You Must Shine as You

This Week in Peace Chronicles, the exciting adventures of San Jose's own Dancer of Peace, Khalilah Ramirez. Written under divine inspiration, the column contains true stories of peace encounters in your neighborhood. This past week, the Dance of Peace took part in the Rhythms of West Africa camp and got deep with the tiniest and most curios amongst us.

Greetings and welcome to This Week In Peace! In addition to chronicling the adventures of the Dance of Peace and its mission, This Week in Peace strives to highlight the qualities and experiences that unite us. It is a study of the emotions that unite us, feelings of joy and working together to make things better in our world. One of these many powerful emotions is peace. It is unique among emotions because it also encompasses conditions, visions and actions. It is multifaceted and versatile, created in countless ways yet the results are the same. If we have peace WITHIN, we will more effectively exemplify it for others. This quality lies in each of our hearts. We expand it as we dwell on it.

The Dance of Peace took place today at Villa Montalvo's Rhythms of West Africa camp. Villa Montalvo is an arts center hidden in the hills of Saratoga. Its setting provides a creative mash-up of artful elegance and evolving natural surroundings. This year, the camp consisted of 13 young people ages 6-10. As a peace dancer, it is my work not only to teach them dance and movement but to engage their minds on the level of peace. Before children can be taught anything, care must be shown by listening to them. Each child takes a turn sharing their Name & News to find out about who they are and what is relevant or exciting for them at this time. One has five cats. Another was turning "seven and three quarters" that very day. We practiced our dance under the morning sun and the waning moon. At the end of class I read them the book "The Peace Dancer" and related to them the role that our dancing played in fostering peace within.

Our conversation continued with the question, What is Peace? This inquiry is always presented to groups as a way to get them thinking about peace and expressing themselves on the subject.

"Peace is when everything settles down."

"When I do yoga, I feel peace."

"I'm not sure what peace is."

All of these answers relate to peace and we discussed this. Even though children have less life experience than adults, their questions about life and the state of the world can be equally deep. They wanted to know more about peace and how this work of dancing out in the world increased it. It was an honor to answer their questions on this matter! I told them as much as time allowed. Not only is peace a good feeling that comes from within, it can be acted upon, amplified, purposefully created in a heartbeat and shared with others. "You mean we can use peace to get things done?" Yes! We are being positively innovative when we use peace to accomplish things!

One seven year old had a question that was particularly profound. She said that she had asked her parents this question several times. They told her, "That's a big question!" but never solved it. She wanted to ask her big question now but she wasn't sure how to say it with her "teeny, tiny" English. The group encouraged her. We all listened carefully then tried to decipher what she said. In a moment we figured out that she was asking, "Why am I me and not someone else?" Hmm. How to explain that in teeny tiny English to someone who is seven? A succinct response was required. Excessive words would cloud the meaning and risk being lost in translation.

"You're you because you are unique. There is only one of you for all time. You are you because that contributes to the world. No one else can do things as you do. You must shine as you." There was some silence. She began to nod and the group followed suit.

I'm unsure exactly how much they grasped but I am sure that her little face reflected relief. The depth of their wonderment and curiosity about life was impressive! Let's engage those around us on the level of peace, regardless of their age. Thanks and see you out there!


Check Out More of This Week in Peace Column:
Let Freedom Reign

Dance Express the Heart of the Dancer

Peace Blossoms in Freedom

This article is part of the categories: Arts & Culture  / Community  / San Jose//South Bay 
This article is part of the tags: Khalilah Ramirez  / Peace  / Peace Dancer  / San Jose Peace Dancer 


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