Friendly Book Collaborative

Power of Goodness Goes Global

October 1, 2020

Power of Goodness has gone global.

These Power of Goodness events were two-hour Alternatives to Violence (AVP) mini-workshops organized around a theme and a story, using the powerful AVP session format: welcome, agenda preview, introductions, agreements, activity, game, reflection, and closing. For the activities we read a story, discussed questions, and practiced skills or sought experiential insights.

The first global event was in English with the theme Peace with the Earth: The Power of Goodness, reading Planting Trees to Heal the Earth, by Janet Sabina and Marnie Clark on 27 September 2020 at 8:30am EDT. We had 34 participants who joined from Africa, North America, and Asia. Kins Aparece (Philippines), Nadine Hoover (USA), and Melanie Siaw (Malaysia) facilitated, asking: What kept Wangari going; why was Wangari so persistent? When have you persisted in doing something that’s right even though it was difficult? What would we have to change to live at peace with the Earth? Then we played Breakthrough to identify what blocks each of us from doing the right thing, and what inner strengths do we each have to overcome that block. Then we identified what we can each do to make peace with nature.

The second global event was also in English with the theme Reconnecting After Violence: The Power of Goodness, reading Reunion, by Zalpa Bersanova on 24 October 2020 at 8:30am EDT. There were around 48 who joined the training from Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Kins Aparece (Philippines), Nadine Hoover (USA), Shukulu Murekatete, and Francine Muhawe (Rwanda) facilitated, asking: Why did the family accept Alexey on his last visit? Who do you feel or are told are your enemies, and what’s one thing you can do to make friends with someone from that group? We told stories of reconnection in small groups and studied those stories to identify key elements for reconnecting, then each person named one thing I do to contribute to the community.

The third global event was Equality of Humanity: Bridging Divides. To include more people we scheduled two times on 4 December at 9:00pm EDT and 5 December 2020 9:30am EDT, organizing translation in relevant languages: first English supporting Nepali, Indonesian, and Korean, and second English supporting Spanish and Russian, with some Kinyarwanda. We had 106 participants for both events. We read Mercy, A Poet’s Memory, by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, which reinforced insights from our last session. Kins Aparece (Philippines), Nadine Hoover (USA), Shukulu Murekatete, and Francine Muhawe (Rwanda) facilitated, asking: Why did the policeman let the woman pass through to the soldiers? When have you overcome your prejudices to reach out to help someone? Who do you feel or are told is your enemy? What is one thing you can do to make friends with them? We then practiced empathy in small groups, stating what we feel and need and having a companion reflect back what we feel and need to experience the effects of these simple acts. We played mirror in larger groups reflecting back a leader’s actions.

Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific committed to a multilingual-rich environment a decade ago. Most in-person workshops prior to the pandemic were in multiple languages, as a delight not as an inconvenience or burden. Multiple languages slow us down and allow each of us to experience the feeling of not always knowing what is being said. If we practice being in our whole core selves, relaxed and non-anxious, truly trusting others, and enjoying the moment, we may become more patient and less controlling. Multilingual environments require skills. We are grateful to the younger people whose minds flow as fast and smooth as their simultaneous translations and multi-platform technology uses. Without commitment, experience, skills, and enthusiasm this could be an exhausting burden. With commitment, experience, skills, and enthusiasm it is an absolute delight, enriching all of us and experiencing a world of peace.

December 2, 2020

A gift to go after the first two workshops was our Agreements to Practice:

Agreements for Peace

  • To live peacefully, I agree to practice:
  • Affirm myself and others; no put-downs or put-ups.
  • Stop, listen, and don’t interrupt.
  • Speak simply and honestly, without fear of mistakes.
  • Speak from my own experience, not others’ without permission.
  • Make friends, not enemies, with people like me and different.
  • Tend emotion, then speak directly to someone if in dispute.
  • Ask for and give hospitality, feedback and help.
  • Use what’s needed and share the rest fairly.
  • Use my rights to pass, privacy, and consultation.
  • Volunteer myself only, not others.
  • Care for each person, the group, the community, and the land.
  • Live in integrity with life’s transforming power.

We are grateful to all the people who attended and participated. Peace is possible with faith in the transforming power of the Living Spirit. We invite everyone to enjoy life and stay engaged in the life-long learning of calling us all into a healthier and more peaceful, conscientious society.