Monday, November 17, 2014

Peace Pandemic Information

We wanted to share this information with everyone to clear up recent requests. 

Our official site can be visited at: www.peacepandemic.org 
Please visit here for more information about our soccer camps and who we are as an organization. The site is currently being updated and redesigned.

Please visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/PeacePandemic

Thank you for your patience and we appreciate your interest and help with Peace Pandemic! 

-PPC Team

Monday, September 16, 2013

The New Era of Men


Connect the idea that our manhood as men is directly tied to the freedom and liberation of women. We must not be paralyzed by the fear of giving up the domination role that we have so fervently taken. Men must not give in to the notion that “it’s a man’s world.” It’s not.

Rather than bash a man when he is compassionate and gentle, we should applaud him. Our sons should be rewarded when they exude patience, gentleness, empathy, courage and humility. The last of these may be one of the most important of all.

Most men give in to peer pressure which guises itself as embarrassment and defeat. No man wants to feel the pain of defeat or the inner-fires of embarrassment. Thus, men and boys perpetuate the ill-conceived, despicable stereotypes of modern-day masculinity. To combat this we must slowly turn the tables and redefine masculinity.

We can begin with addressing mans inclination towards violence, both physical and structural. Physical violence, one would think, should be the easier of the two to curb and measure. However, for thousands of years, men have asserted dominance over other men, as well as women, to gain control and power. From world leaders to schoolyard bullies, violence is a tool used for intimidation and fear.

Physical violence used in ANY circumstance outside of last resort, self-defense is only cowardice and weakness masked as dominance. The pseudo-dominator gains only a mere instance of power but weakens himself from the inside out. Power from the inside out can only be manifested through love. The same holds for all violence, especially domestic.


The only way to nurture and grow a powerful relationship is through nonviolent, authentic love. Manhood should reflect this and be a goal to strive for, not something you adopt by age. It should feel as if anger, resentment and hate are all fleeing the body and mind.

Jealousy, conceit and envy are all triggers that become dormant inside a peaceful mind. Violence stems from traits like these but we must teach our boys HOW to deal with these human emotions once they arise. Boys must feel comfortable expressing themselves emotionally rather than physically.

Instead of suppressing authentic feelings and telling boys to simply “man up” we need a far more evolved reaction as adults. Boys need to understand right away that it is far better to be an open book than a volcano in disguise. It’s time as men to finally look in the mirror and redefine what makes us….us.

This starts by redefining our character traits in a manner that encompasses more than just one side. I’m not talking about completely alternate definitions but rather tangential definitions. For example, a trait that has been revered by men since the beginning of time: Courage.

When men/boys typically think of courage, an image of putting oneself in physical danger in a heroic attempt to do something bigger than themselves may arise. Other images may include: speaking in front of a large crowd, taking responsibility for an entire group, making the ultimate sacrifice and selflessly saving someone else at your own expense.

But what about the courage to be sensitive, the courage to feel empathy and compassion towards all things, or the courage to put your pride down? These are, more often than not, the images that are most overlooked and underrated in society today.


We are slowly dehumanizing ourselves to the world around us and in fact pushing further and further away from holistic courage. Boys are often taught from an early age to numb pain, both internal and external. I still have this problem. As a young boy, I bottled emotional hurt and pain until the seal would break and I lashed out physically or verbally.

Boys look to society (i.e. fathers, sports idols, movie stars, media outlets) for guidance to manhood. And what are we telling them…what are we SHOWING them? Some fathers showing sons that it’s OK to hit Mom. Sports stars boasting about the number of commas in their paychecks or the number of women they have slept with instead of communicating the messages of duty, discipline and class. The media perpetuates the idea that the bigger Pecs you have the more chiseled your abs are then the more “manly” you must be.

This continues to display manhood and manliness solely on the physical level. Masculinity is not determined by your physical attributes as much as it is your character.

