DAY 29 Feb. 27: The thought for today is FORGIVENESS.
When we forgive, we do not condone hurtful behavior. When we realize that there is something within us that is more important than this hurtful experience, we are free to let go of the past and move on with our lives.
In doing so, we open our hearts to the humanity of those we forgive.
As we forgive others, we are teaching the mind to respond with forgiveness everywhere, even to the misdeeds and mistakes of our own past. And if I have treated a particular person badly, even if I can no longer win that person’s forgiveness, I can still win the forgiveness of myself.
“The results of forgiveness is the stopping of the recycling of anger within ourselves and in the world. Peace will come to the world when each of us takes the responsibility of forgiving everyone, including ourselves, completely.” -Gerald Jampolsky
Today: I am willing to let go of the past, and forgive those who have hurt me, and towards whom I feel anger. I will forgive myself too. Today, I will write a letter of forgiveness to someone (I do not have to mail it).
DAY 28 Feb. 26: The thought for today is LISTENING.
Can you stop what you are doing and thinking, and take time to truly listen to the feelings behind someone’s words to you? Being fully present for the conversation and interested in what that person is saying is a practice of nonviolence.
A component of Marshall Rosenberg’s “Nonviolent Communication” involves listening with compassion. The listener attends fully to the speaker’s words, while sensing the feelings and needs beneath the words. The listener is simply fully present, not trying to “figure out” what the speaker is needing, nor trying to “get it right.”
If I can listen to you with compassion, it is usually only a short time before you listen with compassion to me.
Today: I will be fully present to each conversation I engage in, and listen longer than usual – and with more patience – to what others are saying. I will give the other person my full attention, because nothing else really matters. I will look directly at the person who is speaking, without thinking about other things.
DAY 27 Feb. 25: The thought for today is GENEROSITY.
Mother Teresa said, “There is a hidden poverty more pervasive than lack of money. It is the poverty of the heart.”
Look at ways you can contribute to your family, friends and community through your generosity. You will see how your generous gift comes back to you.
The more generous you are today, the more generosity you will have tomorrow.
The more love you give, the more loving you become. The more generous you become, the less need to defend what you have, the greater your capacity for nonviolence.
Today: I will find three ways to give generously of my time, talent and resources to others. I will create a ‘Gift Certificate’ for someone.
DAY 26 Feb. 24: The thought for today is RESPECT.
Gandhi taught “Language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.”
Respecting yourself and others means making a choice not to use profanity or ‘put downs’. Let our language be based on respect for those we address.
The life of peace excludes no one. Let your words reflect your respect for others – speak from the depth of your heart and soul. The other side of respect is listening – listen to others with the respect that what they have to say matters. The act of listening has a calming effect on others, even if they are in a heated tirade, just listening models a nonviolent response.
“Courtesy towards opponents and eagerness to understand their view-point is the ABC of nonviolence.” -M.K. Gandhi
Today: As I interact with and observe people during the day, I will be aware of ways in which I respect each person. I will draw a picture of someone for whom I have a great deal of respect, then frame the picture with words that describe this person.
DAY 25 Feb. 23: The thought for today is FRIENDLINESS.
To humorist Will Rogers, strangers were simply friends he hadn’t met. View those you encounter today in that light. Every time I am friendly toward another, I help break down the wall of separation and I contribute to nonviolence.
Today: I will make a new acquaintance, befriend a stranger. I will go up to someone I haven’t met yet and say “Hi friend.”
DAY 24 Feb. 22: The thought for today is HARMONY.
Choosing NOT to engage in any form of gossip today contributes to harmony.
Choosing to see the good in others rather than finding fault leads to peaceful relationships.
Look for the good in yourself and in others. By making these choices, we are contributing to a culture of nonviolence, we are being a model of peace.
Today: I will choose to see the good in others instead of finding fault. I will spend the entire day without criticizing anything or anyone; if I am tempted to criticize, I will write down the criticism rather than speaking it, then later discover where the criticism is coming from within me.
DAY 23 Feb. 21: The thought for today is PRAYER.
“Prayer from the heart can achieve what nothing else in the world can” said Gandhi.
Begin and end the day with a prayer for peace. Let peace begin with me.
Saint Francis of Assisi said it this way:
“….. make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.”
Today: I will begin and end the day with a prayer for peace. When I say goodbye to people, I will say “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” I will create a space in my home dedicated to prayer for nonviolence.
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.