Monday, January 26, 2015

The Saga of Peace Month

Welcome to Peace Month.
I hope you'll find joy & meaning here.

I am anti-Militarist.
I urge you likewise to tell your friends & family you are anti-Militarist
It's an important step toward feedom.

This blog was a daily listing of thoughts and experiences.
It's best read now in reverse order, so you can understand the story. Please go here to read more:

The Peace Month story:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hearty Good Wishes

For those embarking from today on a month of Ramadan fasting - Hearty Good Wishes!

Take time to appreciate and to better understand our world.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Enjoying Fast Times

Today Ramadan begins in Sweden. Many will start fasting, most as a religious observance. Some might challenge Peace Month: a personal challenge, an effort at solidarity, a quest... Try.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Three months later

Peace Month assisted my becoming more deliberate; and fun-loving. Bravo!

In my case, the Peace Month Challenge was important to life. Each person who attempts the challenge, and the smaller number who can complete a full month, will benefit remarkedly.
-- Dr. Bruce Henry Lambert

This is not an easy challenge. Doing this challenge for one month will impact your personal, professional & family life on a daily basis, and ye'll be sorely tried. (Hint: if next day be parched, hydrate b4 dawn). In 100 hours you'll understand: no food or drink from dawn to dusk requires toughness !!
few reading this will be able...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One month later

Thinking back to the Peace Month Challenge, my remaining strongest impression is empowerment. Choosing to persevere with fasting was calming. Calm power.

I'm now trying to avoid eating foods that are unhealthy and unremarkable, and seeking to better appreciate the many riches all around.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 30: Joy

This morning, for the first time in a month, I could drink morning coffee. I enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast the last day of a one week stay at the 5-star Tokyo Righa Royal hotel (first use of my breakfast coupons). Yumbo!

As I enjoy the end of Peace Month, and 2 billion Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan, the rest of the world is largely oblivious. Those of the Jewish faith are celebrating Rosh Hashana, the Japanese are enjoying a five-day weekend until Wednesday, others are engulfed in daily living. CNN news has tales of strife, with an undercurrent of anti-Islamic demonization. Can't we have more joy?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 29: Goodwill

At sunset today I was in Shibuya-ku, at the Tokyo Camii (Tokyo Mosque) for the end of Ramadan. Three Japanese friends joined me, hoping to see people celebrating the start of Eid and the end of Peace Month. We stood on the beautiful porch of the mosque and greeted the worshipers as they finished their sunset prayer. Over 200 men slowly filed out, greeting each other and welcoming us. It was unclear, however, if Ramadan was over yet: at 9PM people would go outside and look for the new crescent moon - if it was spotted then Eid would begin, if it was overcast, then the declaration in Malaysia would be used. We were urged to join with others for a meal in the large assembly room downstairs, and found ourselves welcomed to share a meal with the spiritual leader and pleasant people of many nations. I felt some cross-cultural uncertainty (discussion was in Japanese, English & Arabic, among an energetic congregation eating heartily) but the stronger undercurrent was kindness, welcome, joy, and greeting. It was a highly-memorable meal, and for an hour or so I felt I'd suddenly traveled abroad. It was a time of substantive goodwill.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 28: Dignity

The end of Peace Month will reaffirm the commonplace in my life, bringing to an end a certain sobriety, dignity, even nobility. The Peace Month effort is outward-looking: aiming to reduce & eliminate armed conflict and injustice. Yet much of the impact thus far to my participation has been to me. I've shared a condition described elsewhere as "in the world, but not of the world" - a detachment not aloof but without the anxiousness of the surrounding herd. My quest for peace will continue, without the dislocation of dehydration & hunger, but some subtle perspectives achieved from this month-long challenge will likely be eroded. Gross & immediate bodily pleasures and associated egotism will distract my attention, just as absorbs people all around. The Peace Month Challenge has not yet been a catalyst for world peace, but Peace Month 2009 has been successful. One day remains...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 27: Amorphousness