This is all not to say that there aren’t any great men, fathers, sports stars and media outlets out there that are combating this modern plague against boys. We are all leading our boys to a path of violence if we are bystanders and don’t help redefine manhood for them.

Objectively, it is easy for men to abuse women, to degrade others, to physically abuse and punish the weaker. We must make it subjectively IMPOSSIBLE and inconceivable that these things could happen. Let's hold ourselves to a new standard and become the gentlemen that the world deserves. 

-Jeb

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It's Not The Size That Matters


Around Our World

This last week this image of an ad taken out by The Times of India on January 22nd has been making it's rounds. In it, The Times of India poses a question to it's male readers:

What is the definition of manhood?


This question, and their proposed answer, comes in response to the exceptionally brutal Delhi gang-rape from December 16th

(In my opinion)
Tragedy number 1 is that this ever occurred. Not just one, but a literal busload of grown men believed a girl was so wrong in her riding a bus home unaccompanied saved for her male friend, that they should take action, did take action, and how extreme it was. Read all about the case here
Tragedy number 2 is that this is not a single, isolated case. This is a widespread issue with so large a portion of the male population within India that rape and harassment occur routinely. It does beg the question - What do you think the definition of manhood is? It would seem for far too many that manhood is how poorly you treat a woman, not how exceptionally.
Tragedy number 3 is how many women are entirely unaware of they can do about any of it. The 'What now?' question has gone unanswered for too long. Great brief article here


But there is hope. Hope in our youth. The response was so great and peaceful, that their message of intolerance for these continued crimes was received loud and clear by all. The missing link in all of this is the change in the culture.


What do you think of the December 16th attack? 
What's your take on Justice Verma Committee's report? 
Who do you think should make the move and what should it be?

Allison

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Camps 4&5 Guatemala

What a way to end our camps here in beautiful Guatemala! The atmosphere was picturesque "street soccer" for both our morning and afternoon sessions.

The morning session consisted of 75 children from Guatemala City who displayed some of the best skills we've seen out here! We split the children up by age with Caitlin taking the younger ones and myself taking the older. After a fun-filled morning of playing the beautiful game we got the chance to speak to the children on the importance of nonviolence and respect towards one another, healthy eating habits and also empowerment through following your dreams.

We also want to extend a huge thank you to the volunteers who helped us out at these training sessions. Our Spanish needs some work so we appreciate you correcting us when needed!

The afternoon session was a smaller camp filled with 25 young orphans from the inner city. Some of the boys and girls were too little to even kick a ball yet so Caitlin spent her time on the side with them playing little games and answering questions (funny ones).

The passion and perseverance in life that each of them show is remarkable. I wish I could take American/Canadian teenagers down here every year and have them live in their shoes for a week. What a life changing experience that would be! (Noted for the future)

Here are some photos of these extraordinary children and the volunteers who take time out of their days to make children smile.









Monday, December 31, 2012

Camp 3 Guatemala

Wow what a heartbreaking yet joyful day. Mariana Diaz, Notre Dame Alum and founder of HANDS Organization in Guatemala, drove us out to our next location along with her brother Jose and friend Diana.

We put on a camp for roughly 130 children in the village of Jalapa (2 hour drive from Guatemala City. The field was very small but the hearts of the children were huge! Boys from the village came to join the girls from the orphanage where we put the camp on.

As usual, each child received a ball, t-shirt and drinks from the camp. One of the stories that broke our hearts was of a 12 year old deaf girl (pictured below with Caitlin). She was "rented" out to local farmers for sex and abuse and her step-father ended up getting her pregnant. She had a baby at the age of 12 and was left in a field, totally abandoned.

The depth and emotion of hearing theae stories and meeting these girls are immense. They certainly put a perspective on our own lives and get us to see the realities of this world that we often turn a blind eye to.

Here are some of the pictures:














Camp 2 Guatemala

Day 2 simply put was a tremendous experience. We were welcomed by Madre Ivonne over at the Hogar San Rafael orphanage in Zona 1 of Guatemala City.

