Letters to the Editor

A vital workshop on nonviolence

I want everyone to know about a vitally important community-building event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 and 10, in the Rogue River Room in Stevenson Student Union at SOU: "A Lived Practice of Nonviolence", a two-day workshop offered by Dominic Barter and Kit Miller, both renowned international teachers and trainers.

Barter lives in Rio de Janeiro, where he developed a process of Restorative Circles working with youths in the favelas there. Miller is director of the Gandhi Institute in Rochester, New York. They have taught world-wide, but have never offered this particular workshop in the United States, so we are honored and excited to welcome them to Ashland.

As for myself, I'm excited about this workshop because Barter and Miller will be teaching what I have been attempting to live since I first studied Gandhi in 1967 and trained in nonviolent direct action to resist and protest the American war in Vietnam.

In the early 1980s, when we first moved to Ashland, maybe even before the founding of Peace House, I led workshops on nonviolence as a way of life. I have continued to follow Gandhi's way of ahimsa in both my personal and public life, acting on the truth of my conscience with authenticity and awareness of the interdependence of all life. Naturally, I look forward to being with these teachers who have embraced and embodied Gandhi's teachings and will be sharing their perspective and experiential exercises for us to practice.

For more information about Dominic Barter, see www.restorativecircles.org. For more on Miller, see www.gandhiinstitute.org.

To register see www.bookwhen.com/nonviolence.

The more of us who show up, the more our whole community will benefit.

Dot Fisher-Smith


City, neighbors took my trees

For eight years, I watched the beautiful conifers behind my fence grow. They provided shade, privacy from the junk-scattered parking lot behind my home and abodes for numerous birds.

New neighbors arrived next door. Expensive changes were made in their backyard. The trees were deemed, suddenly, to be "fire hazards" by the town. They were all chopped down despite my objections. I came home one day... gone.

All my neighbors agreed with this. Sure. None of those trees bordered their property. The ones behind their houses are on private land; fire is discriminatory?

Now my home swelters in the hot sun. The birds are gone. The dead mattress and furniture that were dumped in the parking lot are in full view.

The miracle is that since these trees are deemed to be so flammable, I expected to see them come down all over town. How amazing that not a single one has been touched — except for those behind my house, interfering with my new neighbor's fine re-landscaping job. Letters to the editor are written by fools like me, but only God can make a tree (a variation of Joyce Kilmer's famous poem).

Kathleen Hildreth


Feel angry? Look at your thoughts

Guru Marshall Rosenberg, author of "Nonviolent Communication," addresses anger in "The Surprising Purpose of Anger," subtitled, "Beyond Anger Management: Finding the Gift."

Here it is, in a nutshell:

1. No one causes another to be angry.

2. It is our thoughts regarding the other person's words/actions that trigger our emotions.

3. Example: If I judge or blame your words or actions, then I get into my defensive emotions; anger may result.

4. Behind our anger are our unmet needs.

5. If I can just shut up and try to really listen to what you are saying, even for 5-10 minutes, you may be willing to also give me some uninterrupted air time to tell my side.

6. If both of us are willing to slow down and really hear each other, we may eventually find harmony, even compassion for each other.

7. As human beings we all share the need for autonomy, physical nurture, celebration, integrity, interdependence, play, and spiritual communion.

The next time you feel angry, look at your thoughts.

Carola Lacy


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