Note: In our attempt to uncover and offer some contemporary, alternative
heroes to those so often annointed in the mainstream media,
we asked some of Creations favorite, long term contributors to share their
PILGRIM: STEP BY STEP
by Donna Henes, Exotic Brooklyn
Step by step
Mile by mile
a moving force for peace.
Peace Pilgrim devoted almost 30 years of her life to walking and talking
for peace. When she was in her fifties during the early years of the Cold
War in the 1950s, she spent a period of concentrated inner questioning
about what she, one person, could do in the cause of peace. This midlife
meditation culminated in her experiencing an intense spiritual awakening.
She came to understand that it was her destiny to be "a wanderer
until mankind has learned the ways of peace."
She gave away all of her possessions, including her name, and prepared
to embark upon her incredible pilgrimage. On the morning of January 1,
1953, Peace Pilgrim, as she now called herself, set out to walk 10,000
miles for peace. She carried her few belongings a comb, a toothbrush,
a pen and some postal stamps in the pockets of her tunic. She pledged
to walk until she was given shelter and to fast until she was offered
food. She gave everyone she met a printed explanation of her walk that
bore the simple message. "This is the way to peace overcome
evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love."
To attain inner peace you must actually give your life, not just your
possessions. When you at last give your life bringing into alignment
your beliefs and the way you live then, and only then, can you begin
to find inner peace. Peace Pilgrim
Mama Donna, Urban Shaman, has offered lectures, workshops, circles,
and celebrations worldwide for 30 years. She is the director of Mama Donnas
Tea Garden & Healing Haven. CityShaman@aol.com
by Puja Thomson, New Paltz, NY
When thinking of heroes, the first person to pop into my head was Archbishop
Desmond Tutu and alongside him President Nelson Mandela and the
others who created South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
They gave the world a truly pioneering system, based on understanding
rather than vengeance, reparation rather than retaliation. They exemplify
the kind of "team-player heroes" we need right now.
After the brutality and incredible suffering of apartheid, South Africans
faced the enormous challenge of finding ways to deal with their past and
unite a deeply conflicted nation. They asked how they could break the
cycle of violence, go beyond the roles of victim and perpetrator, and
even bring forgiveness after horror. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
found a way to acknowledge the truth of atrocities openly and begin reparation
and healing of wounds. In balancing these two forces, they went far beyond
other known systems of handling the aftermath of oppression or war. For
example, the Nuremberg Trial paradigm in Germany brought all the perpetrators
to harsh justice. On the other hand, there was the blanket amnesty and
self-pardoning of General Pinochet in Chile. Both carried forward simmering
I keep returning to Desmond Tutu's powerful book, No Future Without Forgiveness,
to remind me of the possibility of the heroic. Persons of truly heroic
proportions, like Tutu and Mandela, emerge from events that scare, threaten
and intimidate most. Tutu was committed to build a peace on behalf of
the women and the 'little people' of South Africa, to whom he dedicated
his insightful compassionate book. I wonder who will emerge from among
us to forge a path of justice, reparation and reconciliation in post-Iraq
Puja A.J. Thomson is a healing facilitator, counselor, educator, author
and Minister of healing. Her website is: www.rootsnwings.com.
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Alan Cohen, Haiku, HI
The shuttle van was late and the hotel guests waiting at the curbside
were bugged. Everybody needed to get somewhere quickly, and each one knew
their need was the most important. The African-American driver, forty-ish,
stocky, slightly balding, was doing his best to move the passengers onto
the van smoothly. As he passed I caught a flash of his name badge: "Doug."
I didnt envy Doug that morning. The final passenger to board was
an Asian woman with a splint on her knee.
Doug had saved a seat by the door for her and her young son, about seven
years old. In contrast to the frenzy around him, Doug carefully helped
the woman into her place and set her leg on a little stool. Then he turned
to the boy and had a heart-to-heart talk with him. "You know your
momma needs you now, dont you?"
The child silently nodded.
"Shes counting on you to help her. Now you de man,
Again the boy nodded. Doug gave him a friendly pat on the rear and lovingly
lifted him onto the seat next to his mom.
Doug matter-of-factly slid the side door shut, took his drivers
seat, and got the vehicle rolling. My mind, however, was still at the
curbside. I had just witnessed an act of extraordinary love. In the midst
of a sea of self-centeredness, this humble man had deftly taken care of
Gods business. "You de man, you understand?"
The world teaches us that greatness means volumes of bucks in the bank,
celebrity status, or good looks. But there is one measure of greatness
that exceeds them all: Kindness.
is an author and teacher. Phone 1-800-568-3079, visit www.alancohen.com,
by Connie Burns, Black Mountain, NC
When thinking about heroes, a couple came to mind. One is Alice Miller,
a psychoanalyst who I have always admired for her commitment to telling
the truth of the patients shes worked with. Shes a voice for
the unheard, those whove suffered subtle abuse in a world that only
recognizes the intense and overt. My favorite book of hers is The Drama
of the Gifted Child.
Derrick Jensen came to mind as well, because of the huge impact hes
had on my vision of the world. Weve printed articles from two books
of his in Creations; A Language Older than Words, and The Culture
of Make Believe. I have to say these were two of the hardest books
Ive ever read in terms of their content, not the language.
Derrick looks at the very darkest sides of humanity with clear eyes, hiding
and denying nothing, gazing with horror on the devastation that we are
wreaking on this beautiful planet and on each other. Yet he is still able
to bring compassion with him. I wept many times reading those books.
I met him once at a book reading in Asheville. I was nervous, thinking
he might judge me because most of my energy goes into my psychotherapy
practice, and I have so little left over for any type of social activism.
I said as much to him, and tears came to my eyes when he affirmed me for
what I do with compassion, respect and kindness. We need more truth tellers
who can look at and speak of the very worst that people are capable of,
and still hold an open and compassionate heart.
Connie Burns is a psychotherapist in private practice, and Creations
Managing Editor. email@example.com