Madre Ivonne is a huge soccer fan and even revealed that F.C. Barcelona is her equipo favorito!

The children were absolutely wonderful and had a passion that anyone would be jealous of. Most of these children were abandoned, abused or simply given up by their families for various reasons. One child in particular was found on the train tracks at the age of 3 barely able to move.

These children, along with the rest we have met in Guatemala and India, exemplify resilience and true struggle. It was absolutely our pleasure that we were able to share the beauty of soccer with them. Here are some photos:











Friday, December 28, 2012

Camp 1 Guatemala

What a way to start the trip! Driving two hours outside of Guatemala City with our new friend and Notre Dame graduate Jorge, we finally made it to a small village called Comapa.

Awaiting us were 300 boys and girls and roughly 20 volunteers from our new partner organization EDUCCA. The small village has a rough stadium that they kindly opened up for us. We are very thankful to our friends at EDUCCA for being so organized and helping out on such a great camp for the children.

Each child received a ball, t-shirt, food, drink and school supplies. Here are some photos detailing the day!











Friday, November 30, 2012

Peace Pandemic Guatemala

Recently the Montreal Impact Media caught up with Jeb in Florence, Italy about the upcoming Peace Pandemic initiatives. In this article/video, Jeb speaks about the upcoming trip to Guatemala as well as reflects on the past trip to India. Take a look!

#GoImpactTheWorld


http://www.impactmontreal.com/en/news/2012/11/brovsky-empowering-women-and-youth-through-peaceful-action

Friday, October 5, 2012

8 Habits of Love

Normally I would write a rigorous piece on finding something like this but it speaks for itself and I would like to share it here. Rev. Ed Bacon is a priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles in the Episcopal Church. Peace Pandemic is not affiliated with any particular religion but we believe the message behind this piece today in the Huffington Post should be absorbed by all humans. Here it is...

"8 Habits of Love" 
by: Rev. Ed Bacon


"I don't believe a spiritual life has to include going to church on Sundays. Or any other day, for that matter. No one must believe in one "God," let alone my particular concept of God. We don't have to be straight to get married, be pure to find salvation -- or even be religious to find a divine community. And yet...

I am a man of the cloth. I do believe in God. I go to church even when on vacation. Each Sunday I preach to a congregation of more than a thousand at All Saints Church in Pasadena, and each morning I pray for an hour. I know the Bible inside out, and I draw on it for inspiration and transformation.

But I don't ask of you to share my beliefs, or worship in any particular way, place or time to become part of my tribe. My tribe is that of the world, and everyone, everywhere is already included. 

Given the fact that I'm an Episcopal priest these beliefs may appear shocking or controversial. The message boards in the church office almost blew up the day after I said, off the cuff, that being gay is a gift from God on Oprah Winfrey's show.
But my intention is not to shock, it is to tell my truth and give all of us the permission to do the same.

At my church, our community works hard to promote peace, to end torture, to reform immigration laws, to espouse interfaith dialogue and to promote marriage equality. This social justice agenda is incredibly important to us because it is our way of or making our love of God tangible, our belief in the sacred nature of every human being, and the interconnectedness of every part of creation. Through action, we are expressing our hope that we can become a brotherhood and a sisterhood -- a beloved family -- in which we all work together to build a world of care, and a world that cares. This, to me, is what we are called to work on. This is my religion.

I believe that the greatest evil we face today is dehumanization. It's the root of war. It's the root of retaliation. It's the root of the spiraling cycle of violence that we see around us. It's the root of bigotry. It's the root of economic injustice. Often, our instinct is to withdraw into our fearful selves and give into dehumanization. We gain a false sense of power and righteousness by excluding others.

My experience is that real love, authentic love, is not about just loving ourselves alone, as we so often hear, or saving our love for only those who are like us or think like we do. When we are motivated by love, when we become aware that it is the core of our lives, it then expands to other people and we cannot stop ourselves from loving everyone. We become an oasis of peace and we honor the dignity of every human being.

