Dance Speaks Directly to the Heart

Editor's Note:

This Week in Peace chronicles the exciting adventures of San Jose’s own Dancer of Peace, Khalilah Ramirez. Written under divine inspiration, the column contains true stories of peace encounters in your neighborhood. In this edition, we are reminded that there are still reasons to rejoice, celebrate and unite each day in the spirit of peace. It also highlights Dr. King's, "Beyond Vietnam" speech hauntingly relevant 50 years later.

Greetings to all who are reading! Welcome to This Week In Peace, an uplifting addition to the news. Despite all the negative things we see and read in our media, there are still reasons to rejoice, celebrate and unite each day in the spirit of peace. There is great joy to be had when we work together in this way!

The Dance of Peace actively seeks opportunities to encourage all people. The activities began this week on Sunday at the Campbell Farmer's Market. This is a hub for families. This week was special due to the mild spring weather drawing folks from their homes. Children are especially interested in the Dance of Peace. Two little girls watched from their stroller, the eldest asking multiple questions:

"Mom, what is that lady doing?"

Mom: She's dancing.

"Why is she dancing, Mom?"

Mom: She's dancing so other people will dance.

"Me, Mom? Me, dance?"

Mom: Ok, watch your sister.

Dressed in pink, they emerged from the safety of their confines to join the Dance of Peace. The Dance of Peace has a special playlist designed to engage young children. As soon as they hear the drums and voices of their favorite Disney characters, their passion for dancing soars! How does this contribute to peace? Two girls dancing became four, then mom joins in. Family friends witnessing this are amused and delighted, recording the fun for posterity's sake. A crowd began to form. Magic took place when folks took it upon themselves to unite in clapping, laughing and foot tapping.

We floated along in this beautiful unity. This lasted the full length of song and beyond into the unseen realm of the heart.

Two days later, we reconvene at St. Paul's church in Downtown San Jose. "We" in this instance being the community, the hope that we hold for a better world, and the willing spirit of peace residing within. The Dance of Peace was held in the sanctuary, a perfect place to exude light, love and goodwill. These concepts are not intangible, noble ideas or a metaphor. They are powerful tools which take root in our consciousness when we ponder them. When we contemplate ways in which these values can become a part of our lives, we open to the energy of opportunity. The opportunity to expand our existence by being of service is a worthy calling. It was a joy to bring the Dance of Peace to such an occasion!

That night was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech. The Vietnam Era was a perilous time, similar to the ongoing conflict we experience today. There were 11 people reading excerpts from the speech, myself being one of them. At that time in history, Dr. King was chastised by 161 newspapers across the country for speaking out against the folly of war. Now, the words of his speech feel hauntingly prophetic:

"This call for world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. It has become an absolute necessity for the survival of man.

Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door to ultimate reality… We are now forced to face the fact that tomorrow is today."

Dr. King spoke of the "fierce urgency of now." Indeed this is the sole moment of power. We may choose to act, speak and to be in ways that encourage peace. We can remain vigilant in watching over our fundamental rights and those of our neighbors. We can never be powerless if we are willing to live and take action in the eternal moment of now.

Lastly, the Dance of Peace takes place on Tuesdays at Midtown in San Jose. Working with a vast number of young people is a part of the privilege of the Dance of Peace. It's exciting to see them outside the classroom as they observe the dance in wondrous awe. Midtown is a highly visible location that is included in their school commutes & we enjoy seeing each other there. Dance is its own language that speaks directly to the heart. Human beings hold a fundamental understanding of this. Yet, when we do speak, we can frequently express our hopes and ideals. This sets a good example for youth. Our words have power. We can use them to build constructive ideas. The following is a whimsical rhyme I wrote after talking with a class of 6-9 year olds about their beliefs:

Why do you think that learning to fly
Is passing human beings by?
It's due to fear, one little girl said
If we are different, we will turn heads
And no one likes or loves someone
who does things differently just for fun
It's because of greed, a boy replies
Without profits our nation swiftly dies
Moving with gas and oil makes money
Losing profits is NOT funny!
That's right, I said, Correct, says me
Fear rules our society
It's in the news and all we do
Daily it tries to bombard you
Learn to live your own little truth
Learn in old age and in youth
Live in love, live in light
You know within you what is right

This small work of silliness can inspire us. Write your own silliness! Show everyone or no one. Be playful about serious things. This is one of a million small ways to foster peace within. Thanks and see you out there!

Check Out More of This Week in Peace Column:
High Vibin' With the Dance of Peace
Dancing in the Realm of Appreciation
Intuition is a Tool for Peace


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