Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
A Clear Vision for Building Peace
Category:
Spirit

Three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Scilla Elworthy is a vibrant example of what we are capable of doing when we see clearly — and take action. When Scilla was just 11 years old, her four older brothers were teaching her how to fire a shotgun at their home in Galashiels, England. In one quick moment, young Scilla did something that forever changed her life path.

"I thought I was being so clever," recalls Scilla, who joins Esalen faculty Sheva Carr and Robert Browning for their upcoming workshop, Tap into the Power of Your Heart to Promote Peace — Inside and Out.

"I stood underneath a tall tree and way up on a branch was a nest. I pulled the trigger of the shotgun and down on my head came pieces of sticks, eggshell and the sky-blue feathers of a mother bird.

"I was so shocked by what I had done — the violence of which I was capable — that I put the gun back in the house and never touched it again.

"That was a springboard into realizing what guns do to creatures and obviously to human beings. It was one of the things that first brought me to a path of peace-building."

Two years later, another incident fueled Scilla's growing interests for peace when she saw Soviet tanks charge into Budapest on television. She was intent on helping out in the region right then and there, but Scilla's mother, seeing how interested her daughter was in peace-building, intervened and promised to give her the proper tools she needed.

When Scilla was 16, her mother sent her to spend an entire summer with concentration camp survivors where she listened to a number of powerful survivor stories with a sense of awe.

"Those stories touched my heart in a way that never left me," Scilla says.

These childhood moments informed Scilla's lifelong path to peace-building in such profound ways that it eventually led her to become the founder of Oxford Research Group and Peace Direct, which supports peace-builders in conflict areas around the globe.

She now advises many global peace-building initiatives including, "The Elders," Syria Campaign and the Institute for Economics and Peace. And Scilla's book, The Business Plan for Peace, is filled with both the wisdom and peace-building strategies she garnered over the years.

Still, Scilla admits that there were times when she felt so challenged in her work that it forced her to learn to see beyond the obstacles and create a clearer vision of what path to take. This was most evident in 1982 when Scilla was at the Second Special Session of the United Nations on nuclear disarmament in New York City. After two weeks of meetings and little progress being made, she had a powerful insight: She was talking to the wrong people.

"It was one of those times when you just know what had to be done," Scilla recalls. "I got an insight that we had to find out who really makes decisions on nuclear weapons — individuals in the military, intelligence people, and the physicists for instance — and when I returned to Oxford, I started creating Oxford Research Group straight away.

"It was so crystal clear to me what I needed to do that I ignored the fact that it was considered ‘impossible.’ I think ‘seeing clearly’ makes the impossible possible."

Scilla started the research group around her own kitchen table, in fact, using her savings to pay people to work with her. Collectively, she and her team gradually built up the group with a primary vision of building a dialogue with “shadowy individuals” involved with nuclear weapons who weren’t normally known about.

But when the group hit a wall in creating effective dialogue with key negotiators, Scilla made a bold decision to create a fresh approach; one that would put her team’s skills to their greatest use.

"I learned to meditate and delve deep into unearthing who I really was,” she says. “This process of self-realization led me to realize a new way of promoting peaceful negotiations. I was moved to answer the question that had been sitting with me for years, namely, ‘Who am I?’ In that process, I learned to self-reflect, discover and examine my shadow sides, namely my anger and my fear."

She also realized that as long as she was projecting her emotions onto those she wanted to talk to that they, too, could feel it as well. “I had to do the hard work to face, address and transform the roots of these very violent emotions as best I could,” Scilla adds. “As a result, over a period of a few years, we rethought our approach and went on to successfully open dialogue with key policy makers in all the nuclear weapons nations at that time."

Some 37 years and many peace-building initiatives later, Oxford Research Group continues to work stridently on peace, security and justice issues with its research and dialogue activities mainly focused on the Middle East, North and West Africa. Today, Scilla has greater clarity on what humanity must be aware of, and can do, in terms of building peace.

"We've all heard of IQ and EQ, but now there's FemmeQ, the new intelligence available equally to men as it is to women," Scilla says. "It's essential to our future because of its five components or qualities, which will re-balance the yin with the yang in our world."

The five FemmeQ components are:

  • Help nature re-generate: "Reconnect with nature yourself," Scilla says. "That means discard your electronic device, go out to where there is grass or a tree and stand there in your bare feet. If you want to take a stand on an issue you really care about, deliver it from a base of wisdom, from the Earth, and not from anger or fear. That means planting your feet on the Earth and letting the Earth nourish you. Be guided."
  • Employ compassion in action: "There’s a massive difference between feeling sorry about an issue or ‘languishing’ and actually using your compassion,” Scilla says. “That means taking action. Find your partners on the path and then pour in your passion and your love. Make love your currency.”
  • Listen to your intuition. Allowing our internal GPS to inform us, Scilla suggests sitting in a quiet place and speaking out loud our questions, the angst, the doubt. “You’re talking not just to yourself, you’re calling on your Higher Self, and your Higher Self will answer,” she adds. “This is your inner power and on this you can rely.”
  • Resolve conflicts by listening: Ask the following to a person with whom you have a conflict: “Would you be willing to spend half an hour with me and I will listen to you and you, me?”
  • Remember you are in service: "Service is the highest attribute of a human being; higher than survival, higher than learning, higher even than making your way in the world,” Scilla says. “Being in service means being 100 percent present to what’s needed in the moment. That means having a quiet ego so that your energy is attuned to others, not to you. That’s where you will find your real friends, your allies, your combined power. That's why you're here."


If the mantra of the last century was ‘What can I get?’” Scilla adds. “The mantra of this century, with your full participation is, ‘What can I give?'"