When we respect other's opinions and then follow our own hearts -- recognize our own truth and make living it a priority -- that is when our spirituality can really blossom and bear fruit. That is when we stop dehumanizing others as a way to feel more powerful and start living as a vibrant, hopeful and engaged global human community. 

The first step is to recognize that we are all valuable, loved and capable of love. The concept is simple, though the execution can be challenging. When we are faced with violence, we react with hatred. We fear what is unknown to us. We react to scarcity by hoarding. We withdraw when we feel misunderstood.

I ask you, as I do in my sermons each week, to accept that you are a beloved human being and so is the shivering man on the bus next to you, the tired woman in the supermarket, the homeless person in the alleyway, and also the gay teen contemplating suicide or the elderly racist, who only feels loved when part of his gang of haters. When we observe ourselves in this way -- through journaling, prayer, meditation, stillness -- we enter the life of the Spirit. We are able to step behind our thoughts, actions and ideologies and actually see ourselves objectively. In so doing, we come closer to our truth.

We cannot be fully alive if we are alone. None of us can sustain any kind of energizing, meaningful life if we are alone. We have to have companions on the journey. It's the Ubuntu notion that "I cannot be a person without other persons. I have got to be connected with other people."

And so I challenge you to look around at your chosen community and ask yourself if it is truly reflective of what is in your heart. Ask yourself: what do I really believe in? What is it that makes me religious? Is it the tribe I belong to, or the spirit of love I wish to share with others?
The energy that drives my own community is one of love, inclusion and peace. It is because of this that I can make controversial statements and truly believe there's nothing controversial about them at all. I am proud of the work we do on behalf of those who are ostracized and misunderstood. For me, it is a constant reminder that we are not just part of the human race, but part of the human family."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Deepen not Broaden our Connection

One of the most underrated tools in conflict transformation and Peacebuilding is Kindness. Kindness, like soccer, crosses all obstacles (race, religion, culture, gender, age etc.). It is the most powerful language on Earth that everyone can understand, speak and act out. In this way, kindness itself can empower communities and individuals and create humanitarian connections worldwide that are sustainable over time.

When we go beyond duties that are expected of us and reach out to help another person or group of people, then we are performing Random Acts of Kindness.

"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness"~Seneca

This quote engulfs the power and reach that kindness has in our society today. With the population soaring to new heights every single year the importance of kindness becomes higher and higher. Technology keeps advancing exponentially and human connection seems to broaden but not deepen. We must deepen our compassion and connection with other humans subjectively in order to not objectify our existence.

"When we are kind, we express the best of our humanity."

Be a catalyst of change and an agent of kindness. It is our duty as human beings for the short time we are on this Earth to love and cherish those around us. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Short Blurb about Us vs. Them

Most of our conflict as humans occurs in language. That is why many politicians and leaders use rhetoric to rally the troops. We need to examine this rhetoric and separate it from reality.

One of the most common words used by leaders to invoke a feeling of an "enemy" is THEY. You even see this word thrown around in the current U.S. political race.... They want to raise taxes, They want to take your freedoms... And the list goes on and on. If we continue to use this destructive rhetoric as a human race we will never progress. Human development will stagnate and collaboration between peoples and nations will cease to happen.

At Peace Pandemic, we always urge people to celebrate the differences between us. This can't happen however without a firm understanding of our similarities. We all breathe, bleed, cry, feel the same. The same blood is flowing through us and we all breathe in the same oxygen. If we can't even acknowledge that we share the common bond of being human then we will never lay the proper foundation to move forward together. Wars will continue all across the Earth and people will continue to misunderstand one another due to a lack of introspection. Look inwards and see that you belong to a huge community of humans living in a finite space.

We must change our language and this change our thinking. "Their" problems become "our" problems and the pain that "they" feel becomes the pain "we" all feel. Once this simple truth is accepted by the masses, true empathy and compassion can follow. Be a leader in this movement and urge everyone around you to realize the beauty of "Us." No more misunderstanding, no more hate. The world needs tolerance, empathy, compassion and understanding.

