Day 18... Switzerland

by Christina

Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chocolate, fondue, Heidi, the Alps, a country with three official languages, the place my father grew up, home to one of the United Nations offices...

So many items come to mind when I think of Switzerland but perhaps the most immediate response I have is "neutrality." In middle school, I recall learning that Switzerland is the only neutral country that exists. I found that fascinating but never truly understood what that meant. Oh, yes, I understand the concept of neutral but that implies there are "sides" that one isn't taking...what are those sides?

I've said many a time when pulled into a disagreement between people "I'm Switzerland." Reflecting on that statement, perhaps it was a bit of a cop-out... I didn't want to engage in someone else's dispute and instead of working to resolve the situation, I could walk away declaring my neutrality.

On my walk the other day while pondering peace, my mind settled on a point that I've heard said or someone has said to me many a time. "I can't do peace right now; peace is passive and the world needs people to be engaged, stand up for a cause, and fight."

Peace is often interpreted as being passive and neutral; the inability to take a side. Peace is thought by many to be the easy way out so that one doesn't need to engage or to create change.

Is this true? Is peace passive? Is peace easy? Is it a cop-out?

Can't we create change through peaceful actions? What about Gandhi? He created huge social change through peaceful protests.

Might I suggest that cultivating peace is active and not passive, challenging and not easy. And maybe to choose any other option to create change that is not peace would be the cop-out.

Peace is balance. I've heard (and I've said), "I need balance in my life." As if the accomplishing "balance" was a destination to be checked off a list. Has anyone ever said "I now have balance?"

A teeter-totter goes up and down and the varying degrees of height depends on how hard the riders push off against the ground. Tiny fine movements can bring the two sides into equilibrium only when the opposing ends are equally weighted and staying in that perfect moment of balance is usually for a brief moment.

Perhaps peace is like the teeter-totter...a constant state of flux with moments of harmony when one achieves that neutral space of balance. The work to get to that spot is active, challenging and time-consuming. Peace takes work.

Peace is not passive. Finding neutrality means understanding both sides of a disagreement. Peace means despite our differences we listen to one another with respect.

Peace... it's a choice.

Day 18. Peace tip.

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic as we draw closer to the end of our 21 days. In the Northern Hemisphere our days are getting shorter and darker with freezing temperatures predicted to arrive in a few days. My morning time with all of you will shift to a few moments in the peace and quiet of my home with time carved out for reflection, writing and knitting. If you've been finding stillness with Project Peace, perhaps now is a good time to think about how to continue to bring peace into your life daily as a focus. Don't wait for 12/22 to arrive and then feel a little lost.

Create an action plan, not a to-do list, but your own personal call to action plan for peace.

What are 3 specific things you can do after Project Peace to keep peace as a on-going goal and not in your rear-view mirror?

peace in the sand red shoes.JPG

Day 15... birds

by Christina

We must live in peace with nature and other animals, before we can live in peace with other people.
— Anthony Douglas Williams


Perhaps peace is as "simple" as that... respect for our home, both the planet and our bodies.

If peace was a priority wouldn't it be easier to respect the world, both the natural elements and the people?

What if everyone took a moment to go outside and firmly planted their feet in the soil and reached their hands to the sky out of true awe and appreciation for all that is.

Think of the stillness that would occur if everyone stopped and listened... to the birds sing.

If there was respect for the earth, the people, the animals...

then there would be peace.

What if it was that simple?

Sandhill crane migration, 2017, Albuquerque, NM

Sandhill crane migration, 2017, Albuquerque, NM

I'm not a birdwatcher, per se, however I take great pleasure in watching birds and thinking about what they accomplish. Migratory birds fascinate me with their dedication, commitment, perseverance, and effort. Watching the birds interact on the ground it is clear that they are disagreements, however when it's time to fly, they put aside their differences and work together to accomplish greatness. They share the workload communicating along the way to reach a destination often times 1000's of miles away. And they accomplish this year after year despite the fact that their resting grounds are slowly disappearing due to human "advances."

I recently made a purchase from a yarn shop that I discovered on Instagram called The Net Loft in Cordova, AK, a fishing community. Although I have yet to visit, I find the shop owner, Dotty to be inspiration with her thought-provoking blog posts and commitment to revitalizing the connection between fishing and knitting. When my package arrived, there was a 4x6 card describing the Birds by Hand project to celebrate the annual Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival that occurs this year from May 3-6, 2018.

The Net Loft has created the Copper River Delta Knitted Birds Project to celebrate the annual migration of hundreds of 1000's of birds along the Pacific Flyway and invites everyone to join in a knit-along and become a "ornitholoknitter," one who studies or is an expert on knitted birds.

birds by hand.png

The goal of the Knitted Birds Project is to raise awareness of the value of the Copper River Delta and its rich tidal mudflats in regards to the mass migration of shorebirds each spring. To join the knit-along, all you have to do is knit a bird and send it to Alaska and it'll be included on display in the local museum during the festival. The goal is to collect 1000 knitted birds. All the details can be found here.

As soon as I discovered this project in August, I just knew I had to include it in Project Peace 2017. Just think if we sent 100's of peace birds to the festival. Not only would we raise awareness of the migration of birds and nature but also peace. I'm asking all of you to knit a bird of peace and let it wing it's way to Alaska.

Knitted dove  by Nicky Fijalkowska

Knitted dove by Nicky Fijalkowska

I set out to find a pattern to include in PP17 and discovered the book Knitted Birds by Nicky Fijalkowska. I reached out to her and she has graciously provided all of you with a copy of her pattern for the knitted dove. You can download the pattern for free now through December 31 using the coupon code PEACE. So please, knit a bird of peace and send it to the Knitted Bird Project.

Perhaps knitting a bird of peace during Worldwide Knit-in for Peace Day would be an extra special way to think about knitted peace. Or ask your local yarn shop to host a gathering after the New Year to knit a flock of peace birds. There are a few "supplies" needed to create each bird so working together in the spirit of accomplishing bigger things like the migratory birds might be most efficient.

Day 15. Peace tip.

Take a moment today to go outside and sit. Close your eyes and listen for the birds. Think about birds and what characteristic of the birds provides you with a moment of awe and wonder.

~Peace in all things