It almost seems as if the world is spinning faster at this time, and one can easily feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of hurricanes and earthquakes, wars and famine, and now the spreading avian flu, with confirmed cases in Turkey and Romania as the first European countries to be affected, and concerns that it might mutate and affect humans on a large scale.
What can one do when need all over the world feels so overwhelming, and our efforts and donations seem little more than drops of water rapidly evaporating into the air?
Amid the flurry of activity and peace outreach work that engage many of the members of the Bridge another conversation takes place, an ongoing one, but one that does not usually make it into the monthly View. And yet it feels increasingly important. It manifests as thoughts about peace in our own lives, and the need to walk our talk as we go about our daily tasks, and also as inquiries into what, if anything, do peace marches and rallies accomplish? Really?
Jean sent us this message:
In order for me to give my answer, I first need to give a little background. During the 1970s, I was trained in conflict resolution and community organizing by a school, Upland Institute, that was then part of the University of Pennsylvania. I also participated heavily in anti-war activities against the Vietnam War.
One result of this training was that when I had a dream on the morning of September 11, 2001, about being in the control tower of a major airport while air traffic control people were dealing with an emergency, I had to ask myself what I was doing in the "control tower," just standing there watching.
That, for me, was the first question I needed to answer. Why, if I had the means to control a situation, was I just standing around watching?
My answer to THIS question (as, I fear, the answer from most anti-war activists) was that I had become complacent. I had long ago given up on the idea that marches and rallies really changed anything, but then had succumbed to the notion that the world was running just fine.
So then we get to the question of last month's March on Washington. I've already said that a main reason for me to go was to see the other members of the Bridge who were there. But I realized, while I was at the March, that there was another big reason for me to be there. By now, in the face of the world situation (and I am talking here not just about war, but about economics and world disaster...like the current disaster in Pakistan and other parts of southern Asia from Earthquake), what I am seeing is that people are waking up, as if from a long sleep.
Now my first response to the U.S. war machine moving into Afghanistan and then into Iraq was not to march. It was to call upon my dreaming friends to dream up some peace. And I still believe that one of the most powerful weapons around is the mind of just one dreamer.
But this time, when I went to Washington, I was awed by the variety of people I saw. All different races, all different ethnicities, all different ages and backgrounds. And THAT I think is the importance of the march...not just in Washington, but everywhere. Once again coalitions are being built, and people are talking to one another about what might be done to turn things around. That was the excitement of the March on Washington, that and the fact that people who previously had thought of themselves alone in the struggle could look on the faces of a million other people who shared a belief with them. I think that the March had little to do with convincing politicians.
Like you say, there has been almost no commentary on the March in the public press, not exactly a surprise given the fact that 98% of the media is owned by five large corporate entities, including General Electric, which is currently selling arms in both sides of the conflict.
So then the question might become: How is the word spreading, if the media is not reporting the news? It's happening through people like us. And the pace of people listening is being accelerated as the price of oil goes up :))
One major difference I've seen between the activists of the new millennium as compared with activists of the seventies is that, during the Vietnam War, anti-war protest arose from the universities. The people who protested were college students. Today, the anti-war sentiment seems to arise from groups of people less frequently thought of as intellectuals: groups of moms, groups of disaffected military people, ethnic and community groups of all kinds.
Jody sent her pictures from the Washington Peace March to Liz, who has put them up for all of us to see:
"I loved the pictures, Jody," said Valley, "it was a great experience getting to participate in that action in D.C. I think I am still trying to come down from it all. So wonderful to get to see Jody and Jeremy and Jean, what a treat!
"It made me feel so grateful to be a part of this community and the wonderful caring people that dream and debate and dialogue with one another while exploring ways to care for each other and create peace together.
"I just want to comment," Valley continued, "about the idea of what the demonstrations are actually accomplishing, like the one in Washington D.C.
"First of all it was hardly just a demonstration and march, there were many people there doing peace education on a variety of topics, there was political action taking place after the march, and people came to lobby, their senators and congressional representative, who had never done such a thing before. People are waking up to the fact that they have been lied to, and they aren't going to sit by complacently while they are told more and more lies. This activism that is going on now is at the heart of the main stream, and people are risking their status quo lifestyles to stand up for what they believe is right.