One love,

Jeb

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CBC Daybreak Radio Chat

This morning I had the pleasure to catch up with Mike Finnerty and the whole crew at CBC Daybreak Radio. Mike was a great host and asked me about topics ranging from Peace Pandemic to Twitter. Take a listen!

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/Quebec/ID/2259984923/


Monday, July 23, 2012

Nonviolence Lesson 101

In honor of one of my favorite Professors in college, John Darby, I wanted to write a short piece on nonviolence. Professor Darby passed away this year but I will never forget the lessons of nonviolence that he taught me. Nonviolence is often labeled as "taboo" or "impractical" but when looked at in depth, actually reveals itself to be quite effective.

The force of nonviolence has not only been a powerful force against injustice but also a commonly misunderstood topic in the world. When people first think of nonviolence they immediately think of pacifism or something of that similar "soft" nature. The Gandhian method however looks at pacifism through an entirely different lens. Gandhi used it as a way to overcome injustice and alter political objectives while still staying true to moral principles.

Another one of my revered Professors, David Cortright states it another way, "he (Gandhi) helped to bridge the gap between pure pacifism and resistance to evil by turning religious principles into methods of social change."

Gandhi himself had many inspirations for this movement including the teaches of Jesus as well as the Jain and Buddhist traditions. It does not matter what if you are religious, spiritual or atheist... pacifism is a value to be shared as much as it is a movement. The Gandhian method centers itself around taking different perspectives and putting them through the medium of nonviolent social action into a higher truth.

One of the true merits of nonviolence is its ability to achieve "victory" or end to conflict without malice or bitterness. This was exemplified in the "relatively" peaceful Indian independence from the British in 1947. A common misconception today about nonviolence is that it is a passive exercise where people just let oppressors walk over them or kill them. This is simply NOT true about nonviolent movements. Rather, they are an active force of pressure and love as well as another option rather than war or inaction to fight against injustice. It is a respect for the adversary with defiance of his policies or agendas. Gandhi himself said that there is nothing passive about resistance to social evil. This is exemplified in his education in Satygraha- a concept that essentially involves action and willingness to change while accepting new understandings of truth.

One key importance in making a nonviolent resistance successful is the piercing of the consciences of the adversaries AND third parties. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. shared a common philosophy that the first step in every nonviolent campaign must be collecting all the facts and publicizing the issues. The true effectiveness of the Gandhian method lies within the combination of moral persuasion and social pressure.

The topic of sacrifice is also debated amongst the followers and critics of nonviolence. Nonviolent followers who stand up to repressive authority will face hardships and may even suffer physical harm or death. This is what Gandhi states as true strength. The oppressors who resort to violence are displaying weakness and desperation while the nonviolent resistors are showing strength. Cortright said that the ability to shed fear is the key to gaining freedom while Gandhi and MLK believed that cowardice was a greater evil than violence. This was not to condone violence in any way but it was a call to people to have personal bravery in their fight against injustice and violence. Love is transcended through nonviolent actions and hits the hearts of the oppressors as well as third parties.

Human love crosses all boundaries of religion. Agape, which Martin Luther King Jr. emphasized in his teachings, is love for the sake of love and the unrestrained giving of self.

THE TRUE essence of nonviolent action: Resist with Love not Hate.

RIP Professor Darby.

-Jeb

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Steadfast Courage

Here is an excerpt from "Courage" by Charles Wagner. I absolutely love his words and directness in speaking about this topic. This ties in with a previous post, A Guide For Real Men. Enjoy.