Part of the challenge to doing Peace Month in tandem with Ramadan is the amorphous start & finish timing, both for the month overall and for daily timing of dawn & dusk. Ramadan begins when the new crescent moon is sighted, and ends similarly when the first slice of crescent moon appears. This date varies in different places, as does dawn & dusk. These naturally precise instances don't fit our human-generated time structures very well - we don't actually know the start or end of the month until it's upon us, and each year it changes when judged by season or the Western calendar. Sunrise & sunset are charted to the minute for major cities, but for those in the suburbs or the countryside, the instant of transition is nebulous & tricky to chart, unless a nearby mosque is calling Fajr or Maghrib prayer. Fasting (sawm in Arabic) should continue until darkness makes black & white threads indistinguishable, or perhaps until no remaining thread of light appears. The end of Ramadan & Peace Month will be this Friday night... or Saturday night -- or Sunday night... The following day a festival begins, Eid al-Fitr. For those who've successfully challenged Peace Month, it will be a time for congratulations. But it's also a time to boldly critique war and the horrible impact of violence upon innocent non-combatants. Please work for Peace.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 26: Grazing

I'm amazed this month to see the importance of eating & drinking in my normal daily living. Not having a morning cup of coffee, not having lunch, not taking a break for a glass of water or a snack... Then traveling around town, especially visiting places I'm not normally resident (thus far this month: to London, Oxford, Paris, Tokyo). Many tasty treats are on display, at least some of which I'd have enjoyed. But this month I've stepped away from daytime consumption. Please make my sacrifice somewhat worthwhile: whenever you are reading this, can you do something today for Peace?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 25: Isolation

Over one billion Muslims are fasting everyday for a month during this Ramadan. They do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours. For Peace Month I've similarly gone without food or drink from dawn to dusk. When talking to people about Peace Month, I've been surprised how little they know of the Ramadan fast. Many people are surprised to hear that even liquids are not allowed. Media reports the start of Ramadan, and the end; but largely outside the public eye is the month in-between: a period of struggle, success and inspiration. I hope the Peace Month Challenge becomes steadily popular, and more non-Muslims will use the chance to challenge themselves and to see the world somewhat differently. I've learned a lot, though at times it's felt a lonely struggle. I'll also continue to increase my efforts for peace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 24: Polarization

It's a tragedy that many people become adults with no ability to listen to ideas they disagree with. Demonizing those with different views is an aggressiveness that should be discouraged. Political leaders who mock civility set a terrible example. Those who incite violence should be sanctioned. It is foolish to claim "you're either with us, or against us" - especially when key information is unknown, or details suppressed. It's important that platforms for discussion & debate be constructed and maintained. Otherwise we give up to the noisiest voice, the power of the truncheon, or mob rule.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 23: Humane

Some otherwise advanced nations, such as the USA & Japan, brutishly execute criminals. This is wrong for assorted reasons. First, many of these people are being punished for horrific crimes: no right-minded person would do such things. Almost by definition these people are crazed, and their surrounding community shares some at least some responsibility. More importantly, we have the chance to be humane, to belatedly attempt somehow to make things right. Butchering the butchers is not a proper response, as there are surrounding family and friends (both of victim & perpetrator) then further brutalized. A peaceful community should care about its weakest, misguided or callous members. Perhaps they must be imprisoned, but the prison system need not be a chamber of horrors. We have the capacity to be humane, while still protecting our community. We should be humane. The possibility exists of people being unjustly convicted, and also of some who might make some form of restitution. I hope to live in a humane community.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 22: Poise

Poise and balance are best recognized when lost. Can we create balanced communities? Maybe not all people in the community will be balanced, but the social services and community-wide activities can be well-designed (or not). People can be better encouraged to be considerate and friendly with each other. This sounds simple, but when a community is marketed and positioned and recognized as being a desirable place to live, property values rise, the tax base improves, and thus even better services become possible. We can each do small things to make the community better: pickup a few bits of trash, heartily greet neighbors and other community members, purchase locally-produced products and services that then recirculate funds through the locality. Positive community spirit can start with the poise and energy and welcoming spirit of even one individual.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 21: Detachment

