Asia West Pacific

Life Continues to Offer a Space for Friendship and Safety

By Arcie Pararuan and Christian Lina as interviewed by Kins Aparece

Arcie Pararuan and Christian Lina as interviewed by Kins Aparece

Last December 21, 2020, Arcie Pararuan and Christian Lina, the core of the Christian Formation Team of the College of the Immaculate Conception (CIC) met with Kins. Kins wanted to see how the Cultures of Peace tools had helped them. For five years, the College has integrated Cultures of Peace tools into its training sessions.

Arcie and Christian were thankful for the Cultures of Peace tools shared with their faculty and staff. Those tools helped them under the conditions of the 2020 pandemic, despite the challenging isolation and restrictive rules. They said when they interact with one another wholeheartedly it becomes easy to notice goodness. And when they interact with children, they appreciate how direct, wise, and innocent the children are in their directness.

In adjusting to the new normal, stress levels were very high among faculty and staff redesigning the curriculum, and administrators trimming costs and staffing. They learned to see what was going on in the community and the school. Arcie and Christian supported people associated with the school to look for inner joy. They wondered whether they were the right office to carry out such a task. They decided to offer friendship and a space for people to breathe and be themselves. They wanted to gather everyone as friends, just like in the Bible story of the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-25).

They designed a community ‘kumustahan” (community catching up sessions) that uses the Cultures of Peace tools, such as stopping, good listening, affirmation, and light & livelies. Daily, September to November, from 9 am to 12 noon, they met with faculty and staff in small groups. Then in December they did an online recollection with Grades 7-12 classes. In January, they reached out to College students.

The need for human connections can still be addressed during the lockdown, especially if people are willing to share and listen to personal stories. They also noticed that people had incredible insights and stories to share. They got reminded that life flourishes even amidst chaos and trials.

Arcie and Christian appreciated the peace tools and the emphasis on practicing them in daily life. They understood the importance of embodying peace in daily life. Stopping was intentional in different ways through keeping silent, praying, taking walks, or naps. They understood that working as friends with each other and with the people in school is essential to this work. They are grateful for the attention received from friendship and reflecting together, and the clarity of mind and purpose that results.

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