I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this year’s Scholars Together Learning Community’s Peace Treaty process. Each year it is always stimulating and inspiring to me, but this year seemed to be more so—due to the active and heartfelt participation of all involved.
With the intention of creating a fresh and thoughtful guide for commUNITY living as we do each year at STLC, we started out during our first week’s living-together Teambuilding retreat, making a list of everything we could think of from our last year that we did NOT appreciate in terms of how our commUNITY functioned. We all dug deep within to share little and big things that might have stood in the way of our community experiencing cohesive happiness, or actions that may have kept us from feeling really free to learn or to be our best selves—that had to do with the way we treated one another or the environment. That may sound like an unusual way to begin, but instead it really brought any uncomfortable lingerings from the past to the forefront that might have otherwise stayed riding below the surface or gotten in the way of a fresh and effective start of our year together. It turned out to be a cleansing activity for us all.
Beyond our collected list of about 40 items (which we shared with ONLY the motive of bringing awareness, not blame) we had insightful discussions, which culminated with EACH of us realizing and verbalizing that IF we wanted to see these changes in our community, that it was up to EACH of us to BE those changes. We could see that it was not helpful to blame others or wish that others would instigate the change, but it was up to EACH of us to be 100% responsible to act in the way or to treat others in the way, that WE wanted to see and feel. That is big…and this realization continues to be empowering.
So, after three weeks of discussion and honing our items so that we could list what we DID want to see, instead of what we didn’t want to see…and revising, reforming, reframing, and more discussion—we came up with our current (to be revised as the need or desire arises) Peace Treaty that is linked below. We all agreed that we are working towards our Peace Treaty eventually becoming just one sentence, that being what many call the Golden Rule—treating others as we would like to be treated— but in the meantime, many of us felt the wisdom to be specific about what that actually means, and to have some guidance as to what that really looks like. Each item was added only after 100% consensus of our student and mentor commUNITY. That in itself feels really satisfying! Each student has taken our Treaty home, too, so that their families can adopt those items they want to commit to as a family commUNITY.
Click to see Our Current STLC Peace Treaty. You’ll be glad you did!
…In the spirit of integrating the intentions of our peace treaty into our individual lives, I share this sweet story: A dear friend of mine who has a dog, shared with me that she has been noticing what her dog does each morning when he wakes up, and that she thinks it would be a pretty good habit for us humans, as well. For me it goes along perfectly with how I want to BE in my community, in ALL my communities….and how and WHY I want to follow our Peace Treaty with care. She says that her dog wakes in the morning and stretches—noticing his surroundings, wags his tail, and then greets the very first person he sees with unconditional love. I love it!
What if when we all awoke each morning (and throughout the day as we catch ourselves drifting) and stretched physically and mentally—reminding ourselves of our true nature that is constant goodness—and noticed our surroundings? Our tail wagging could be moments of gratitude for all that we have, intertwined with the expectancy of the important lessons and good the day will bring. And THEN, we greeted the first (and second and third, etc.) person we saw in ways that showed unconditional love. I can only imagine that we would feel as though we really were living the life of peace and harmony!
This is going to be my new wake-up routine in the morning, and in the other parts of my day when I find that I have fallen asleep to the good that is right here, or have been sideswiped in some way to think that I don’t have everything I need in order to treat myself, others, and the day with kindness and with an open, grateful heart.
I am hoping that others might join me in this new morning routine inspired by our furry friends AND that you might take on the challenge and opportunity to adopt parts or all of our Peace Treaty in your commUNITY, too. Will you share your thoughts?
Tien Langlois, Scholars Together Learning Community