21 March 2011

Season of Nonviolence – Day 51: Advocacy

Welcome to Day 51 of the Season of Nonviolence – 64 Days of peaceful wisdom honoring the lives and nonviolent principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez.

Nonviolence begins with learning how to be less violent and more compassionate towards ourselves. We learn by building the courage to speak and act with respect, honor and reverence for our own being.

Day 51: Advocacy

"[Coretta Scott King] was her husband's partner in life and shared his commitment; after his death, she ceaselessly promoted his advocacy of nonviolence and protected his legacy." ~ Julian Bond

The World English Dictionary defines advocacy as "active support, especially of a cause". Certainly, Martin Luther King was an active supporter of both equal rights and peace during his life. Activity is required for true advocacy. It is one thing to sit in our homes and think peaceful thoughts, but praying for peace and changing our beliefs and behaviors to become more peaceful are acts of advocacy that have demonstrable power to make real changes in our world. Our world grows more peaceful as each of us finds more peace within ourselves.

"When someone stands up to nonviolence," says Thich Nhat Hanh, "a force for change is released. Every action for peace requires someone to exhibit the courage to challenge violence and inspire love." Today be an ally. Without blaming or judging others, speak out for those who are disrespected.

Contemplate or journal about actions you are able and willing to take to create a more peaceful life. Remember that peace begins within. You will experience greater inner peace through ongoing meditation and spiritual practice. Are you willing to be an advocate for peace?

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