Salam . Peace . Paz . Paix . Shalom . Shanti . Ashtee . Fred . Sula . Hetep . Musango . Spokoj
January 9, 2003
I've always loved celebrating my birthday - the cards and presents, someone making me a cake, the attention, love, laughs and affirmation.
But this year, as my 51st birthday approached, I didn't feel much like planning a party. I wanted to do something else... something creative, something for the world, for peace.
51 Nightingales is my answer, my birthday present to myself and to the world.
In honor of my 51st birthday, I pledge to perform one small act of peace, at least once a week, for the next 51 weeks - an act of peace which brings peaceful feelings to me and at least one other person.
I'm starting today, on my birthday, by playing music on the Riverwalk in Fort Lauderdale, near my mother's memorial brick. It always brings me peace to visit this spot, and I hope my music will bring peace to passersby. Visit my 51 Nightingales Log to read about my experiences performing my 51 Nightingales Acts of Peace, and other thoughts on peacemaking.
Since time immemorial, from native cultures around the world to the story of Noah and the Ark to 1,000 Cranes, birds have been considered messengers of the Divine, and symbols of peace and hope. In that spirit, I choose the name 51 Nightingales to represent my peace project, and to describe my hope and intent to be a messenger or vehicle of peace myself.
I've found it a real challenge to think about and feel peace these days. Yet I believe it is all the more important to focus on peace now, and I believe that every person who focuses on and feels peace makes a difference. Scientists are now documenting the measurable effects of worldwide peace meditations! When we all think and feel together - onemindedness - it makes a difference on a planetary scale.
With all that is going on in the United States and around the world, I want very much to do something to make a difference, to stop war and hatred... I want to do something big. Yet I feel so small, powerless to make a difference against the monumental forces at work in the world.
But even as I feel that I, as one person, can't make a difference, I look at the lives of Anne Frank, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks or Sadako - the girl who first folded 1,000 cranes. And I know that one person truly can change the world.
I feel 51 Nightingales is in the tradition of 1,000 Cranes. I am committed to doing what I can to bring peace to the world, and to myself. With 51 Nightingales I'm choosing to start small, and create peace any way I can.
I invite you to become part of 51 Nightingales by making your own pledge to perform a small act of peace, at least once a week, for the next 51 weeks - an act of peace which brings peaceful feelings to you and at least one other person.
There is no limit to what you can do as a 51 Nightingales Act of Peace. The only criteria is that it brings peaceful feelings to you and at least one other person.
A few suggestions:
Do you have flowers in your garden? Leave a bouquet anonymously on your neighbor's doorstep or take one to the hospital for someone you don't know.
Bake cookies and drop them off at a food kitchen, firehouse or nursing home.
Take your guitar to a park or parking lot and play a song for passersby.
Write a letter of acknowledgement to someone who's made a difference in your life.
Tithe your time, treasure or talent to a peace organization, or any organization, project or cause you feel drawn to.
Babysit for a friend, and take their kid(s) to visit a peace pole.
Let the other guy have that parking space, or put a couple coins in someone's parking meter that just ran out.
Take out a little (or big) ad in the newspaper with a peace message.
Rent a billboard or bus bench and display a peace message. Or put a sign in your yard or window.
Invite a friend or two for a meditation in your living room, or a sunset stroll on the beach.
Bring a bunch of balloons to a co-worker.
Make a donation to a scholarship fund for a school, camp or conference.
Donate the things you no longer need to a women's shelter, homeless shelter or community center.
Help build a home for a family through Habitat for Humanity.
Pick up trash that someone else left at a public park, beach or
Be creative - think about what brings you peace, and then share that with another person!
And whatever you choose, give a 51 Nightingales Peace Pass to the recipients of your peace activity. Pass the Peace!
I've designed a deck of 51 Nightingales Peace Passes to hand out at 51 Nightingales Acts of Peace, to share with your colleagues, friends and kids, and to support you in your personal peace meditation and inspiration! Each Peace Pass features a different short phrase containing the word Peace, as well as a short explanation of and invitation to participate in 51 Nightingales.
The Peace Passes are printed on beautiful blue sky card stock, and are the size of business cards, so they're easy to carry in your purse, pocket or wallet. You can also wear them proudly by simply slipping your favorite peace pass into that plastic badge holder left over from your last conference or trade show.
