our denial of death lurks fear of another sort: the fear of failure…The best leaders in every setting reward people for taking worthwhile risks even if they are likely to fail. These leaders know that the death of the initiative – if it was tested for good reasons – is always a source of new learning.The gift we receive on the inner journey is the knowledge that death finally comes to everything – and yet death does not have the final word. By allowing something to die when its time is due, we create the conditions under which new life can emerge.

I’m particularly guilty of the fear of failure and functional atheism bits. But then, as the cliche goes, knowing is half the battle.