Imagine the world without anger, without greed. We have the power, the tools, the skills and the resources right now to build a peaceful world, where people live in harmony with the Earth and each other. This blog explores ways we are doing just that, one post, one change, one day at a time. Join me. Tell your stories. Ask for help. Spread your ideas for making the vision real and, well, ordinary.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Imaginal cells, nutrient soup and the Summer of Peace

Caterpillar image by beamish
A morgueFile Free Photo
Imaginal cells. Microbiologist and philosopher Elisabet Sahtouris tells of imaginal cells, biologists' term for the cells in a mutating pupa that feed on the caterpillar's body, now a "nutrient soup," and transform into a totally different organism, a butterfly.

Sahtouris likens our current human state to that of the caterpillar, consuming everything in sight in preparation for its long sleep and transformation.

The caterpillar is focused only on survival until, bloated, it hangs itself from a branch and falls asleep. Its skin hardens into a protective covering, and the imaginal cells that have been accumulating for some time burgeon.

You and I, Sahtouris says, are imaginal cells. As we waken, become more and more aware, we feed off the nutrients of our culture even as we transform it to something new and utterly beautiful.

Enter the Summer of Peace 2012

Butterfly image by mrmac04
A morgueFile Free Photo
One way we imaginal cells are transforming our world is through a vast, worldwide network of peace builders. The Shift Network hopes to expand and amplify this network through its Summer of Peace 2012 initiative.

In a talk last night at the Red Victorian Peace Cafe on Haight Street here in San Francisco, Shift Network Program Director Philip Hellmich spoke on plans for the Summer of Peace.

The Summer of Peace begins on the solstice, June 22, and concludes on the fall equinox, September 21. If you haven't heard of it, here's a synopsis of the vision from the web site.

The Summer of Peace 2012 is a global celebration of and call to action for inner and outer Peace ... and will feature media campaigns, online actions, conferences, music concerts, film festivals and grassroots activities around the world. All the activities will be designed to accelerate humanity’s shift to a culture of Peace.

The Summer of Peace 2012 aims to involve leaders from many sectors ranging from Nobel Peace Prize laureates to business, education, media, religious, military, and non-profit leaders.

Our overarching goal is to activate the largest global commitment to Peace in one season in the history of humankind mobilizing grassroots participation of people worldwide

Did you catch that reference to including military leaders in the mix? We need to stop fear-based ideology, Hellmich says, and replace it with acknowledging and celebrating what works. Even the world's military, like every other human enterprise, is evolving, he says.

People within the military establishment are learning new, non-violent ways of making and preserving peace, and they're training others. Hellmich witnessed such peacekeeping and peace building activities when he worked in Sierra Leone during the civil war and genocide there some years ago. Without the military peacekeepers, he says, there would be no peace there today.

Of course, he doesn't give all credit to the military. They were just one part of the peacemaking process. He cited a complex and sometimes disarmingly simple set of strategies and individuals that resulted, ultimately, in the end of unspeakable violence.

I wish you could have heard his talk. There is so much more I'ld like to share. I'll leave you with just one nugget. You may have seen in the first line of the quotation above that the Summer of Peace calls for action for both inner and outer peace. Hellmich's first call to action was that we implement a daily peace practice, if we don't already have one--meditation, prayer, whatever works to strengthen our inner peace.

I can attest that something as simple as standing for peace in silence five minutes each day changes the heart, changes how I relate to others. Another useful strategy, especially in times of stress, is to take ten to meditate. You can do it any where, any time with no one the wiser to quickly reduce stress and calm frazzled nerves.

With regular inner peace practice, Hellmich contends, and I agree wholeheartedly, heck, I've said it here plenty of times, we facilitate peace building in our lives, rippling out to the world.

One tiny example: How often has a friendly smile and kind remark lifted your spirits at the end of a long day and sent you on your way smiling too? People smile back when they see a happy person walking down the street. When their spirits are lifted, they smile at others.

Smiling at our neighbors as we encounter them on the street is an act of both inner and outer peace. Could we really kill each other once we got in the habit of smiling genuinely each time we met? I wonder.


We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.


Sharon said...

I am an imaginal cell... in nutritive soup. The image does little to comfort me, given my squeamishness about bugs and insects. But the idea of the soup and what is happening now... that's exciting! So many around the world doing so much. The shift is in process, or should I say, the shift is in the soup!

Wanda said...

May the summer of peace be as transformative as the summer of love 45 years before.

Love. Peace. Joy.

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