-Jeb



From Courage, 1894
By Charles Wagner
"Steadfastness is the indispensable quality of every man who one day does not wish to be obliged to say: “I have wasted my life.”
A man should not incessantly change with every impression of the moment, but should remain steadfast when he has once determined upon what is right. Of what use are the flowers if they do not produce fruits, and of good ideas if they are not transmuted into deeds? We must encourage stability, habituate ourselves to remain constant, and when we are sure that we are right, must fortify ourselves against invasion. Do not let criticisms or attacks disturb you.
Nothing is so difficult as to remain faithful. At each step of the way outside influences are brought to bear upon us to make us deviate or retrograde. And if there were only difficulties from without, it would not matter so much; but there are those from within. Our dispositions vacillate. We promise one thing with the best intentions in the world; but when the time comes to keep it, everything is changed–the circumstances, men, ourselves; and what duty demands of us seems so different from what we had foreseen, that we hesitate. Those who will fulfill on a rainy day a promise which they have made on a sunny one, are few and far between.
And so we go on casting our hearts to the four winds, giving it and taking it back again, breaking with our past, separating ourselves from ourselves, so to speak. And when we look behind, we no longer recognize ourselves. We see ourselves in the days that are past as a stranger, or rather as several strangers.
There is nothing like a steadfast man, one in whom you can have confidence, one who is found at his post, who arrives punctually, and who can be trusted when you rely on him. He is worth his weight in gold. You can take your bearings from him, because he is sure to be where he ought to be, and nowhere else. The majority of individuals, on the contrary, are sure to be anywhere but where they ought to be. You have only to take them into your calculations to be deceived. Some of them are changeable from weakness of character; they cannot resist attacks, insinuations, and, above all, cannot remain faithful to a lost cause. A defeat in their eyes is a demonstration of the fact that their adversary was right and that they were wrong. When they see their side fail, instead of closing up the ranks, they go over to the enemy. These are the men who are always found on the winning side, and not in their hearts would be found the courageous device: Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa Catoni.
A profound duplicity, a discrepancy between words and deeds, between appearance and reality, a sort of moral dilettantism which makes us according to the hour sincere or hypocritical, brave or cowardly, honest or unscrupulous–this is the disease which consumes us. What moral force can germinate and grow under these conditions? We must again become men who have only one principle, one word, one work, one love; in a word, men with a sense of duty. This is the source of power. And without this there is only the phantom of a man, the unstable sand, and hollow reed which bends beneath every breath. Be faithful; this is the changeless northern star which will guide you through the vicissitudes of life, through doubts and discouragements, and even mistakes."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Battling Violence With Violins

The Hammer Band

"It started with Toronto’s Summer of the Gun in 2005, when it seemed like dozens of kids were shooting each other almost every day. I was losing sleep thinking about the young teens carrying weapons around. Then I thought of the fact that “violence” and “violins” sound almost the same. With that crazy idea, I decided I could do something about it."
- Moshe Hammer, performer and teacher that aims to get elementary and junior school students to learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the violin, instead of joining gangs.
If you would like to read more on The Hammer Band story, visit: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/giving/battling-violence-with-violins/article4229448/ 
-Carolina Cirillo

Monday, May 21, 2012

Be the REAL Change... Not the Tattoo Change

"Be the change you wish to see in the world" ~Gandhi


This quote is often thrown around on various self-improvement websites, Facebook statuses, World Peace blogs etc etc. Somewhere in your life you have probably come across or heard this quote being uttered. We all have that friend who says, "Well just like Gandhi used to say, 'Be the change you wish to see in the world'".... as if they have just cured you of your existential woes and humanitarian burdens. 

I look at this quote and see something so powerful that the mere mention of it inspires me. I often naively get excited when I see someone with a "Be the Change" tattoo and then immediately become skeptical when I ask them how exactly they live that out. Simply because you tattoo something on your body does not make you an immediate activist. For instance, I have plenty of tattoos but just because my Arabic tattoo is for my Lebanese mother does not mean that I pretend to speak the language, understand the culture or have an inherent insight into the Arab Spring. If your "Be the Change" tattoo is merely there to show people the hipster, laid back liberal in you then we need to have a sit down chat sometime. 