A dynamic is generated between attention and perceived need, as wants & needs impose themselves on attention & consciousness. We've the choice, though not always the strength, to recognize and to satisfy needs, or to note need and detach, or to not be bothered

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 20: Need

Accept the challenge of Peace Month - you'll see a new world in new ways, even without leaving home. Perhaps you'll also grow to recognize the need, the many needs, of people all around. When yourself in a state of need, while in want of liquids & nutrients & refreshment, you are open to sensing the needs of others -- satiety smothers this sensitivity. 'Seek and ye shall find...'

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 19: Pain

An hour after doing rigorous abdominal exercises yesterday, I had painful cramps; they continue somewhat today. Perhaps lack of food has contributed to some type of imbalance? Whatever this case, a key fact emerges: fighting for peace can be painful. Warfare & hostilities are the foundation of certain corporate & military interests - peace undermines their operations. Some people are passionate about revenging themselves upon others - we risk our health standing in their way. But War brings more pain, indiscriminately. Look at the crying faces of mourners, whose tears herald the wider guilt of those indifferent or inhumane. Can we take up their pain and nurture it toward positive ends? Even in the midst of pain, we each in a small way can generate grace & kindness.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 18: Enthusiasm

Our modern societies offer much leisure time, but depression and melancholy are all around us. People often lose sight of challenge, joy and enthusiasm.

Perhaps Peace Month can help.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 17: Forgiveness

I feel angst for the waste and needs of the world. Selfish and powerful people are certainly responsible for much suffering. Who are these villains? Can Peace Month be a chance to forgive the wicked?

These people will probably never see their errors. Indeed, they'll likely use deceit, malice and savagery to their last breath. Isn't it foolish to acquiesce to their aggressiveness? Shouldn't such rot be identified, exposed, and eradicated? Appeasement simply makes us accomplices.

It would be wonderful if somehow the suffering generated by foolish sociopathic behavior could be recognized by the guilty. There are surely paths to conversion. But what might force reflection on wrongs?

Some such people might respect their family, their mother, close friends, etc.

Practicing satyagraha is a key step, "holding fast to truth" and refusing to assist what's wrong. Justice should ultimately prevail. Yet each of us also decides our own action(s), and inaction is an active choice. Each has responsibility for promoting his or her own understanding of justice. Amidst such a clamor, foundations for communication & peace are important.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day 16: Thanks

I'm still surprised that Peace Month brings quiet & composure in the midst of fasting. I truly expected more suffering. When breaking the fast at the end of the day, I feel thankful for the bounty before me. I can deeply enjoy a calm meal with my wife Aimee, who typically prepares our fine food. In comparison, others around the city seem to be frantically feeding & continuously chomping!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day 15: Sobriety

One of my experiences this month has been clearheadedness: during the day without food or drink, my body is not as usual processing assorted intake. No morning coffee, no tea, no lunch, etc. This kind of sobriety is very positive. Surprisingly, it includes calmness.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 14: Commitment

Peace Month is about half finished - today was the full moon. I'll certainly continue fasting & achieve the Peace Month Challenge, and will redouble my efforts in working for peace.

Sometimes during the day I feel tired and listless, but those are exactly the times to dig deeply, draw forth metabolic power & kindle extra energies. I'll communicate better with others in my community and Fight for Peace!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 13: Smell

Appetizing smells have been remarkable, not because they seem stronger during Peace Month fasting, but because I appreciate them more. They're all I'll get as food-based nourishment, an experience to appreciate, not simply a quick prelude to eating.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 12: Corporeality

Fancy ideas are fine, but after 16+ hours without food or drink, walking around a city filled with delicious diversions, it's clear being unable to eat or drink is a heavy burden. Life needs physical sustenance, and a great many hours each day are spent dealing with such needs. Now I'm redirecting those energies, and fighting for peace.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 11: Antagonism

