This Valentine's Day as we spend focused time reflecting on the quality of love in our lives, consider that peace lives in the same realm, and can be accessed from the same source in which we access the true essence of love. With this idea in mind I felt it was a perfect opportunity to introduce a friend and colleague, David Brown (www.davidmatthewbrown.com) who has recently chosen to run the LA Marathon representing The Department of Peace. Enjoy the interview, and know that peace and love start with you!
"Running for peace." What does that mean?
It means a lot... because I realize first, that peace starts with me; running for peace (particularly the Peace Alliance) and campaigning for the Department of Peace opens the door for a new paradigm in this country. Being a part of the tons of people active in creating a Department of Peace... means we can take our tax dollars and put them into something that will benefit everybody in a peaceful, kinder way. Take, for example, implementing peaceful resolutions for kids in schools. I have a two-year-old daughter. What matters to me is that she is able to understand, clearly, who she is through peaceful, more loving, kinder ways towards herself.
Doing this run is like running for everybody. But if I put it in that regard, it becomes overwhelming. So what matters is that it starts with me. If I can keep implementing peaceful ways of being within myself, that matters... and makes a difference.
What inspired you to run the L.A. Marathon?
When I was in high school, I ran cross country (long distance) and track. If you waited around long enough, you'd probably see me come in 124th out of 125 runners. I hadn't run for nine years when this past summer I was hiking through Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles; I got to the top of the hill, and I got a message that said "Start running again." I was, like, "You've got to be kidding me! Run again?!" But I started... and at end of September, the same feeling ran through me. "You're going to run the L.A. Marathon for the Department of What?!" From a Biblical sense, I kind of felt like what Noah must have felt like. But when I approached the Peace Alliance and Department of Peace with the idea, it was great timing. They needed something ... a human face. That's where the inspiration came from.
Why the Department of Peace?
When the idea to run the marathon... to run for peace... came to me, it was so strong. I remember seeing the Department of Peace at a couple of functions. When it comes to peace and unity from the inside out, there seemed to be a strong calling to the Department of Peace. I didn't know anything about them, when I approached them. I just knew they had a campaign going; a campaign very much in line with all of the things that I talk about. We live in a space where it's a lot easier to complain, blame, and talk about all the things we want to fight. I'm not saying that I am against war, per se- what I am saying is that I am FOR peace. It's time for us to evolve, to go to a different place, and get out of ridiculous old constructs that give the same results that don't work. To me, peace is proactive, not passive. It benefits everybody.
Plus, the Peace Alliance is an organization that really brings people onboard. It's about unity. I don't work for them, nor am I a part of them, but I'm helping them by doing this run. I like what they stand for; the fact that people can give their tax dollars to the Department of Peace, energetically giving money to peace, rather than defense. Peace is proactive, violence is passive.
I have already received a couple of emails from people who don't want me to make this run. They believe that, by having a Department of Peace, we just roll over for countries like Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. But I believe we are evolving. I understand that change can be hard and difficult, but when you start saying "yes" to your life... imagine where that can take you, as opposed to where resistance takes you.
Where did the number "one million people" come from?
We have 18 million people, or so, in L.A. When I talked to the people in the Peace Alliance, it started out with the idea that if we could have one million people lining the L.A. Marathon, standing for peace, it could really send the message to our politicians and all Americans, "I have a voice, I matter, and this is what I want to stand for. I want to stand for peace. I want to stand for everybody."
What is peace? What do you hope to bring attention to with this run?
Imagine peace like a hurricane. You have the hurricane going around in circles and in the middle of that hurricane, you have the "eye of the storm"... the peace... where you hold all the stuff that comes up. We live in a society where people feel powerless, but peace is right at the heart of what you are going through. Even when things are completely chaotic in your life, if you can connect to it (through mediation, getting into nature, etc.), you can have glimpses and moments of real peace, and the more you practice, the more accessible it becomes.
Through running the LA Marathon I hope to bring attention to the idea that we are evolving at a quickening pace right now, and we are going to a new paradigm. Each and every one of us is a part of that and it starts at an individual level. I hope that people who show up or read this article begin to identify with the idea that when we start with ourselves by going inward to find the places where we allow anger and violence to run us, and choose to resolve it, that we can each play a part in spreading peace across the globe. We all have that capability, that potential, that possibility.
How can people learn more about what you are doing and this run for peace?
They can follow my blog at davidmatthewbrown.com, as of today they can also purchase I STAND FOR PEACE bracelets to wear at the marathon and throughout their day as a reminder of who they really are!
What is your vision?
As a country, we should go inward and take a look at ourselves... really take a look at who we are and how we are evolving. There are so many possibilities! We are the United States of America; we should be able to unite within ourselves. Get past the ridiculous notion that same sex couples can't get married, or that it's okay for kids to beat up other kids with red hair. We need to show people that there is a different way. It's not powerful to kill someone, but powerless.
Everybody has a right to choose, a right to be who we are. I hope that people can really look at themselves and ask, "Am I really grateful? Do I have appreciation? Do I have peace in my life?" If you don't, don't be so hard on yourself. Just consider how it starts with you... and the new choices you can make.
You have a voice. It's time for us to choose peace... and stand for something, not fight for it!
To learn more about The Department of Peace go to www.thepeacealliance.org