On Tuesday Oct 12, Spotlight Values celebrated the International Day of Non-Violence and the heroes of non-violence at the Meditation Center and Gallery, New York City. Young Adults and Professionals were welcomed with light refreshments and soft background music as they enter the café, allowing them to mingle and get acquainted. Following the meet & greet, was an interactive process on exploring, expressing and exchanging experiences on the value of Non-Violence. The Spotlight Values project was introduced to the participants and a brief Q&A on what non-violence means to them set the tone for the evening. This led right into the presentation of Ela Gandhi’s message on non-violence. Immediately following this, the participants were led into exploring the value of non-violence in silence and had conversations in smaller groups of four. This proved to be very successful as the youths seemed to enjoy expressing and exchanging their perspectives amongst each other.
Yuritzi and Elizabeth performed a beautiful dance giving an artistic expression to the value of non-violence. The dance was a reflection of the ability to allow flow, flexibility and non-resistance whilst being intertwined with each other.
We regrouped for another phase of the initial activity where we experienced the value of non-violence in our personal lives. The evening capped off with everyone coming together to explore the idea of non-violence through art. Everyone was asked to join in creating a mural that visually expressed non-violence. Followed by exchanging our thoughts, feelings and stories behind our expressive pieces with everyone.
Finally, we signed the commitment cards for the month, making a commitment to observe non-violence in a particular situation or person. And also explored ways we could help in promoting the project in our community.
On September 23, 2010, 20 – 25 young adults from New York gathered at the Manhattan Center to celebrate the International Day of Peace.
The evening started with a welcome and an introduction to the spotlight values project and website. The “explore, express and exchange” process was briefly explained before asking participants to dive right into getting to know each other, and exploring their ideas about peace through creating a recipe or an equation of/for peace. Each group came up with a great group of virtues and elements that make up peace. (You can read some samples below).
After sharing and reflecting, the whole group paused to meditate together to a meditation video that was hand-drawn for the Spotlight values website which featured a series of beautiful flowers changing colors.
1. How do I experience peace in my busy lifestyle? Do I feel the need to accommodate peace in my busy lifestyle? When I accommodate Peace in my lifestyle, what is peace as an action like?
2. What does it mean to express Peace to others? How do I share and express this creatively? Using your creative method, express and share peace.
Each group picked an action: a drawing, a quilt, a play, a song, a poem or a collaborative art project. Everyone dived right in and created lovely pieces. Once completed, each group presented their piece and in their own way spoke on how peace transforms the self and those around you.
Reflection on forgiveness when one is at peace:
“I can be okay with myself. I know that even if I make a mistake, I can embrace myself and help myself and make sure it’s okay.”
“You just have to let go. It’s okay for them to be themselves because it is mostly bugging you — trying to help yourself. It’s mostly selfishness instead of caring and being peaceful. [Instead] calmly think about it and know what actions to think about. If you can forgive yourself, others can forgive you. And if you can be happy with yourself, other people can be happy with you. They can see a little brightness in you that will bring them towards you to become friends.” — by Seeret Ruprai, Calgary, Canada
The experience of value during moments of reflection can sometimes make one at a loss for words. Sometimes it does not matter if there are no words. For Simran, it was a clear signal for the facilitators that providing as many opportunities for participants to find meaning within the self is one of the most important purposes of these workshops.
Expression surpasses words. Where there are no words, there was the power to experience through tactile activities. Participants had an opportunity to explore other qualities meaningful to them under the umbrella of peace. Colouring and poetry was used as a means to develop one’s own feeling peace where other virtues of the heart can be experienced. Participants took moments to reflect on how to practice peace in their day to day lives. There was an earnest feeling of wanting to move forward to appreciate the self and others in this activity.
Peace….we all search for it, and yet, it is sometimes so far away. We all need peace in our lives – young, old, rich, poor. Since coming to the Brahma Kumaris, I have realized that peace is indeed intrinsic, and the only reason I move away from it is due to my own forgetfulness.
Thus, is celebration of the International Day of Peace, I organized a Spotlight Values gathering of friends and family along with Madhavi, Julia and Sabita to explore, express and exchange the value of peace. The age range spanned from 16 years to about 60 years or so. We shared our stories of peaceful moments of life, expressed them through an artistic expression like creating the peace pie and quilt and then exchanged our artistic creations with each other. The bottom line:
Peace = acceptance + lack of ego: I accept you, and more importantly, I accept myself. - by Pallavi Gupta, New York
Montreal – October 20, 2010
Last September in Montreal, Canada, Om Cafe opened its doors at L’Émergence for the very first time, when the local Brahma Kumaris young adults group, also known as JAM (Jeunes Adultes de Montreal; Montreal Young Adults), transformed the meditation center into an urban cafe.
About 20 young adults gathered in the warm, vibrant and inviting atmosphere created by dimmed lighting, candles, spicy chai, delicious desserts and world-lounge music. This perfect blend easily enabled everyone to share in a very spontaneous way about spirituality, and was the ideal setting in which to present the Spotlight Values project.
While videos from the blog site were being shown, everyone was invited to write a short thought about peace. These were later randomly exchanged, warming the hearts of the ones who received them. Before leaving at nearly 11 pm a participant shared how nice it had been for him to experience peace, and feel freed from waste thoughts.
A second Om Cafe will be presented by JAM on Friday, October 22, 2010. The topic of night will be non-violence.
Everyone is most welcome to join!