Some people are positively intrigued by Peace Month until they consider the parallels with Ramadan; then they become antagonistic. But these people often know little of Islam and other faiths. I support secularism and choice of faith, and dislike religious-led efforts to ensnare entire populations (for example, the Corpus Christianum before the Reformation forced all in a region to profess faith and serve Church-led authority). Let's allow for some measure of individual interpretation in religious effort. Don't condemn in ignorance!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 10: Cameraderie

Peace Month is an excellent challenge. It is also a great way to focus attention on problems in our world and the gaps between people that remain unbridged. Thus far, daytime fasting is not a major problem or a huge difficulty in itself, but it is tricky to handle in social relationships. Food & drink are a key part of so many social activities. People living in communities where many or most fast for Ramadan have differing challenges than people living in places where those fasting are a small minority.

Further, the goal of Peace Month is peace. - building links between people, between faiths, between nations. But Peace Month fasting might misfocus attention on the fasting individual. Simply instilling a 'holier than thou' image is unhelpful. How can we effectively highlight peace?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 9: Change

Peace Month has launched me on an unfamiliar & challenging path. I'm OK with major changes in routine; perhaps most people wouldn't be (that's why challenging Peace Month is not for everybody).

Being knocked from accustomed patterns provides opportunity to see & feel new perspectives, and to sense the previously overlooked. I feel new sensitivities: in coarser terms to light and smells, but also with people. By eliminating grazing for food and digestion from daytime activities, I'm more aware of assorted things happening around me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 8: Community

Who lives & works in my community? Who travels through? I live in the center of Stockholm city, and when going out of my house there are many people about, of all ages & types. Typically I don't look around much at unknown people, but during Peace Month my gaze is lingering longer. This seems natural, perhaps because my system is a bit addled, unaccustomed to its new nutritional regimen; or maybe I hold my nose a bit higher in consequence of dehydration. Anyhow I've noticed some people walking alone who look happy. I want to be such a person. I certainly can try to smile more... seems trite, but it's better than grim.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 7: Commiseration

Suffering is easy to find. Many people suffer now. History reports all kinds of suffering; more occurred unreported. But speak of suffering with other people... Many people have a particular outrage or theme which fires passion. Other violations merely trigger a pre-existing wrath. The point is made: "we have suffered" - and the topic shifts... most sufferers now subordinated.

If our world were examined by outsiders, surely our tribal allegiances would give cause for wonder. We carry in our heads perennial themes, arguments & visions. Though led to war, our allegiances are seldom questioned or doubted. Indeed, we're deceived by narrow alternatives: if not "a" then "b" or "c" or "d"... when our true choices are far wider: if not "a" then meadow, or laughter, or puppy, or patience...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 6: Respect

Assorted business this morning brought up some websites highlighting rigidity in my thinking. I found sites describing North American Indian cultural activities taking place in Europe:

I was surprised. Why?
Seeing those cultures being valued and honored in a distant land was unexpected & unfamiliar. In the USA where I was brought-up, we were poorly taught about the history & cultures of native Americans. Their tragedy is ours, and it continues: vilification and theft of their homelands. Certainly in North America active indigenous communities still exist, and groups of people studying Indian lore. But I was surprised to see this in Poland & Denmark... I shouldn't have been... I'm glad to see some of the riches and insights of indigenous people being studied & celebrated. Our human heritage is much more than modern industrial consumerism and urban-focused administration. Let a thousand flowers bloom... especially in Peace Month.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 5: Sneezing

Sneezing with a cold today. Ugh.
My main observation today is surprise: at the end of daytime & fasting, though it's been about 18 hours without food or drink, I'm not highly hungry or thirsty. I expected more angst and emotion. Yes I've an appetite, but feel basically balanced. But if I were being forced into fasting my feelings might be very different...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 4 of Peace Month: Snacks?

Today I must do something more active for Peace. What will it be?

For the moment, my observation is about snacking & eating. After working awhile, I need a break (in part because my computer is setup at chest level & I mostly work in a standing position). At break time I'd normally wander for a hot drink or some food. ...yet now I'm fasting... But clearly the driver isn't hunger or thirst, but rather wanting a change of scene, to have a break, to do something else for awhile. This understanding offers possibilities: setup a meditative corner, and an exercise station, and deliberately bypass mere habitual munching.

