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Lessons for Martin Luther King (MLK) 40 Days of Peace


Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live. Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external. We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live. So much of modern life can be summarized in that arresting dictum of the poet Thoreau1: "Improved means to an unimproved end". This is the serious predicament, the deep and haunting problem confronting modern man. If we are to survive today, our moral and spiritual "lag" must be eliminated. Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul. When the "without" of man's nature subjugates the "within", dark storm clouds begin to form in the world. (excerpt for MLK's Nobel Prize speech)

Let's reach to the internal again—explore nature, go inside ourselves and seek our own responses to ourselves, others and our environment. Take one or more of the suggestions offered below to heart or come back for the next forty days to do one activity a day.

  1. Write a peace haiku.
  2. Create something with found natural objects that symbolizes peace to you.
  3. Sketch two simple symbols of peace; place these near you for the remainder of the day.
  4. Create a collage out of different materials and notice how they beautifully co-exist in your creation.
  5. How do you define peace?
  6. Where do you find peace in your world?
  7. What does peace feel like to you?
  8. Where is peace lacking, what can you do to bring peace there?
  9. What are some actions that you feel are peaceful actions?
  10. Send a greeting card of peace to someone.
  11. Write down as many synonyms for "peace" as you can think of.
  12. Write a peace poem.
  13. Perform a random act of kindness today.
  14. Call someone you know is going through a difficult time and provide comfort/peace.
  15. Send a card to someone you know is going through a difficult time and provide comfort/peace.
  16. Listen to someone's difficult story.
  17. Give someone a long hug.
  18. Say hello to a stranger you encounter today.
  19. Hug a tree.
  20. Outside your home, put your hands on the living Earth and inhale deeply.
  21. Have a conversation with someone about what peace means to them.
  22. Have a conversation with someone who has different beliefs than you and simply listen to their perspective.
  23. Take a photo symbol of peace.
  24. Find a photo of someone who embodies peace
  25. Find something in nature that speaks peace to you.
  26. Read something (poem, short story, book, news article, etc.) about peace.
  27. Reach out to someone with whom you haven't been in contact with for a long time.
  28. Journal about what you see as the impediments to peace.
  29. Identify an organization in your area that is working on peace initiatives.
  30. Schedule yourself to volunteer for 2 or more hours of your time with an organization that works on peace.
  31. Perform another random act of kindness today.
  32. Sit by an outdoor body of water and contemplate peace.
  33. Create your own version of a peace symbol.
  34. Either outside or inside your home, plant some seeds.
  35. Looking at the landscape outside your home, identify one living being that best represents peace to you.
  36. Open the door or window of your home and listen to the sounds. Which sounds bring you peace?
  37. Tend to a small patch of Earth near your home. For example pick up trash, pick invasive species, water the soil or plants.
  38. Perform a random act of kindness for nature.
  39. Gazing up at the vastness of the sky, imagine your own role in expanding peace.
  40. If you ruled the world, what one thing would you change so that peace prevailed on the planet? Make a long-term commitment to peace today; write it down and post it somewhere in your home for at least one year. 

This is a special message from Marilyn Turkovich, Executive Director of the Charter for Compassion. We are always looking for ways to inspire you to create more ripples of compassion in your life and community. If you think of ways we can expand this concept, please reach out!   

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Friday, 02 June 2023
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