Enter Into Joy

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Beautiful Struggle

“We must move past indecision to action. Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King

Dr. King is telling us to begin, to commit ourselves to knowledge and action – whether referring to civil rights, peace and justice, or to the world that transcendent art manifests. The work may be a struggle sometimes, but it is bathed in beauty . . . in the beauty of the encounters along the way, the surprising generosities, the explosive unions and luminous personalities of those we meet.

I wish Dr. King would’ve left out the ‘long and bitter’ phrase. It’s all perception. Is it bitter, or is it beautiful? Or both? It’s like Don Quixote – the adherance, beyond reason or immediate result, to ideals and hope. It’s a radical, knowing, active optimism.

I spent September 21, the International Day of Peace, in Los Angeles this year, as the guest of Lisa Schultz, COE (Chief of Everything) of The Peace Project and The Whole 9. Lisa is a force of nature, and has pulled together an amazing project, including but not limited to a competition and exhibit of 150 pieces of peace art (over 600 artists entered work), photos by Pep Bonet of victims of conflict in Sierra Leone, and a peace wall in Los Angeles. Let me catch my breath . . . Lisa also traveled to Sierra Leone, where she worked with local artists to create a peace wall, and, being an irrepressible businesswoman, talked with folks about ideas for a start up endeavor in tomato farming. (Read about this on her blog.) All this is quite simply amazing in its force and hopefulness. The exhibit will move to San Francisco and then New York. If you would like to support The Peace Project, please go to www.thewhole9.com.

I was invited to be a guest on the KPFK Pacifica radio show Beautiful Struggle, with hosts Michael G. Datcher and Kimberly King. Michael is the author of the best selling book of poetry, Raising Fences. As we see from the quote above, the show’s title ‘Beautiful Struggle’ comes from a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King. KPFK’s Beautiful Struggle is focused on African American social and political issues. Since I am literally about as white as they come, I was honored to be invited to talk about my work with Jeremy Gilley on the book Peace One Day, and about our work in Today Marks the Beginning with children in the MasterPEACE program. Michael’s first question to me was “Do you think peace is possible?”

Well, I know that It may feel discouraging at times, as though human beings will never be able to table or repress their negative, greedy and impulsive cruelties. 

But is it possible? Yes it is possible. Anything is possible. 

Why not dream BIG?
— Karen Blessen


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