“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

A Clear Vision for Building Peace

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Spirit

Three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Scilla Elworthy is a vibrant example of what we are capable of doing when we see clearly — and take action. When Scilla was just 11 years old, her four older brothers were teaching her how to fire a shotgun at their home in Galashiels, England. In one quick moment, young Scilla did something that forever changed her life path.

"I thought I was being so clever," recalls Scilla, who joins Esalen faculty Sheva Carr and Robert Browning for their upcoming workshop, Tap into the Power of Your Heart to Promote Peace — Inside and Out.

"I stood underneath a tall tree and way up on a branch was a nest. I pulled the trigger of the shotgun and down on my head came pieces of sticks, eggshell and the sky-blue feathers of a mother bird.

"I was so shocked by what I had done — the violence of which I was capable — that I put the gun back in the house and never touched it again.

"That was a springboard into realizing what guns do to creatures and obviously to human beings. It was one of the things that first brought me to a path of peace-building."

Two years later, another incident fueled Scilla's growing interests for peace when she saw Soviet tanks charge into Budapest on television. She was intent on helping out in the region right then and there, but Scilla's mother, seeing how interested her daughter was in peace-building, intervened and promised to give her the proper tools she needed.

When Scilla was 16, her mother sent her to spend an entire summer with concentration camp survivors where she listened to a number of powerful survivor stories with a sense of awe.

"Those stories touched my heart in a way that never left me," Scilla says.

These childhood moments informed Scilla's lifelong path to peace-building in such profound ways that it eventually led her to become the founder of Oxford Research Group and Peace Direct, which supports peace-builders in conflict areas around the globe.

She now advises many global peace-building initiatives including, "The Elders," Syria Campaign and the Institute for Economics and Peace. And Scilla's book, The Business Plan for Peace, is filled with both the wisdom and peace-building strategies she garnered over the years.

Still, Scilla admits that there were times when she felt so challenged in her work that it forced her to learn to see beyond the obstacles and create a clearer vision of what path to take. This was most evident in 1982 when Scilla was at the Second Special Session of the United Nations on nuclear disarmament in New York City. After two weeks of meetings and little progress being made, she had a powerful insight: She was talking to the wrong people.

"It was one of those times when you just know what had to be done," Scilla recalls. "I got an insight that we had to find out who really makes decisions on nuclear weapons — individuals in the military, intelligence people, and the physicists for instance — and when I returned to Oxford, I started creating Oxford Research Group straight away.

"It was so crystal clear to me what I needed to do that I ignored the fact that it was considered ‘impossible.’ I think ‘seeing clearly’ makes the impossible possible."

Scilla started the research group around her own kitchen table, in fact, using her savings to pay people to work with her. Collectively, she and her team gradually built up the group with a primary vision of building a dialogue with “shadowy individuals” involved with nuclear weapons who weren’t normally known about.

But when the group hit a wall in creating effective dialogue with key negotiators, Scilla made a bold decision to create a fresh approach; one that would put her team’s skills to their greatest use.

"I learned to meditate and delve deep into unearthing who I really was,” she says. “This process of self-realization led me to realize a new way of promoting peaceful negotiations. I was moved to answer the question that had been sitting with me for years, namely, ‘Who am I?’ In that process, I learned to self-reflect, discover and examine my shadow sides, namely my anger and my fear."

She also realized that as long as she was projecting her emotions onto those she wanted to talk to that they, too, could feel it as well. “I had to do the hard work to face, address and transform the roots of these very violent emotions as best I could,” Scilla adds. “As a result, over a period of a few years, we rethought our approach and went on to successfully open dialogue with key policy makers in all the nuclear weapons nations at that time."

Some 37 years and many peace-building initiatives later, Oxford Research Group continues to work stridently on peace, security and justice issues with its research and dialogue activities mainly focused on the Middle East, North and West Africa. Today, Scilla has greater clarity on what humanity must be aware of, and can do, in terms of building peace.

"We've all heard of IQ and EQ, but now there's FemmeQ, the new intelligence available equally to men as it is to women," Scilla says. "It's essential to our future because of its five components or qualities, which will re-balance the yin with the yang in our world."

The five FemmeQ components are:

  • Help nature re-generate: "Reconnect with nature yourself," Scilla says. "That means discard your electronic device, go out to where there is grass or a tree and stand there in your bare feet. If you want to take a stand on an issue you really care about, deliver it from a base of wisdom, from the Earth, and not from anger or fear. That means planting your feet on the Earth and letting the Earth nourish you. Be guided."
  • Employ compassion in action: "There’s a massive difference between feeling sorry about an issue or ‘languishing’ and actually using your compassion,” Scilla says. “That means taking action. Find your partners on the path and then pour in your passion and your love. Make love your currency.”
  • Listen to your intuition. Allowing our internal GPS to inform us, Scilla suggests sitting in a quiet place and speaking out loud our questions, the angst, the doubt. “You’re talking not just to yourself, you’re calling on your Higher Self, and your Higher Self will answer,” she adds. “This is your inner power and on this you can rely.”
  • Resolve conflicts by listening: Ask the following to a person with whom you have a conflict: “Would you be willing to spend half an hour with me and I will listen to you and you, me?”
  • Remember you are in service: "Service is the highest attribute of a human being; higher than survival, higher than learning, higher even than making your way in the world,” Scilla says. “Being in service means being 100 percent present to what’s needed in the moment. That means having a quiet ego so that your energy is attuned to others, not to you. That’s where you will find your real friends, your allies, your combined power. That's why you're here."


If the mantra of the last century was ‘What can I get?’” Scilla adds. “The mantra of this century, with your full participation is, ‘What can I give?'"



“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
A Clear Vision for Building Peace
Category:
Spirit

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About

Esalen Team

A Clear Vision for Building Peace

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Esalen Team

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