64-WAYS TO NONVIOLENCE
In 2003, many volunteers
contributed to the creation of the following audio files, one for each
of the 64 days in the Season for Nonviolence that are listed below, aimed
to assist you in approaching three main areas of life: Personal, Interpersonal,
and COmmunity. You are welcome to read the text of each day, listen to
the audio file of the text, and if you wish, download each of these MP3
files. We hope that they will inspire you to live in a nonviolent manner.
64 WAYS TO PRACTICE NONVIOLENCE
Used by the permission of A Season for Nonviolence-Los Angeles
We learn to practice nonviolence one step at a time, one
choice at a time, one day at a time. Through our daily nonviolent choices
and actions, the noble and courageous spirit within each of us expresses
itself as the skills, wisdom and character of a nonviolent human being.
This is how we each, in our own way, move the world in a direction of
Nonviolence begins by learning how to be less violent and more compassionate
with ourselves. We learn by building the courage to speak and act with
a respect, honor and reverence for our own being.
Eleanor Roosevelt urged, “You must do the things that you think
you cannot do.” Practicing these 64 Ways will challenge you to do
things that you think you cannot do. Today, light a candle and accept
the courage to practice 64 Ways of living nonviolently.
Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh said, “If in our daily life, we
can smile....not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the
most basic kind of peace work.” Today, share a smile with at least
three people, knowing that your smile contributes to peace.
Louise Hay says, “Praise yourself as much as you can....the love
in our lives begins with us....loving yourself will help heal this planet.”
Write down 10 things that you appreciate about yourself. Read aloud what
you have written.
According to Peter McWilliams, “Nonviolence toward the self is caring
for oneself. Self-love a crowning sense of self-worth ... it is what the
Greeks call reverence for the self.” Real caring is not just what
we say, but what we do. Make a list of at least five ways that you can
take better care of yourself. Practice at least one today.
Author Wayne Dyer writes about the impact that our beliefs have on our
daily lives. Today believe that you have all the resources to move your
life in the direction of peace. Be aware of simple, peaceful responses
To simplify is to invite peacefulness. Think of three ways you can simplify
your life and put at least one of them into practice today.
Knowledge strengthens your conviction and deepens your wisdom and understanding.
Learn about the power of nonviolence by educating yourself. Read an article,
periodical or book; watch a video on a subject that relates to nonviolence.
Learn about human rights, diversity, ecology, history, politics, forgiveness,
spirituality, peace studies, biographies of heroes and more.
Writer, poet, activist, and professor Maya Angelou turned a traumatic
childhood experience into a catalyst for creativity and achievement. Today,
choose a painful incident in your life and find the “gift”
it has given you. Consciously share this gift with others.
Martin Luther King, Jr., had a great dream. What is your own dream for
peace? Write it down. What is one thing you can do to honor your dream?
Do it today.
When Caesar Chavez was organizing farm workers, he challenged them to
say, “Si, se puede” (yes, it is possible) when they didn’t
know how they would overcome obstacles. Today, say, “Yes, it is
possible,” even if you don’t know how your goal will be realized.
Have faith and say, “it is possible,” until you find a way.
For at least three minutes, relax, breathe, and let your mind be fed by
“whatsoever is good and beautiful.” Sacred scripture states,
“as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
Gandhi said, “To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is
to forget ourselves.” And Black Elk said, “Some little root
of the sacred tree still lives. Nourish it, that it may leaf and bloom
and fill with singing birds.” Today place a seed in the earth or
nurture a plant.
The worse thing you can do to a human soul is to suppress its natural
desire to create. Identify at least five ways in which you express your
creativity everyday. Today, allow something unpredictable and joyous to
express through you.
Making mistakes is a part of learning and growing, simply an “error
in approach.” Today, freely acknowledge at least one mistake you
make and reflect for a couple of minutes on what you have learned.
Environmentalist John Muir said, “Everybody needs beauty as well
as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer
and give strength to body and soul.” Today go for a walk and realize
the beauty around, above and below you.
On her show Oprah Winfrey frequently promotes the daily practice of gratitude.
Begin the day by listing five things for which you are grateful and end
it by sharing with one person all of the good things that happened to
Do the right thing. Spike Lee used these words as a title for one of his
movies. When faced with a choice today, listen to your conscience. You
know what’s right. Do it.
