By Philip M. Hellmich, Director of Peace at The Shift Network
A sailboat's wake is a quiet and profound salutation. Sails burgeoning with power, clouds swirling in blue sky, air carrying faint sounds of seagulls, the world is in motion with an eternal clarity. A sailboat's wake is a bridge, however temporary, between humanity and nature. For sailboater's like me, the deep slice of the hull through water creates a silent, swirling tunnel that, as if I've never passed, soon dissipates in the vast ocean. Yet that temporary vortex makes me understand how important our lives can be. When the wake settles and the waves rejoin, it leaves an experience in me so rich that my heart synchronizes with the ocean's peace.
I feel so thankful to experience such beauty and feel such thoughts. Having worked all my life to gain a little understanding and, perhaps, to contribute to humanity drive toward peace, it occurs to me that we need those moments, those bridges so individual to each person, to help us synchronize to the beat of our nature. To find my bridges, like you, is a life's work.
My journey began a long time ago. I have been writing every morning for two or three hours since I was twenty years old. With two novels and one nonfiction work to show, it has been a pleasure. My novels are bridges: "Backbeat: A Novel of Physics" joins science with intuition. My thriller, "The Synthesis", collapses two forms of power into one heart. My nonfiction work, "The Elements of Peace", creates bridges that tie the thirty methods for how we make peace to our personal values and virtues.
In addition to my books, I had the pleasure to found in 2009 the nonprofit organization International Cities of Peace. As an Association of cities of peace, ICP provides bridges from grassroots movements to city government. To date, we are approaching seventy global cities of peace with sophisticated and practical visions, missions, and goals, as well as a link for true collaboration with all the parties needing to be heard in creating a community culture of peace.
So when I feel the power of wind filling the sails, when I see all the colors of the rainbow as my sailboat cuts through waves without either human or the environment bleeding, my heart crosses a bridge into peace. These bridges might be temporal but they are eternal in spirit, not only for me but also for you. Profoundly thankful, indeed.
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This article appears in:
2013 Catalyst - Issue 13