By Jim Hannah
The common perception of nonviolence causes many to dismiss it as passivity, or “just being a doormat.”
Veronica Pelicaric laid that image to rest immediately as she opened Pace e Bene’s Aug. 7 online training on active nonviolence, “From Spirit to Street Action.”
Participants were asked to hold one hand in front of themselves in a symbolic “Stop!” motion, and at the same time to hold the other hand opened in a palms-up receptive gesture. These two hands, she explained, symbolize the twin aspects of nonviolence: to actively oppose injustice, and to actively propose just alternatives.
The goal, she said, is to exercise nonviolence in three inter-related arenas: nonviolence to self, nonviolence to all others, and nonviolence to the entire earth and all its creatures.
For the next three hours, some 350 webinar participants were exposed to basic principles and practices of nonviolence, both inward and outward expressions. Trainers Adam Vogel and Rivera Sun joined Pelicaric to introduce the basics of nonviolence, including:
- Utilizing the energy of anger, controlling and channeling it to good purpose
- Using the keys to “soul force” (Heart. Open. Wake. Be.)
- Understanding that violence is not just physical but emotional, psychological, structural, systemic, and cultural as well
- Familiarity with the more than 300 types of nonviolent action
- Using measured breathing to retain to one’s calm center
- Employing nonviolent tactics that are creative, engaging, and non-predictable
- Adopting the CLARA strategy: Calming and centering one’s self, Listening actively, Affirming the other, Responding to deescalate the situation, and Adding information if helpful.
- Knowing that every revolution begins with imagination
+ Cultivating “soul force” practices such as perseverance, courage, and compassion
Interested in learning more? Pace e Bene (meaning Peace and All Good) offers a variety of training events throughout the year (available online during the COVID-19 pandemic). For more information, visit paceebene.org.
—Jim Hannah serves on the PeaceWorks-KC Communications Team.