Some of my favorites phrases from the 51 Peace Passes are:
and many more!
There are also Peace Passes available with the phrase space blank so you can write in your own favorite peace message.
My vision is that as these Peace Passes are given out, the people who receive them will be inspired to perform their own act of peace and pass the Peace Pass along to someone else. Pass the Peace!
You can draw a card from the deck daily or weekly to choose a peaceful idea to meditate on, or use as your theme for the day.
The Peace Pass decks are now available!
Each deck contains 51 Peace Passes, 50 with different short phrases containing the word Peace, and one with the phrase space blank so you can write in your own favorite peace message. Each deck comes nestled in its own beautiful sheer organza carrying pouch complete with ribbon tie.
The decks are available for $9 at all my shows, or send a check or money order for $9 plus $.99 shipping and handling for each deck with your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to:
Please make checks out to Laura Sue Wilansky
If you prefer a deck of Peace Passes all with the phrase space blank so you can write in your own personal peace messages, please note that on your order!
If you have any questions about the Peace Passes, please e-me at LauraSue@SilverNightingale.com
I'm so excited about all the warm, enthusiastic, positive responses I'm getting from people about this project. Click here to read about some of the things people are doing as part of 51 Nightingales!
I'm logging my 51 Nightingales Acts of Peace here on my website, as well as the acts that other people perform as part of 51 Nightingales. Please e-mail me your experiences with 51 Nightingales and I will post them here! Check in frequently to see what everyone is doing!
If you'd like to become a 51 Nightingales participant and pledge to perform a small act of peace every week for 51 weeks, please e-mail me. Click right here or e-mail LauraSue@SilverNightingale.com!
"There is no way to Peace, Peace is the way." - A.J. Muste
"Want to stop war, hatred, genocide? Do an act of kindness everyday! Try it, it's catchy!"
- Leonard M. Rubino, Success and Happiness, One Day at a Time
* What we focus on increases. This is true both spiritually and in the physical world. Scientists are now documenting the measurable effects of worldwide meditations. With so many in the world focusing on war and fear, I believe it is all the more important for those of us who believe in and are working for peace to keep peace in our thoughts and our day-to-day experience. I believe this will help bring peace into the world on a planetary scale, for everyone on our precious Earth.
* Personal empowerment and ability to keep going - I've been active in the anti-nuclear movement for decades. Knowing the potential for world annihilation that comes with the existence of nuclear power and weapons, I've had to come to terms with my feelings about that possible future. I decided long ago that the only way for me to keep going, to feel empowered and have a happy life is to believe that we do have a future, that some idiot with a nuclear bomb isn't going to drop it on my house (or anybody else's). Even if I'm wrong, I choose to believe this because it makes it possible for me to live now, and to continue to work towards a peaceful world. As Martin Luther said, "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."
* It feels good!
* "Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi
* Peace is one of the places where, for me, the personal and political come together. Many of the world's greatest spiritual leaders have taught that peace begins within. So we can make peace one step, one day, one person at a time. And the more of us who focus on peace, the more effect it has on the world. Through Onemindedness.... We can make a difference!
* Peace is contagious. Pass the Peace!
"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there." - Mother Teresa
Laura Sue's Nuclear Free Zone!
Taken in the Bridges of Friendship Garden in Christchurch, New Zealand
Origin of the Peace Symbol
James Twyman - The Peace Troubadour - A minstrel of peace and worldwide peace activist
Not in Our Name - working to stop the war against Iraq, and other wars
Code Pink 4 Peace - Women's anti-war vigil and fast taking place in Washington, D.C.
World Puja - Worldwide center for peace meditations and other peaceful activities
United for Peace
Common Dreams - great source of information about what's really going on in the world
Syracuse Cultural Workers - producing beautiful, inspirational and educational cards, posters, calendars, and lots of other great stuff
Swami Beyondananda - This laughable philosopher was once a political science major, and has come up with some of the best solutions to world problems I've ever seen - and some of the most fun to read, too! He recently announced that he is running for President!
