Thoughts On Peace, Separation, And Motivation

by Arleen Lorrance


A Formula For Peace

“We must once and for all admit that there is another side, that it has feelings and that it is suffering, and that we are behaving disgracefully…Yes, there is no other word for it: disgracefully. We have turned into a people of petty fighters using the wrong tools.”

These words were spoken by four former chiefs of Israel’s powerful domestic security service, Shin Bet. They headed the agency from 1980 to 2000. They called for the end of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, saying that the government should recognize that no peace agreement can be reached without the involvement of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and that Israel must stop the immoral treatment of Palestinians.

Maj. Gen. Ami Ayalon is a co-author of a peace petition that has been signed by tens of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians. He said: “We are taking sure and measured steps to a point where the state of Israel will no longer be a democracy and a home for the Jewish people.”

The security chiefs denounced Sharon’s military and political tactics, including clampdowns on Palestinians in the West Bank and joined Israeli Air Force pilots in calling the use of missiles and bombs to kill militants in civilian neighborhoods, “immoral.”

Israel is “going in the direction of decline, nearly a catastrophe” on almost every level. “If something doesn’t happen here, we will continue to live the sword, we will continue to wallow in the mud, and we will continue to destroy ourselves.”

The above information appeared on November 15, 2003 and was complied for the Washington Post by Molly Moore.

The United States, England, and others, need to heed these words. War and killing do not stop war and killing. Peace comes from opening the heart center and being an example of love and compassion in the world.

September 11th, the Film

Recently we saw a film called “September 11.” It contained eleven films, each of which ran no more than nine minutes and eleven seconds. Each was made from a different perspective by film makers in different parts of the world who were reflecting on September 11, 2001. The perspectives ranged from children in Iran who didn’t know what the teacher meant by "towers", to a deaf woman who missed the event altogether, to a missing NY Muslim young man who was thought to be a terrorist until it was discovered he died a hero trying to save people at the towers, to a bereaved man whose tiny apartment is filled with sunlight for the first time since his wife’s death when the towers go down.

The wonderful thing about this collection was that it unmistakably universalized the event which is too often seen as happening to the United States or to New York City. What happened on 9/11 happened to humanity. What took place that day was simultaneously one of the most horrific episodes in human history and one of the most brilliantly planned and executed attacks in long term memory. The world was equally as grief-stricken as the perpetrators were ecstatic and proud.

The film, “September 11,” demanded that its viewers expand themselves beyond national or personal interest. It insisted that we acknowledge all human suffering, all injustice, and all religious and political points of view.

In what was one of the most powerful entries, a bereft, exiled Chilean in London writes to New Yorkers to share their grief because on September 11, 1973, the rejoicing and celebrating (by millions) of Allende's Communist Party victory turned to tears, screams, and bloodshed as the US CIA instigated and helped to overthrow the new government and, with Kissinger’s direct interception, installed instead the puppet Pinochet who is credited with the torture and murder of over 30,000 Chileans.

One cannot hear that distraught man without lamenting over what all countries, including the United States, have committed as acts of terror to further their own political and financial interests.

Before we went to war in Iraq, for reasons true or fabricated, there were those in our Senate who called for Saddam’s assassination. Among them was Joseph Lieberman, a former candidate for Vice President who is now seeking to become the Democratic nominee for President. Lieberman is a prime example of Holy War mentality. He labels others as evil and fully supports their cold-blooded murder – all this in the name of peace-keeping in the world. Sometimes I wonder if we have not all gone mad, being completely blinded by our position and our demand that it prevail uber alles. In the US rush to bring democracy to every corner of the world, whether suitable or not for the prevailing circumstances, we risk echoing the ominous words from World War II, “tomorrow the world.”

My regret is that the film “September 11” left our art theatre after only one week. But it is perhaps rentable and it is a must for any thinking/feeling person.

The film promotes functioning consciously and seeks to help us all lift up out of the prison of nationalism.

Patriotism, which appears to be very popular, is a form of partisanship, which is really separatism, which is an illusion that locks us into a plane of suffering most aptly called purgatory. We can hope that this is not Earth’s true name.


Our housekeeper, a 38-year-old from Mexico, works with her husband and cleans at least three houses per day. The work they do is excellent and the quality of their character is high. They are both young enough to be able to sustain a heavy work load (he also works on weekends), raise their children, maintain their own house, and support their extended family.

Our housekeeper is also intelligent, with a strong desire to learn, to improve her English, and to prepare for college so that she can enter a helping profession. Hence, in addition to her many work hours and her numerous responsibilities, our housekeeper is attending school and making her dream a reality.

I have been so impressed with her purposefulness that I offered my services, pro bono, to help improve her pronunciation of English. Speech was my major in college and I taught it in high school 33 years ago. In our first session, I came away soaring with joy. I had never worked with anyone who wanted so much to learn, who took what I gave her and applied it instantly, who delighted in every small achievement, and whose whole being asked for more. In fact, at my suggestion, her husband joined our sessions and we meet for an hour once a week before they embark on a full day’s labor.

I have worked with many people over the years, in many arenas, teaching and counseling. In every case, I have discovered that motivation is the most important factor accounting for achievement.

Being smart means little if caring is missing. Being privileged, having everything offered to you because you were born into a family of means, contributes little or nothing to success, and often detracts from it. Having opportunities and not seizing them is a waste.

I have known many dilettantes who came to study because they had the means and curiosity, but their willingness to change and grow has often been lacking. I always extend myself for people who come full of purpose, are highly motivated, and who apply what they are learning.

When I was young, and lacking in means, I was offered scholarships time and again because I was not only talented, but ready and willing to embody all that I was being taught.

My housekeeper is working hard to become a Social Worker, to do something meaningful with her life. It is a privilege to support such an endeavor in every way.

There are many things I can teach, but I have not yet figured out how to instill motivation in someone who has little or none. I know such people and they choose a passive approach to life. They wait for life to happen to them. If something good comes along, they are mildly glad. I can understand that, because they themselves did nothing to create the reality.

As a highly motivated and purposeful person, I cannot fathom a passive life or a mild response to anything. My life is always in full, living color, never faded or dull. And it doesn’t just happen that way. It is the result of fully meeting each moment of life and meeting it in such a way that I help to lift that moment to its next level. What I find is that there are no limits to the next levels. There is only more.

My housekeeper is bright, excited, open, and ready. It is as if she is inside the seed pod of an astoundingly beautiful flower that is ready to burst upon the garden of life with overwhelming scent, extraordinary delicacy, and astonishing vibrancy.

Such budding human beings are everywhere around us. Nothing will stop them because their motivational stem is deeply rooted in Mother Earth. They really don’t need us to flower. But as we notice these beings, it is important that we water their fledgling selves. It is our duty.


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