"Ultimately what may come out of this is not just an end to the Iraq war, but an actual peace movement where people begin to rethink the way they live and the choices they make, and how those choices impact others. When more people become self responsible in this way, then more peace will become a reality."
Jody, too, had some interesting news to share with us:
Just today Paul Hackett announced that he will in fact run for the US Senate contest in Ohio in 2006 against a very strong Republican. He will have a formal announcement on October 24, 2005. But the decision reported in the press today is firm and I am very happy about it. He is a strong man and has much integrity. As I am not a soldier and will never be able to take up arms nor go to war, I respect soldiers who have integrity and will speak out about a wrong war even at risk to themselves, career and family by doing so.
On the following day, Sunday the 16th of October, CNN Presents aired a programme, "Voices from the Homefront", in which they interviewed not only Major Hackett, but Jody too! Cameo George, who is the producer of the CNN Presents Special on the changing attitudes on the war, also showed up in Jody’s DaFuMu dream.
Jody also shared with us from her dream journal, the entries she made on the day of the DaFuMu dreaming:
It is quite fascinating that Paul Hackett and I have a woven fate of late. Had lunch with Paul last week as he was still deciding to run for Senate. Saturday (Oct 15, day of this dream) he came out: Yes! Tonight the CNN special, great press for Paul.
On Tuesday after we had lunch I encountered his campaign manager D Woodward on 4th street moving into an apt, right across the street from my office! Much synchronicity. Like meeting Paul at the airport as I was en route to the March in DC. Many lines of fate. Seizing the moment is the needed thing.
One piece at a time, but all the pieces matter. Peace, one step at a time. But all the steps make a journey and define a path.
The bridgeway path.
DaFuMu dreaming -- Awakening To the World
All the peace outreach work carried out by members of the Bridge in past few months -- we haven’t forgotten about Cindy Sheehan’s vigil outside President Bush’s ranch, nor the fact that Valley and the Crawford Peace House played a big part in co-ordinating that -- inspired the theme for the October DaFuMu dreaming: Awakening To the World.
I, myself, had an interesting experience as I had my perhaps first properly lucid dream – I awakened to the dream, which, and perhaps depending on one’s spiritual outlook, seems a rather potent metaphor. And not only that, but Ilkin, with whom I have shared dream experiences in the past, had a dream that had many similarities to mine. Dreaming with others in this way feels very important, too, because it illustrates all our interconnectedness – if we can only wake up to it!
Both Jean and Jody shared dreams, as well, with us all and with one another, and Jody commented about the link between hers and Jean’s dreams:
When I told her my dream on the phone, I described where I was as alongside an area that felt like a promenade or cliff near the edge of the sea, though I couldn't actually see the ocean. That's part of what resonated so strongly with Jean's own dream.
And about her own dream:
This is about the 3rd or 4th spider dream I've had in recent months since my son went to war. I know it's about the war and the CNN program and much coming to a head. My attitudes are evolving about this evil web, the spider, as sometimes I have killed it and often there are young, new spiders. Sometimes, like in this dream, I face the spider (which is also destiny) calmly, but take action at smaller levels.
The section of my dream about the sorting: I realized with all the intrigues and lies and wrongdoing being exposed and indictments possibly about to be made of Karl Rove and Scooter Libbey, as well as others, that I feel the curtains may refer to that which has screened the truth from us about the run up to the war and the false basis on which the decision was made and all the tragedy that follows. I've been reading and studying to understand and "crack the code" of deception. I feel a strong commitment to doing this and then to speaking out about this deception and doing all in my power to help bring the war to a close and the perpetrators to justice.
In the week following the DaFuMu, the fact that we really seem very close, only a mouse-click away even while we live on different continents, was beautifully illustrated when Kotaro in Japan and Ilkin in Turkey reported about the many earth tremors these two regions are experiencing right now, and received instant feedback from other members of the group. Although most of us have never met, the care and affection between members feel very genuine, and it really does feel as if the world, even while appearing to spin out of control at times, also seems much smaller, and the events that once took place in distant lands now happen in our friends’ living rooms!
The World Dreams Peace bridge is open to all people who dream of world peace:
or discussion group: firstname.lastname@example.org