Civil rights activist Diane Nash said, “Freedom, by definition,
is people realizing that they are their own leaders.” Take a leadership
role today in your own life. Find one way you can be more expressive of
who you truly are.
“Resentment, fear, criticism, and guilt cause more problems than
anything else,” says Louise Hay. Today, choose not to judge yourself
(your looks, your capabilities, your expression). See yourself as unique,
loving, capable and bright!
When you judge yourself, you tend to believe that who you are is what
you have done or not done, what you have or don’t have. Knowing
that who you are is greater than all these things, today, forgive yourself
for forgetting the good that is in you.
Think of at least two people who exemplify the practice of nonviolence.
What is it you admire about them? Practice these behaviors today so that
other people may be inspired.
“My life is my message,” says Gandhi. Write down what you
want to stand for in your life. Note at least one way you can show, through
action, that you stand for your beliefs. Take this action today.
“Prayer from the heart can achieve what nothing else in the world
can,” said Gandhi. Begin and end the day with a prayer for peace.
Let peace begin with you.
In order to create a peaceful world, we must learn to practice nonviolence
with one another in our day-to-day interactions.
Choosing not to engage in any form of gossip today contributes to harmony.
Today, choose to see the good in others rather than finding fault.
To humorist Will Rogers, strangers were simply friends he hadn’t
met. View those you encounter today in that light. Make a new acquaintance.
Gandhi taught, “Language is an exact reflection of the character
and growth of its speakers.” Today, respect yourself and others
by choosing not to use any profanity or “put downs.”
Mother Teresa said, “There is a hidden poverty more pervasive than
lack of money. It is the poverty of the heart.” Find three ways
to generously give of your time, attention and resources to others.
Today, stop what you are doing and take five minutes to listen to the
feelings behind someone’s words to you. Be fully present for the
conversation and be interested in what the person is saying.
When we forgive, we do not condone hurtful behavior. When we realize that
there is something within us that is more important than this wounding
experience, we are free to let go of the past and move on with our lives.
Today, write a letter to forgive someone. You do not have to mail it.
Make amends today. Apologize to someone you may have hurt and mean your
Appreciation helps people to grow. Offer praise to at least three people
today for their personal qualities, achievements, or helpful service.
According to Caesar Chavez, “Nonviolence is not inaction ... It
is hard work ... It is the patience to win.” When your plans seemed
delayed, choose to be patient by identifying at least three ways that
you can constructively use this time to support your goal.
Tell someone today what a difference he or she has made in your life.
Acknowledge that person for being there for you. Make this a day when
you don’t take people for granted.
Gandhi wrote, “Nonviolence is based on the assumption that human
nature ... unfailingly responds to the advances of love.” Today,
focus on what you appreciate most about the person you like the least.
Thich Nhat Hanh says, “When you understand, you cannot help but
love...practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion.”
Send a silent thought of love to ten people today. Share your experience
If we just act in each moment, with composure and mindfulness, each minute
of our life is a work of art. Be aware of the motivation behind your action,
the intention behind your words, and the needs and experiences of other
people. By doing so, you are making life more beautiful for others.
When you are out driving today, be more courteous. Give others the right
of way and stop and let pedestrians cross the street.
Every day we hear of random and senseless acts of violence. Participate
in the counter-revolution of kindness started by Anne Herbert. Perform
three acts of kindness today.
Marianne Williamson describes a healthy society as one in which “those
who disagree can do so with honor and respect for other people’s
opinions, and an appreciation for our shared humanity.” In the Desiderata
by Max Ehrmann, he says, “Speak your truth quietly and clearly and
listen to others.” Today, speak up but do not enter into the spirit
Differences give variety to life and are often only on the surface anyway.
Today look for three ways to see beyond outer differences in opinions,
appearances, or goals. Find the meeting point of underlying unity that
exists in diversity.
A Turkish proverb says, “He who builds himself a fence, fences out
more than he fences in.” Today be open to understanding ideas and
people that you have previously opposed.
In conflicting situations, personal accountability allows us to take responsibility
for how I contribute to the conflict. Today, take responsibility for how
you contribute to a conflict and make a different choice that can lead
to a peaceful resolution.
Dale Carnegie says that the greatest need people have is for love and
approval. Praise, compliment and honor the uniqueness of at least five
people today. Notice the positive impact you make by valuing the individuality
of each one.
