I loved the conjunction today of two globally recognized holidays. September 21 is International Day of Peace and World Gratitude Day. I stayed mindful of both as I moved through a full day.
To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York City. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as “a reminder of the human cost of war”. The inscription on its side reads, “Long live absolute world peace”.
World Gratitude Day allows both individuals and organizations to celebrate gratitude in a variety of ways. This unique holiday began in 1965 in Hawaii when an international gathering decided that it would be a good idea to have one day per year to formally express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful things to be found in the world.
The benefits of having time in one’s life for gratitude, appreciation and positive reflection have become increasingly apparent. The hope of the founders of World Gratitude Day is that by taking time, one day a year, to reflect on the many amazing things we have in our lives, it would positively impact our well-being and make us happier, more contented people.
I had the opportunity to ask two of my grandsons to share their thoughts with me about peace. Jonathan, age 11, thought that those who create problems, rather than promote peace, should be isolated from others. Being very tech savvy, he suggested that such individuals could only communicate with others via technology. They would, essentially, remain in a large scale “time out” until they learned to live in harmony with others.
And Dayan, who is 17 years old, answered with great wisdom and deep insight beyond his years. I’d like for him to develop his ideas in an essay. However his basic principle was that countries learn to govern themselves and their regions, without relying on the world’s superpowers.
Dayan touched my heart. He told me that he sees what I am doing this year…living in surrender, going with the flow and remaining open to what the Divine and Life brings to me…as the foundation for peace. We discussed how resistance takes us out of the flow and ultimately creates defensiveness. Peace, we agreed, must begin within us and then flow outward.
I observed today how gratitude and peace support each other and together, contribute to my joy and wellbeing, which then impacts others around me. Peace and gratitude within me creates peace and more to be grateful for, outwardly.
I enjoyed conversations around the topic of peace with both boys, which took place with them individually. Dayan and I spent time together after school. And tonight I had dinner with Jonathan and took him shopping for his birthday. I loved both of their out of the box, big ideas. These young men are the future. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we will keep getting what we’ve always gotten. I appreciated their fresh and honest perspectives.