Give Peace a Year – Meeting fifteen

Examples from the group of peace lovers this week on Thursday 8th September

Give Peace a Year posts are the notes from in person meetings aiming to transform the surprising levels of violence I found had crept into my everyday suburban life. I invited people to join me to Give Peace a Year. We started in February 2016 and ran for 3 years. Many surprising transformations to our stress levels, health and relationships were had. You can read the whole story of how it all began with my hair conditioner here.



With the aim of peace, everywhere, starting here, now, transforming violence and conflict of needs  in life, one word, thought or deed at a time.

And because

it’s not the slog that will get us there, it’s the joy

for balance, things that warmed our hearts.


Starting where transformation is needed.

Examples from the group of peace lovers this week on Thursday 8th September


1.Use of the word grab.

It’s come into common usage and I used it myself the other day at a conference. I saw someone who had presented and that I’d like to ask about some things and said

‘Oh, I’ll just grab a minute with her’

A person I don’t know but who was standing beside me at the time picked me up on the use of ‘grab’ mentioning that that language could be heard as quite a strong, potentially violent thing to do.

I was pretty surprised both that anyone would pay that much attention to my language and extra surprised that a stranger would mention it.

We talked a bit more about it and I can see how I use the phrase unconsciously and actually the situation didn’t call for any grabbing in order for me to have a moment of her time.

It was quiet and there was no-one else around vying for her attention, nothing to stop me just asking whether I might have a moment of her time.

I wonder whether it’s come into such common usage because scarcity of time has become common. That it’s going to be the norm that if you want some time with someone then it’s going to have to be grabbed or snatched and have a hurried feel about it.

Encouraging and wonderful to see

At the Green Party conference people were willing and able to get together and work through issues where there was disagreement. So healthy. 

Also the use of an inclusion card. It allowed issues of inclusion to be raised easily and resolved on the spot. Like the repositioning of a sign interpreter so that they could be seen more easily and the addressing of language that was felt to be sexist.

2. Losing my temper

Two vans were parked half on the pavement close to the front of a couple of houses, on double yellow lines and partly blocking the entrance to a car park making it very tight and difficult for cars to go in. I got really angry. I said “you’re not meant to park there you know”  to the young men who’d pulled up there to get lunch from nearby shops.

They were quite dismissive and offhand and I got even more angry and said I would let the police know about their parking and took out my phone and made to take photos of their registration plates and position they were parked in.

It was such a minor offence and I was surprised at how angry I was about it.

I see that I’m really wanting more consideration, and the equality of access… the message that I’m getting from them is that their convenience being close to the shop was more important than others ability to get into the car park. Or in essence, I’m more important than you.

And then to wave me away when raising it with them added fuel to my unusually lit fire.

Consideration and equality of access… seem to be hot buttons for me. Who knew!


Much peace 

Walking the labyrinth at Woodbrooke.

Slowing things right down, giving things the time it takes to walk in and around and around and around. Starting with a question and walking the labyrinth with it. 

On the way in, allowing anything that stands in the way or blocks the answers to the question to drop away, not needing to know what they are, just that this is time for anything that needs to, to go.

Then in the centre welcoming answers, ideas or insights, receiving the gift of those.

And on the way out, insights about how to take whatever was received back out into service in the world.


3. Violent language in my head

On my way to a meeting I couldn’t find a parking spot where I’d planned and was likely now going to be late and suddenly found my head full of violent language… much swearing and blaming the town  over and over again and getting more and more wound up.

As we unpick what was going on, underneath it I was annoyed with myself for leaving it to the last minute, so there was no time left to find another parking place. I had to drive further out to find one and walk in further than I’d got time for.

If I’d allowed more time I would have actually enjoyed parking in the second spot as it’s close to the arts centre and I could have seen the new art there on the way past and enjoyed the walk too as it was a lovely evening.

Leaving things to the last minute is a tendency of mine, as is being late. And I have plenty of time, I don’t need to be rushing around.

Underneath the annoyance with myself, there’s a very tender part about taking time and giving things and myself due regard and allowing the necessary time for that.

Or not, as the case may be.

And whether the rushing and lack of time given equates to the value I place on them and myself.

I’d so like things to be more relaxed, and to be on time… to respect others time too and not keep people waiting or hold them up.

Mulling on this… gently though with this very tender exposed part


Not throwaway

Talking to a new friend, aged 94, on living well and dying well, she asked me about my work (the living well part) as a leadership coach. She had heard of but never met someone who worked as a coach and was delighted to be able to ask the many questions she had about the profession.

She listened intently, asked more questions for clarification and afterwards thanked me for telling her about my work.

I felt listened to and valued, like my words and what I had to say were important and that she was taking them in with care and would carry them off with her when she went.

Unlike a lot of conversations where words spill out and drain away, never really taken in…

Disposable conversation… words allowed to float off on the wind – the introverts nightmare – not this time.


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