When we work together, we are stronger than when we work alone. Today,
find one significant way that you can cooperate more effectively with
the people in your family or workplace, school or community. Do it.
Labor organizer Caesar Chavez teaches, “If you use violence, you
have to sell part of yourself for that violence. Then you are no longer
a master of your own struggle.” Breathe deeply, silently counting
backwards from ten to calm yourself and cool off before you speak or act
with impatience or anger. Do this as least once today.
Mother Teresa implored us to “find someone who thinks he is alone
and let him know that he is not.” Today, do as Mother Teresa suggests.
Nonviolence challenges us to stand for truth by taking action that honors
the dignity and worth of every human being.
Have a conversation with someone today about what the world would be like
if there were no weapons nor any need for them. Imagine such a world.
Value the earth by conserving natural resources and avoiding the purchase
of products that deplete rain forests or exploit labor forces. Practice
recycling today by using at least one recycled product or by recycling
Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.”
Before each meal today, stop to honor all the hands that brought it to
you and to bless the earth for its bounty.
Be aware today of any jokes or remarks that show disrespect toward ethnic
groups, women or men, classes of people, religious groups, gays or lesbians.
Be considerate of every person’s dignity, and choose not to participate
in disrespectful conversation.
“When someone stands up to violence,” says Thich Nhat Hanh,
“a force for change is released. Every action for peace requires
someone to exhibit the courage to challenge violence and inspire love.”
Today be an ally. Without blaming or judging others, speak out for those
who are disrespected.
Have you ever noticed the groups of people who are under-represented in
your activities and lifestyle? Find one way to connect with a person from
these groups today.
“Each of us can work to change a small portion of events and in
the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation,”
said Robert Kennedy. Today, find a way to make one, small change that
will contribute to the well-being of your home, school, workplace or community.
Practice generosity by sharing time, energy and material resources with
those in need. Clean out your closet, bureau drawers, or garage. Are there
things you aren’t using that might be of value to someone else?
Today give away what you are no longer using.
The quality of your community starts with you. Take responsibility for
the quality of your community wherever you are. Today, pick up trash that
is not your own, whether at home, at the office, or on the street. Every
little bit helps.
People need the dignity of work and the opportunity to provide for themselves
and their families. Economic self-sufficiency is a requirement for a nonviolent
world. Today, create a job for someone or help someone to find employment
(examples: help them with a resume or application. Help them make phone
calls, dress appropriately, practice interviewing.)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Everybody can be great ... because
anybody can serve ... You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated
by love.” Sign up to volunteer a minimum of two hours this month
with an organization of your choice. Share your commitment with at least
Robert Muller, former assistant secretary general to the UN, urges, “Use
every letter you write, every conversation you have, every meeting you
attend, to express your fundamental beliefs and dreams.” Today call
or write one of your legislators and register your views.
Alcohol and drug abuse is both a consequence and a cause of violence.
Today have the courage to intervene in a caring way with someone who is
using alcohol or drugs. Through your honest and straightforward communication,
encourage them to get educated, get help, get sober and free from drugs.
“We are each other’s bond,” writes poet Gwendolyn Brooks.
Those who practice nonviolence cannot close their eyes to injustice or
cruelty. We are here to be a witness for justice and compassion. Today
be willing to stand up for Truth by your presence, your words and actions.
An 11 year old writes, “Peace is a special thought or a special
love or light or spark that we all share within ourselves.” Thich
Nhat Hanh wrote, “Practice watering seeds of joy and peace and not
just seeds of anger and violence, and the elements of war in all of us
will be transformed.” Today, make a choice to meet each experience
with an intention for peace.
Spend five minutes reflecting on your commitment to nonviolence. Write
down what it means to you and what you are willing to do as a consequence
of your commitment to it. Make your commitment public by sharing it with
at least 2 people.
A Sufi proverb says, “When the heart weeps for what it has lost,
the spirit laughs for what it has found.” Today look back on how
far you have come during this 64 day journey. Release the weight of your
past, judgments of yourself and others, and the idea that world peace
is not possible by acknowledging that you do make a difference.
Rejoice in the work that you have done. Celebrate the journey that you
have made with countless others who believe that every individual can
move the world in the direction of peace with their nonviolent choice
and action. Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of
thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only
thing that ever has.”
Used with permission of :
A Season for Nonviolence-Los Angeles
1223 Wilshire Blvd., Suite #472
Santa Monica, CA 90403