By Kathleen Gerace
My first ventures into peacemaking were the demonstrations against the wars in Afghanistan and then Iraq. Marching along with thousands of others was exhilarating. I felt empowered. But I noticed as the wars dragged on many of the demonstrators began to sound more belligerent and angry. The words of Gandhi reverberated with me; “Be the peace you want to see in the world.”
Many years later I discovered the writings of Marshall Rosenberg, who admired Gandhi and developed a spiritual practice to enable constructive dialogue to take place in situations of conflict. It begins with opening our own hearts to make space for the human needs of all contending parties. When this atmosphere is created, defensiveness is reduced, and it then becomes possible to consider other strategies that can meet the needs of all parties more effectively and with less cost. This kind of collaboration is life affirming.
Speak Peace in a World of Conflict is filled with inspiring stories, lessons, and ideas drawn from more than forty years of mediating conflicts and healing relationships in some of the most violent corners of the world.
I have personally been empowered through the principles and practices of Non-Violent Communication, as developed by Marshall Rosenberg, to heal the pain of past relationships as well as enhancing my professional work.
Speak Peace in a World of Conflict is available at The Thomas Merton Center.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Kathleen Gerace is on the steering committee of Compassionate Pittsburgh and is a chaplain at UPMC Mercy.