This quote boiled down is a call for ACTION. If Gandhi were the type of man to simply jot something down on paper and leave it at that then there would be no history of this quote and no meaning behind it. It was Gandhi that said, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” 

On March 12, 1930, Gandhi began what is known as "The Salt March." This nonviolent action was meant to oppose the tax monopoly on salt that Britain had at that time. After 23 days and 240 miles of ACTION, Gandhi broke the salt law and immediately sparked large scale acts of civil disobedience all across India. 

Now we all know that we can't just throw on our homespun Indian Cloth and march 240 miles to make a point... but what we can do is individually embrace small changes in our lives in order to "Be The Change." 

Here are some ideas that Gandhi proposed: 

1. Change Yourself.
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

2. Forgive.
“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

3. Don't be afraid to be human. No one is perfect so just go for it. 
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

4. Don't Give In. Changing the world means sharp criticism may be ahead. 
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

5. Be authentic. Stay true to YOURSELF. 
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”


Obviously there are many more ways in which you can "Be The Change" in the world but as a starting point those will do you just fine! 

One Love, 

-Jeb






Sunday, May 20, 2012

12 Inspirations Through Music

Music is one of the most powerful tools to inspire, mobilize and positively effect people all around the world. So today I have compiled a list of songs that are on my "Inspiration" Playlist (in no particular order). I certainly recommend listening to each one and if you have any more songs that really speak to you or move you emotionally then please let me know!

1. "Imagine" by John Lennon
2. "One Day" by Matisyahu
3. "Changes" by 2Pac
4. "This Is Why We Fight" by The Decemberists
5. "Save the World Tonight" by Swedish House Mafia
6. "Songs of Hope" Mashup by K'naan, Matisyahu, Michael Jackson, and Akon
7. "Paradise" by Coldplay
8. "Galaxies" by Owl City
9. "Miracle" by Matisyahu
10. "Love Love Love" by Avalanche City
11. "If You're Out There" by John Legend
12. "Chances" by Five For Fighting


I know there are so many more that I would love to share with you but I'd like to see what other songs inspire YOU. Hope you enjoy!

-Jeb

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Guide for Real Men

As Caitlin and I travel the world and put on camps for children, we come across one prevailing theme where ever we go: the inferior treatment of women and girls. Anyone who travels the world can attest to the fact that still in most societies, religions and cultures women are looked at and treated as inferior to men.

One of Peace Pandemic's most serious focal points is the phrase "You can judge a true man on the basis of how he treats the women in his life." We share this with boys worldwide, often to their own astonishment because they have never thought about how treating a female with respect could translate to being a better man.

As a man, I see the world through a masculine lens (naturally) however, I do not ignore the reality of our skewed tendencies, thoughts and actions towards women. Some men reading this already may be feeling defensive, sarcastic or territorial (all common traits) because as men we do not like to give up our command and influence over a certain situation. This is why many men don't like to talk about their "feelings" or stop and smell the proverbial roses.

Society has even attributed the notion of "Peace and Love" as a feminine trait in most cases. This discourages boys and men from even approaching the subject and turns their focus more towards "masculine" attributes: war, fighting, defense, ruggedness, domination etc.

I do not write this to appeal to the feminists and the soft-hearted. I want to address and enroll the boys and men who think that "getting in touch with their feminine side" is a taboo idea. Men should not look at the treatment of women, peace and love as their feminine side rather we should look at it as our EVOLVED side.

Yes, for centuries men have waged wars and strutted their physical prowess on the battlefield and in the arena. Today, more boys and men are taking this ape-like bravado and using it at home. Domestic violence, rapes, murders, feeling that women should be subordinate to men... all of these things are REAL in today's world.

If you are a man reading this then I encourage you to be different. I applaud those of you who do see women AND other men as your equals. You are pushing the human race forward towards tolerance. Bravo!