Eating & drinking are also of course often very social activities. Lunch meetings and coffee time, as well as breakfast with my pretty wife, are quite different when one party is not eating at all... Having someone just hanging about, even if not hungry, dampens the gusto of friends & other diners...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 3 of Peace Month: DPRK

I had a sore throat today; gargled with gin (seeking the curative powers of the juniper berry) and uncharacteristically spit it out. These three days I've not felt deeply hungry - rather, I've wanted to snack, more as a habit, marking time.

Today I setup a place to buy Peace Month goods.   Shop now!

I didn't do much directly for the cause of peace today. Did layout of a recent visit to the DPRK on my blog:

Since North Korea is a primary flash point for sudden hostilities, perhaps my simple observations could help peace... I hope so.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 2 of Peace Month: Dry

Today my body was still slightly sore & dehydrated from competing in the Swedish Veteran's Athletic Championships on Friday. (Plus I drank schnapps and we slept away from home last night). It was a hot sunny day, and we drove around the countryside in our rented car. Perhaps I moved around somewhat slowly? I saw people eating at some roadside kiosk and had mixed feelings - such food & drink are not very nutritious, but certainly convenient. I saw a few older men who looked perhaps of Middle East origin talking together outside a department store; are they perhaps fasting? Are they speaking together about Ramadan?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

First Day of Peace Month: Tough!

The first day of Peace Month was Saturday, 22 August. Through most of the day I took part in a scholarly workshop on Japan / Korean relations at the Utrikespolitiska Institutet (Swedish Institute of International Affairs). Chairing a panel on Economics & Society kept my mind off food & drink very effectively. But the lunch break was a challenge: a huge elegant top-quality sushi buffet which I couldn't sample thanks to Peace Month... I didn't look too closely, but my colleagues sure seemed happy chowing down those tasty treats. Things got really tough in early evening, as my wife Aimee & I were among friends in a lovely garden for a crayfish party, held once a year. Sadly, the party started at 5:30 and sundown in Stockholm was 8:27... I could serve people snacks and take photos, and participate in the singing, but as people got progressively merrier and smacked their lips over beer, schnapps, crayfish and other delights, I began to feel increasingly thirsty, and started to pay more attention to time in the last 30 minutes. But I knew that good food & drink awaited. Future days surely won't be as tough as this one...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peace Month (& Ramadan) start 22nd August

Well, the Islamic Association in Stockholm has determined that Ramadan starts here on 22nd August. So tomorrow (21st) is a day of preparation... I'm rather happy, because I've the Swedish Veteran Athletics Championships tomorrow, competing in two events (shotput and discus); it will be nice to drink water - I'll cherish every drop!

I found an online timetable of Stockholm times for Fajr & Maghrib (dawn & dusk) at:

Another website is at:

Once the format for Peace Month is clear, there perhaps may be little need to consider Islam & Ramadan... but for every day I fast, one billion others also are fasting. I reckon I'll feel some solidarity, especially as the rest of the world will be largely oblivious to our efforts at sacrifice, self-learning, and peace.

When Does Fasting Start?

It's easy to say "Peace Month overlaps with Ramadan" - but when does Ramadan start? If you are Muslim, it's easy to know from your mosque and community when Ramadan begins locally. Even then, there is variation between parts of the world. But for non-Muslims, it is tricky to know. Ramadan officially begins the evening of the first day of the lunar month. So publicity that "Ramadan begins on the 21st" may mean that the first day of fasting is the 22nd. Tonight I will go to sleep expecting to start the Peace Month fast tomorrow. Here in Stockholm, going without food & drink the first day runs from 1:30AM to 8:30PM; it promises to be a long day...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Get Ready for Peace Month

I'm looking forward to this year's Peace Month challenge. Here in Stockholm it begins on the 22nd August 2009. For Peace Month details look on the website: