Do we really want peace?

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After my successful presentation with the inmates in the prison in Mexico last month, I was looking forward to continue visiting them every now and then, but when I arrived in Mexico this time, I was shocked when I learned that they didn’t want anyone else to talk to them. Their argument was, that the inmates were “too quiet” and they feared they were planning something.

The truth is that I found it hard to believe, but then I realized that the fact is we mistrust peace. We are even uncomfortable. Peace takes us out of our comfort zone, makes us feel doubtful and we don’t even know how to behave. In a way, we think that if we are in peace, surely something bad is going to happen.

Then I had the chance to talk in a preschool, where I discussed with the parents the fact that when our children are too quiet we go and check up on them to see what they are doing, because we are sure they are doing something bad. In the last seminar I presented in Mexico I asked the students: “Are you really sure that you are looking for peace?” We seriously have to question ourselves! Because we say we do, but we do not trust peace and, in a way, we are boycotting it; we even do the opposite of what peace requires. I think it is very important that we become aware of this.

The fact that preschoolers behaved so well, called my attention; there was peace in the air. I had also found this in a school for special children in Hungary –where there were autistic children and children with Down syndrome, etc. – In Hungary there was a teacher who practiced Ho’oponopono and her classroom was the quietest in all the school, even when her students were the ones with the biggest challenges in all school.

Well, in this preschool in Mexico, you could also feel that peace and happiness. The teachers are being trained in Ho’oponopono! They practice and share it with the children.

Besides visiting the classrooms where the children were, I also gave a talk to the parents. That’s how they found out what was going on in the school, they didn’t know! During that talk, a mother said that her son repeated “Thank you!” all the time. Many times, he also said “I’m sorry Mommy”. He was constantly with “Sorry” or “Thank you” in his mouth. The mother didn’t know where that behavior had come from, because he evidently hadn’t learned it from her! Another mother said that she noticed her daughter had changed her attitude, and that called her attention. Before, the girl used to fight a lot with her cousin because they both wanted to play with the same toy at the same time, and now, the girl showed respect and acceptance and she has a more generous attitude towards her cousin. It was like she realized that it was not worth it to fight or argue over that.

So, it’s very interesting to witness this; how the children perceive and learn it so easily and their attitudes change almost immediately. In this preschool, they implemented a very interesting practice to promote gratitude: from 11.00 to 11.11 am daily, they do “gratitude time”. It is during one of their breaks, and the kids have the choice to run to the microphone and share something they are grateful for. They told me that it’s amazing, because the children say even thank to the fly that passed by. So many things happen around us and we are not even aware. We are not paying attention!

It’s interesting to talk to the children, let them express themselves and let them teach us. For example, I asked the children who talked to the table and they all raised their hands. I asked what the table said to them, and one of the girls told me: “It tells me that I’m very pretty”. Then I made the essential question: Who had an imaginary friend? Of course, they all raised their hands and told me about their friends. One girl shared that her imaginary friend took her to visit other places and cities, she went flying with her friend; and she told us many details… These things are still amazing to me, and I talk about all this in my trainings. I’m so grateful for them opening, trusting and sharing all this with me.

In this trip to Mexico I also had the chance to present at Kadima, a Jewish institution that helps special children and adults with autism, down syndrome, etc. I also gave a presentation in a psychiatric hospital and in both places they made exactly the same comment: How was it possible that the audience kept so quiet, behaved so well and stayed during the whole presentation? The directors and caretakers couldn’t believe it. For example, in the psychiatric hospital they told me that there was a person who was always screaming very loud, and on this occasion he kept quiet the whole time… I say thank you God for having this effect, even on these special people.

In both places, Kadima and the psychiatric hospital, when I gave people the chance to share, those who shared more were the special ones. It was moving to see how they thanked, and the things they were thankful for. This makes me wonder: “Who are “the normal” ones? And who are really “ the specials”?” It’s worth questioning oneself a little.

In Kadima there was a girl who sat at the front and who wanted to talk and make comments all the time; even when I played a video, she insisted on knowing what the video was about.

That wanting to know beforehand, that wanting to understand, that lack of patience, it’s something that happens to all of us. We don’t live the moment, the now. We always want to know or anticipate the result, we worry and we don’t realize that the present moment and what happens in the now is all we have. I made her notice that tomorrow is not important, only the present moment, only the now is.

Later, I explained and I made her notice that tomorrow is not important, only the present moment, only the now is. She listened to me as if she was really getting it. She understood and from that moment on, she was more peaceful!

Both in the psychiatric hospital and in Kadima, they took the opportunity to thank their families, the people that took care of them, or life itself. It was amazing to witness this in people who, theoretically, have problems!

Finally, I gave a presentation in Mexico Sonríe, a foundation that helps children with cancer and their families. Once again, I had the chance to present and give hope. I gave them tools and helped them see that everything is perfect; that they can really start to see how God sees and not how they see, or how we all see (through our memories, opinions and judgements). I reminded them that God does not create anything that is not perfect.

In conclusion, this last trip to Mexico was another very special trip for me and my own self-growth. I thank God and Ho’oponopono because it lets me touch people and bring some peace to people in prison, in a psychiatric hospital, to a place with special people and to another place where people undergo difficult experiences, such as having a child with cancer. Thank you.

Mabel Katz

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