Era of Peace - Patti Cota-Robles, spiritual teacher and worker for peace
Move On - The more I see of Move On's work, the more I like this organization. Their vision is broad, focused and comprehensive, and their actions effective, compassionate and well-organized.
Michael Moore - I think this filmmaker, rabble rouser and Academy Award winner (for "Bowling for Columbine") is one of the great minds and great educators of our generation - smart, funny, creative, and well-informed, he gets to the heart of whatever important matter he is examining, and helps bring the truth to light.
Arianna Huffington - This formerly conservative journalist, speaker and activist is doing some fabulous things, including a focus on corporate crime, a campaign against SUVs with the goal of eliminating our dependence on Middle Eastern oil (and the militaristic politics that go with it), support for numerous community-based poverty initiatives, and a lot more.
End the War
Patriots for Peace
JAM - Jews and Muslims and All - A non-profit organization of Jews, Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths, committed to and supportive of creating peace through sustained dialogue, education, social events, understanding and mutual respect. I have been attending meetings of Women's JAM since 2003 and really enjoying them! JAM also hosts a variety of wonderful activities like town meetings, picnics, community service projects and much more. The JAM listserve, which I moderate, is available here. I love this from the JAM brochure: "There is not one kind of tree, or one kind of bird, or flower, or religion. The creator loves diversity and so, too, do the members of JAM."
Peace South Florida - One of several South Florida groups whose peace events I'm participating in, PSF's mission is to create peace in a proactive, non-violent way.
Broward Anti-War Coalition
Concerned People Opposed to War in Iraq - CPOWI
Cities for Peace
Black Voices for Peace
Renaissance Alliance - Among other things, Marianne Williamson and the Renaissance Alliance are spearheading the movement to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace, working closely with the wonderful Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Visit their website for a whole world of Peace!
Department of Peace - To read more about the proposal for a new cabinet-level Department of Peace, visit this website.
Women in Black - Among other meaningful accomplishments, Women In Black has been nominated by the American Friends Service Committee for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize.
Lysistrata Project - wonderful ongoing women's project for peace and justice in the world
Lysistrata Project - Worldwide readings for peace of a new adaptation of Lysistrata by Aristophanes, taking place March 3, 2003 in 1029 theatres in 59 countries!
Whole Steps Toward Peace - Check out this wonderful grassroots peace project from Maggi, Pierce and E.J.
Women Waging Peace
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Women Against War/Women United for Peace petition
Coalition of Women for Peace
Tikkun - working for peace in the Middle East
Middle Way - working for peace in the Middle East
Peace Now - working for peace in the Middle East
Combatants For Peace - a wonderful peace group started jointly by Israeli and Palestinians who formerly participated in the cycle of violence through the Israeli Army or the Palestinian struggle for freedom
International Answer - International A.N.S.W.E.R. - Act Now to Stop War and End Racism
Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations
Bill of Rights Defense Committee - On May 6, 2003, the Broward County Commission unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Bill of Rights. Broward County is the 100th governmental body to pass such a resolution, and now stands as the largest jurisdiction, in terms of population, out of the 103 in the U.S. that have passed similar resolutions.
Wombats for Peace - Fun animation with a great message!
Make Cupcakes, Not War! - The campaign to elect Isabella Lamb President of the United States in 2040!
Veterans for Peace - If there's anyone who knows why we should not be holding wars, it's veterans....
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Camilo Mejia - Conscientious Objector and peace activist
Jimmy Massey- Marine Staff Sergeant and recruiter, Honorably-discharched Iraq veteran, and peace activist
Culture of Peace - Colorful website with lots of great ideas and resources for ways to create peace, great links too! This site has a LOT of info about a very wide variety of music for peace!
51 Nightingales is not affiliated with any of these organizations, however I am personally quite fond of and respectful of the work of Michael Moore, James Twyman, World Puja, Swami Beyondananda, Patti Cota-Robles and Syracuse Cultural Workers.
Human Peace Symbol at the University of Michigan
"This will be our reply to violence:
to make music more intensely,
more devotedly than ever before."
Check out the really cool anti-war billboards and other peace info on this Church of the Brethren website!
"You cannot simultaneously prepare for peace and for war." - Albert Einstein
Thanks for visiting 51 Nightingales! Check back again, I'll continue to add new material!
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