HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

“For me love is opening our heart just as we are, it is deeper honesty and total acceptance. It is complete understanding and connection. It is a heart of peace; it is honest communication that strengthens and nourishes affection.” Ayo Ayoola-Amale

“Peace, love, justice and respect are four words able to make a difference to our life and change the world!  We are called to Love; we are called to what is truly real in this world. We are called home to the beautiful truth of who we really are.”  – Ayo Ayoola-Amale

“Genuine love is the deep gentleness and kindness in our heart.” –Ayo Ayoola-Amale

 

“Love is the highest truth of life –so beautiful and radiant that it is beyond words.” – Ayo Ayoola-Amale

Communicate Love, Practice It. Live It!

Opening our soul to each other is vital to communicating to create connection, to cut through anger, resentment and misunderstanding and to avoid turning a conversation into a full-on battlefield.  Going for peace is going for non-violent communication. Going for peace  is knowing how to express our feelings with words and setting the grounds for inner peace and peace in our relationships. As we all know, our relationships with others form the foundation of our reality. I often say, life is lived with people because Life is a shared experience and as social creatures we need human warmth and positive interaction with others. We need to share our lives; we need to share the goodness of life together.  Human beings have a strong, innate desire for happiness, self-determination and fulfillment. When we separate ourselves from others, we are effectively guaranteeing unhappiness for ourselves. Because it is in relating to others, making friends, sustaining friendships and deepening them that we appreciate what nourishes our heart and what makes us happy.                                                                                                 Communication is one of the key tools that help us to reach out to people, interact with them, connect and share our thoughts. Communication is a peace-building tool that we use to find solutions to many problems. For communication to be real, it needs to take place in an environment where both parties are open to dialogue without fear of being criticized or judged. Where the parties can feel safe with each other and be sincere and unassuming. Most times we listen only to defend our point of view, we listen to answer and defend our self, which causes problems. Sometimes, we listen in order to respond, which helps us reach agreements. It is very important that we listen in order to understand, and to reach reconciliation.

Basically, Communication is sharing ideas, thoughts, information and messages. This sharing is integral in our life and should always bring us together, because that is the very purpose. Unfortunately they always create conflict.  Conflict is a normal everyday thing that happens to all of us. Avoiding conflict at all costs is not a good thing to do because it means we are not telling the truth.  We should learn to tolerate conflict; the important thing is resolving conflict in a positive manner. Being always present with people no matter what they have to say, this can often lead to deeper honesty and connection- Knowing how to listen and being heard, verbal and non-verbal communication skills and appropriate communication tactics is likely to yield positive resolutions. Why is this so?  Conflicts are about our way of being with others.                 We should put out our thoughts in the right place when we tail and in a more refined and better manner. We need to be in a heart of peace, we need to express empathy, and compassion. We need to communicate with respect and sensitivity toward the persons we are communicating with and they must be treated with civility. We have to be highly conscious of how we want to connect with our fellow human beings. Being able to recognize the humanity of the other person, being able to see the other person as a unique and valuable human being in the way we talk, work and live, in our daily life, in our relationships, and in the world is being in a heart of peace.                                                  When we communicate from our heart, we communicate from a deeper level. A heartfelt communication is communicating peace. We communicate more than just our thoughts and emotions, we communicate to others from our heart. We must also realize the fact that opinions can sometimes bring disharmony and that when we share our thoughts with others we are oftentimes just expressing our opinion which can sometimes be insensitive, unkind and tough. Opinions can lead to disagreements, hostility, arguments and conflict.