Here is a short list of ten things I believe REAL MEN do and should do in regards to the women in their lives:

1. Real men remember that women have different physical and emotional needs than us.
2. Real men see women as their equals; not inferior or superior. This means that no woman is subordinate to you in ANY circumstance and no woman should be put on a pedestal (except for your Mom).
3. Real men are accountable for their actions, thoughts, feelings.
4. Real men NEVER hit/strike a woman.
5. Real men have a level respect for every human being whether man, woman or child.
6. Real men listen but also HEAR what others are telling us.
7. Real men find a way NOT to use force if there are other options.
8. Real men always exude integrity, patience, kindness and humility.
9. Real men use language to show intelligence and sincerity, not gossip and aspersion.
10. Real men Love.

Be the Change

-Jeb

Friday, May 18, 2012

7 Quick and Easy Tips to Start Your Day Off Peacefully

Most of us know that the mornings can sometimes...ok MOST of the time be a grind. The alarm goes off and the only thing you want to do is throw it across the room and bury your head in between your pillows. If you're like me... you simply set 3 alarms so that when the first goes off, you hit the Snooze button and get another five minutes of serene, peaceful sleep... until the next alarm goes off (Repeat). 

Here are a few tips to making the morning routine somewhat more enjoyable and peaceful so that you can go through your day a bit more energetic (and joyful). I share these tips with you because often a simple tweak in our mornings can have a profound effect on how we act and REACT during the day. If we want to get out and change the world... we must change our attitude and outlook in the morning. Here are some tips! 

1. Get rid of that obnoxious alarm that you want to beat with a hammer! Think about it.. the first noise of the day that you hear is a loathsome, deafening sound that would make anyone irritated. Choose and alarm sound that is easier to wake up to and tranquil. (I personally like the Harp on the Iphone or some of the Free sleep/alarm Apps through iTunes work great as well). 

2. Take care of every chore, mess, disorder in your house before you go to bed. This is something that is so easy to do yet most people wake up and immediately feel overwhelmed with the tasks in front of them. If you take your lunch to work or make it for your kids, put it together at night and you will find more time in the morning dedicated to your own well-being. 

3. Avoid any rush by getting up earlier. This is often a hard one for anyone who already gets up early or is the first to rise in their household. I started gradually by waking up 15 minutes earlier every single week until I got to a comfortable time that I could consistently work with. You will be amazed at how much more peaceful you feel after a relaxed, easy-going morning routine. 

4. Spend this extra little time on YOURSELF. The day ahead of you may present countless challenges and barriers to your happiness but that is life. To combat this stress, start your day off with 15-30 minutes of quiet meditation, a walk outside or relaxing to a cup of tea in silence. I force myself to smile (through the tiredness) and think of a few things in my life that I am grateful for. This simple exercise will give you time to center yourself and focus on the beauty of the day ahead. 

5. Avoid TV, Email, Twitter, Facebook, business calls until you have had time to yourself. This one was difficult for me (and still is). My first inclination is to turn off my alarm and check my email while the phone is still sitting in my hand. If you can have the discipline to put the technology down and before you spiritually wake up, you will be thanking yourself later on in the day for it. 


6. Drink a glass of water when you get up. This has a lot of health benefits associated with it...you will jump start your metabolism and it will leave you feeling more energetic and refreshed to tackle the day. Your body gets dehydrated during sleep so replenishing your body right away will give it that kick start it needs! 


7. Frustrations and unexpected events are bound to happen in the morning and throughout the day. Stay calm and carry on. The 15-30 minutes of focused breathing, meditation or relaxation will help you breathe through these moments and think clearer on how to move forward. First you must make peace within yourself and then you can make peace out in the world. 

"The day shall not be up so soon as I,
To try the fair adventure of tomorrow."
~William Shakespeare

Go change the World! 

~Jeb

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Freedom Riders

The Freedom Riders were a courageous band of civil rights activists who challenged segregation, by travelling side by side on buses and trains from Washington, DC all the way to Jackson, Mississippi on May 4-24th 1961. Over 400 men and women, black, white and other nationalities were faced with mob violence and imprisonment, but they believed they could defeat it all in nonviolent activism.



"Your parents tell you don`t start something you cant finish. So finish it!"


- Carolina