To catch the vibe of the Om Cafe on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b3sYuAgZPw
– by Anne-Christelle and Julien Gagnon, Montreal
Tune in to weeradioonline.com (87.7 FM Wee Radio) and listen to Spotlight Values and the We Generation
Time: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM (Eastern Time) Every Saturday Morning
September 18: Announcing our new weekly radio show called Spotlight Values: A look at What Makes us Shine hosted by the Brahma Kumairs and dedicated to the UN International Year of Youth. Tune into WEE Radio 87.7 FM sponsored by MGN Funding.
The Brahma Kumaris is dedicated to the development of a new story – one that reflects the empowerment of every individual to manifest his or her purest self on the core principles of peace, non-violence, tolerance, and dignity.
It is a simple 3 step process which invites individuals between the ages of 13 to 35 to experiment with values. The 3 step process is: Explore, Express, and Exchange. A particular value is chosen to explore and express the ways in which it applies to practical daily living. Participants are then invited to exchange their experiences through story telling.
This month we are exploring the value of peace, as September 21st (next Tuesday) is he UN International Day of Peace (IDP). To explain how the Spotlight Values Process works, today we spotlighted three very interesting individuals representing the three age groups: Dhashaini Nadarajah a 27 year old fourth year medical school student from St. George’s University, West Indies (young leaders), Shashank Mittal a 20 year old student at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan (young adults); and Antoinette Hemlall a 13 year old attending H Frank Carey High school in Queens, New York (Teens).
Each chose a favorite song which represented some of what peace meant to them in their busy and sometimes challenging young lives and then shared their stories.
The segment, Spotlight Focus features news from around the world, this week the focus was the youth festival in Lima Peru; the UN International Day of Peace, and the UN Department of Public Information and Non Governmental (DPI/NGO) Conference in Melbourne Australia. 23 year old Kim Wainer’s experience of being a Brahma Kumaris UN Youth delegate at this conference was shared with the listeners.
Spotlight Values invites the young generation (13-35) to create this story together. Join us every Saturday morning from 8:00AM to 9:00AM on WEE Radio 87.7 FM. Watch out for Spotlight Values on the internet – we will keep you posted.
Let the best in you shine and be inspired by the brilliance in others. Exchange your pioneering insights and discoveries with others by posting them online on the Spotlight Values Blog (www.spotlightvalues.org)
The red carpet was rolled out on Saturday evening, September 18th, when a spotlight was caste on peace at Peace Village Learning and Retreat Center in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. Many of us know that spotlight values is a youth initiative for youth and young adults. However, on this artful and creative evening that honored the International Day of Peace, the aim was to reignite and/or keep lit the spirit of youth and peace for an audience whose ages ranged from 10 years to someone at the ripe age of 93.
The audience was invited into a cafe style atmosphere with soft, warm lighting, relaxed music, delicious chai, nutritious herbal teas, and home-made chocolate cake with a berrie drizzle — mmmmmm, good! In this friendly and welcoming space everyone was awakened to the Spotlight values initiative and its explore, express, and exchange process. They were moved into exploring peace through a contemporary dance titled “From Dark Into Light”. Much like its name, the dance was the story that spiritual leaders throughout history have journeyed in the name of bringing peace on earth, the obstacles triumphed, and the realization for the practice of peaceful methods to bring peace on earth. The audience was prompted to explore their own stories of peace which was then synthesized into the highly poetic form of expression called haiku. Click here to read some haiku moments shared by the participants http://spotlightvalues.org/video-library/expressive-writings-2/ . Some of the more inspired audience members exchanged their haiku moments on peace with the rest of us — oh, it was a scene filled with emotion, silence, beauty, lightness, drama, as well as humor. We also explored and expressed peaceful values like courage and love through dance, which then ended in a peace dance bringing us all quietly into our seats for the final moment of inner reflection and realization. Aaaahhh, we all reached the inner sanctuary of peace where the true spotlight was caste! — by Colleen
The “Year of the Youth” was launched in a General Assembly at the United Nations building. Many people gave inspiring speeches and multi- media presentations. These were people who were concerned for the well- being of youths everywhere and making sure youths were empowered and that their voices were heard. I really enjoyed listening to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He spoke about giving youths a chance to shine and working together to make the future a good one. Many speakers said youths everywhere should take actions to empower the youths of the community using the theme of dialogue and understanding. When the Year of Youths is over, they want us to have accomplished something big. I felt really happy when hearing them talk about creating programs for youths because Spotlight Values is well on the way to inspiring and empowering youths. It feels good to be part of something that will do so much good.
- by Alaina
On Thursday August 12, 2010, The International Year of Youth was launched at the United Nations’ General Assembly Hall. Antoinette, Alaina, Madhavi and Julian attended this event on behalf of the Spotlight Values team. It was an amazing experience to join the other youth around the world under a common umbrella of mutual understanding. The theme for this year’s International Year of Youth is ‘Dialogue and Mutual Understanding’. Throughout the event that was held, there were statements addressing the youth by many, including the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. It was a great pleasure to hear Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon speak, “I urge young people everywhere to look beyond the borders of your own country. Engage with the world, and be a global citizen. Exchange visits and communication across cultures are all building blocks of world peace and mutual understanding”. There were even some amazing videos and slide shows put together by different youth organizations. Youth play a big role in changing the world by addressing society’s most challenging issues. This year is for the youth to be listened to with respect and to make sure their voices are heard.