January 30, 2009 marked the beginning of the 12th annual Season for Non-Violence. A Season for Nonviolence is an international 64-day educational, media and grassroots campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and our communities. Inspired by the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this international event honors their vision for an empowered, loving, compassionate and peaceful world.

This is a perfect time for each of us to explore how our thoughts, words and actions reflect fear or love. While it is easy to see acts of violence taking place every day, simply by watching the news on television, listening to radio newscasts and reading the newspaper, it is sometimes a greater challenge to explore the violence we personally express.

What is violence? Quite simply – violence is all thoughts, words and actions that fail to honor our divinity as children of God and our inter-connectedness as a global family. It is obvious to see this physical violence and verbal abuse, yet it is our ability to see and acknowledge the practice of violence in our ordinary daily activities that provides us the greatest opportunity to transform and transcend our judgments and prejudices. It is our fear-based judgments that serve as the starting point for us to commit acts of violence. Until each of us can truly free our minds from beliefs that separate and divide the human family we will continue to practice violence that ultimately begets more violence.

Let’s take a look at how insidious violence is in our daily lives. Here are some examples:

• As you look at yourself in the mirror when you first wake-up and you judge the image greeting you with some version of, “I look disgusting today” and “I don’t like looking at you,” you are committing an act of self-abuse, an act of violence.

• When you curse the driver in the car in front of you for going too slow, you are committing an act of violence in both the thought you are directing toward the person in the other car and toward yourself through the energy of the thoughts being expressed through you.

• When you listen to a news report and feel your anger and fury towards political positions you do not agree with, you are committing an act of violence.

• When you cut someone off in a conversation by criticizing their point of view as wrong and stupid, you are committing an act of violence.

• When you take your children’s failure to make their beds or clean up after themselves as a personal affront and you scream at them and call them names, you are committing an act of violence.

If you see yourself in any of these examples do not judge yourself; rather acknowledge your ability to notice violence in your own life and with this awareness forgive yourself. Then make new choices about the thoughts you think, the words you use to express yourself, and the actions you take. If you truly desire a more peaceful and loving world – within yourself, your family, your community and your world, then you must begin with yourself. Use this 12th anniversary of A Season for Non-Violence as a springboard for you, in the words of Gandhi, to "be the change you wish to see in the world."

For more information about A Season for Non-Violence go to: www.agnt.org and view the principles of Non-Violence outlined by Mahatma Gandhi & Martin Luther King.

Consider joining a free monthly WITH Forgiveness Teleclass (www.withforgiveness.com)

Author's Bio: 

Susyn Reeve, M.Ed. is the SelfGrowth.com's Official Expert Attitude Guide and the co-creator of Self-Esteem-Experts and WITH Forgiveness. She is the author of the award-winning book, Choose Peace and Happiness and The Gift of the Acorn and WITH Forgiveness - Are You Ready?

Contact her to schedule a coaching session or to arrange to have her speak to your organization or group (support@selfesteemexperts.com)