DAY 22 Feb. 20: The thought for today is MISSION.
“My life is my message” said Gandhi.
Gandhi’s mission was to be nonviolent. What do you want to stand for in your life? Do you know your life’s mission?
Today: I will write down what I stand for in my life. I will note at least one way I can show, through action, that I stand for my beliefs. I will develop a personal mission statement and draw a picture of myself living my mission. I will share my mission with at least three other people.
Day 21 Feb. 19: The thought for today is INSPIRATION.
There are many people who inspire us.
Take a moment to reflect upon who inspires you and what characteristics you most admire in them. See the potential that is also within you and choose to cultivate these characteristics in your daily life.
“Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life BE Revelation.” -Eileen Caddy
Today: As I think of at least two people who exemplify the practice of nonviolence, I’ll acknowledge what it is I admire about them, what inspires me about them. I’ll practice these behaviors today so that other people may be inspired and I’ll share this insight with at least three other people.
DAY 20 Feb. 18: The thought for today is SELF-FORGIVENESS.
When I judge myself, I tend to believe that who I am is what I have done or not done, what I have or do not have.
I know that who I am is greater than all these things. I am greater than any mistake I have ever made.
When we get even the slightest glimpse of the unity of life, we realize that sitting in judgment of other people and countries and races, I’m training my mind to sit in judgment of myself.
As I forgive others, I am teaching the mind to respond with forgiveness everywhere, even to the misdeeds and mistakes of my own past. Practicing self-forgiveness is a foundation for practicing nonviolence.
Today: I will write an apology letter to myself for anything I have done to myself that I wish I had not, or ways that I have disappointed myself and not fully lived up to my potential. I’ll mail the letter to myself and when it arrives, I will read it in a quiet place.
DAY 19 Feb. 17: The thought for today is ACCEPTANCE.
“Resentment, fear, criticism and guilt cause more problems than anything else” says author Louise Hay.
By choosing not to judge myself and see myself as unique, loving, capable and bright, and by accepting myself just as I am, I will be modeling nonviolence. Any time I can take down the walls of defense, I open myself up to a nonviolent way of living.
“Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”
Today: As I reflect on what is difficult for me to accept – in myself, in other people, and in the state of the world – I’ll let go of any resistance or judgment, and allow myself to accept and acknowledge whatever I have been resisting.
DAY 18 Feb. 16: The thought for today is FREEDOM.
Civil Rights activist Diane Nash said, “Freedom, by definition, is people realizing that they are their own leaders.”
Take a leadership role today in your own life. Find a way where you can express who you truly are.
“When people decide they want to be free, there is nothing that can stop them.”
-Bishop Desmond Tutu
“To be free is to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Today: I’ll claim my definition of freedom. I’ll write a haiku poem about freedom.
DAY 17 Feb. 15: The thought for today is INTEGRITY.
“Do the Right Thing!” Spike Lee used these words as a title for one of his movies. When faced with a choice, listen to your conscience, and be willing to act accordingly, no matter what others may say. You know what is right to do; you can choose to do it.
Integrity asks for firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values and denies any form of corruption. Integrity is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. And when I am in harmony, I am a model of nonviolence.
Today: When faced with a choice today, I listen to my conscience. I’ll recall then write a short story about a time when I listened to my heart when the people around me were doing something else.
DAY 16 Feb. 14: The thought for today is GRATITUDE.
On her show, Oprah Winfrey frequently promotes the daily practice of gratitude.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” -Melody Beattie
Today: I will list five things for which I am grateful for and share these good things with another, then reflect on who and what made those experiences possible. I will write a “thank-you” note to someone who would least expect me to thank them. I’ll journal about my feelings with regard to this.
DAY 15 Feb. 13: The thought for today is REVERENCE.
Reverence for all life is fundamental to Ahimsa; it is the ultimate rationale for nonviolence – for how can one willingly do harm to that for which one has reverence – and towards which one has the love that reverence engenders?
“In the main, reverence for life dictates the same sort of behavior as the ethical principle of love. But reverence for life contains within itself the rationale of the commandment to love, and it calls for compassion for all creature life.” -Albert Schweitzer
“Reverence is a virtue that prepares us well to belong to one another; it reaches out to those who have given messages of not wishing to belong. When we approach others with gentle reverence, we bring gifts and share theirs with us.” -Paula Ripple
Today: I open myself up to a feeling of reverence for all forms of life, especially each and every person that I meet during the day. I’ll take a walk outside and experience the beauty that surrounds me as I BE with the sky, the plants and animals, as well as my brothers and sisters.
DAY 14 Feb. 12: The thought for today is HUMILITY.
Making mistakes is a part of learning and growing, simply an error in approach. Paradoxically, the only way we can begin to escape from the consequences of our actions is to stop running from them and to face them with fortitude and humility. In this sense, every difficult situation is a precious opportunity for learning.
When we humbly acknowledge our mistakes and reflect on what we have learned, it frees us from the need to be defensive.
Being free from defending our position creates an opportunity for nonviolence.
“The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of the truth.”
Today: As I gaze up at the stars tonight, I am aware of how small I am, how my life is but a fleeting moment in the vast scale of time and distances of the solar system and the universe. And in that moment of humility, I acknowledge that I DO make a difference.
DAY 13 Feb. 11: The thought for today is CREATIVITY.
The human soul’s natural desire is to create. The best thing you can do to a human soul is to express the natural desire to create.
Your life is your creative expression.
Creativity allows something unpredictable and joyous to express through you.
“Why should we use all our creative power? . . . Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” -Brenda Ueland
Today: I reflect on what I am creating in my life today by identifying at least five ways in which I can express my creativity joyously. I will create something that expresses my feelings about nonviolence.
DAY 12 Feb. 10: The thought for today is GROUNDEDNESS.
Gandhi said “To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”
Black Elk reminds us “Some little root of the sacred tree still lives. Nourish it, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds.”
This is how we are going to feel grounded, like a tree planted in the earth. Stand up straight and close your eyes. Imagine your body is a tree. Send down roots into the soil, feel the sun shining from above. Feel your branches and leaves blowing in the wind.
When we feel grounded, we feel secure in our environment; and when we feel secure, we are more likely to respond to a situation in a nonviolent way.
Being grounded helps us contribute to peace, to a culture of nonviolence.
Today: I will nurture a plant or plant a seed in, and for, the earth. When I am in a confrontational situation, I will recall that sense of being grounded and respond in a nonviolent way.
DAY 11 Feb. 9: The thought for today is CONTEMPLATION.
For at least three minutes, relax, breathe, and let your mind be fed by whatsoever is good and beautiful.
Many sacred texts tell us some variation of ‘your thoughts shape your reality’.
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” -Aristotle
Today: I take a moment to relax, breathe and let my mind be fed by what is good and beautiful. As I think, so I am! I will write down my thoughts and share them with others.