Peace Un-conference Continued…

 

Old Missoula Peace Sign on Waterworks Hill

Old Missoula Peace Sign on Waterworks Hill

Since my last post was so long and I didn’t cover a few things I wanted to I thought I’d do a second post about the peace un-conference I attended.  So if you’re interested in reading in detail more about the un-conference and what that entailed please read the previous post.

During the opening and lightning keynote speakers in the morning someone said the following statement, which I then wrote down after it was reiterated by one of the participants in the closing circle: Where there is conflict people care deeply, which then creates an opportunity for peace.  I thought this was an interesting insight into the nature of polarizing issues and beliefs.  On both sides of the fence, no matter what the difficulties are, people are filled with care and concern about something.  One side might be particularly drawn towards concern about the environment while the other side may be concerned about the security of jobs and economic prosperity.  To see the areas of similarity and overlap is incredibly important when it comes to the transformation of the us-verses-them mentality.  It’s difficult to make lasting, effective change when we only see the differences and set our perspective in the direction of separation and division.

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Am I Sure?

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Today I attended the 2014 Mansfield Conference at the University of Montana (UM) entitled: Fight for Hope & Freedom, Human Trafficking, Montana & The World.  It was open and free to the public so I went simply as a concerned  citizen wanting to learn and understand more about this global problem.  I knew very little about human trafficking going into this conference so I learned quite a bit and appreciated the speakers and the information they shared.

I went into this conference thinking of how to transfer my experience today into a blog post.  I took notes and collected handouts throughout the day – I even took pictures!  But as I sit here now typing I am not as interested in painting a picture that includes all of the statistics, facts, studies, numbers, and evidence based information that I learned about today.  Instead, I would like to talk about how we as mindful practitioners might better be able to stay informed about heavy, challenging world affairs without becoming overwhelmed or cynical.

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