And truth be told, it is difficult and unlikely to change our outer influences,    in the struggle and turmoil of life, our nerves are typically high strung, and it is easy to let go and vent our bottled feelings on an undeserving or innocent person. However, we can positively change our internal disposition and figure out how to stop allowing outside influences to impact our feelings and perspectives and thus avoid our daily communication pitfalls.                                                                                                                   Personally, i have chosen peace and I have a very deep passion in my heart for peace building.  Having developed the strength of my heart, I’ve ended conflicts and settled fights within myself.  I let my rational side take control; I let love take control and not my emotions or gut feelings. Because I am in touch with the deeper part of myself i am better able to take full responsibility for what i feel.  Having developed my inner strength i am able to  keep my attention in a peaceful place within me  and remain unaffected when people are being unpleasant, mean, judgmental etc. towards me.  This to me is the strength of my heart. The true strength you attain when you grow into peace. It is not easy to make this become habits; it is not easy at all to get to this point, especially for a personality like mine who does not suffer fools gladly. Of course it is very possible and achievable with open heart.   I know how essential it is to communicate with honesty, but I have realized that honest communication does not simply mean just telling people what i really think. It means communicating from my heart. It means communicating honestly, attentively, sensitively and compassionately. I mediate between different aspects of myself and conquer the demon of anger.  When am irritated, I  take deep breaths — inhale and exhale deeply to cool down before I speak, or  remain silent for that moment because I run the risk of unleashing verbal assault on the other person. This has helped me find peacefulness in my everyday life, which delivers satisfaction and I pretty much love myself more.
I constantly remind myself of the higher goals of bringing myself to wholeness, of being able to live my deepest values of being me, being peace, of telling the truth and living an authentic life.  This is only possible because i am able to put my thought in the right place. I am able to communication to my God, to my inner self, and to consistently be right on target to fulfill this purpose.  I feel the richness this has brought to my life because I see the goodness within me and it makes it easier for me to see the goodness in others too.  Yes, I am far from perfect. I do make mistakes because it is human nature.  I try to be patient with myself, and listen to my heart- my heart calls me to come back to the harmony that exists within me.                                                                                                     As a mediator and ombudsman i have helped many people find peace and resolution through effective communication.  Communication for peace reveals experiences and perspectives, listens to all sides, exposes hidden agendas and highlights peace initiatives, irrespective of religion, sex and gender. The equal value of all people is at the heart of the mediation culture. My calling as a Mediator and peace builder is to promote a healthy way to be in the world and to provide hope for a different world in which human dignity is strengthened. In the course of my work as a mediator and peace builder, I realize that there is wisdom in conflict, there is learning, there is opportunity for understanding and growth and we must harness the transformative power of choice that resides within every conflict. We move through the world with words, it is therefore very important that we reexamine the way we communicate .Going for Peace first in communication leads first to a heart connection. We need to ask ourselves where are we communicating from? We must bring in more consciousness when communicating. What are we choosing to communicate? Are we communicating peace or not?                      We must learn the art of communication, and have the heart of peace.                                    We need to bring peace, love and respect into our communications.

“Open your soul to peace and let words from your heart build bridges of love, respect and understanding.” – Ayo Ayoola-Amale
                                                                                                  Copyright © 2016 ayo ayoola-amale

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LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING IS THE KEY TO OUR SURVIVAL AS A HUMAN SPECIES

My trip to DRC was an emotional one. The picture of DRC is that of so much conflict, so much pain in the most humble village yet i found the people of DRC from the places I went to, to be truly friendly and social, we were made to feel welcome wherever we were, there is so much African hospitality, and music that you end up absorbing it. I have read a lot about DRC, I had read that Kinshasa is the third largest city in Africa after Lagos and Cairo, I had read about the conflicts, the huge natural resources, the exploitation, the rape, the poverty… it was not my first trip to DRC- I have been there several times as a voracious reader. Completely understanding something that i read, or heard makes traveling so worthwhile. Whenever i am in a new territory, i probe- new ideas, curiosities – what the native customs are, what is unique about the people, country, if any. When I travel what often strikes me is that I find out that we are all one people, Of all of the benefits of traveling, I think that this is the most far reaching and the most significant. I am always happy as a traveling peace maker because i know that people are our most treasured gifts on earth. Traveling and communication with other people can help us in actively promoting harmony and ending prejudice, only if we see each person for who they really are. We are often unseeing because of stereotype, prejudice, and prejudgment.  A visit to the Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary in DRC, got me thinking – is there anything we could learn from the peaceful apes? Bonobos are found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between the Congo River, and the Lomami River in Lac Ndombe region. The bonobo often called man’s cousin is one of the closest relatives of humans with 98% of similarity in its genetic material.  The bonobos are called the “make love, not war” apes since they seem to resolve the majority of conflicts through sexual activity.  Can we actually learn a thing or two from them? These apes we are told don’t victimize each other in many ways— no rape, murder, infanticide, warfare between groups—No aggression among bonobos, known to use sex to avoid violence- more sex equals less conflict.  Hmmm.                                                                                    What are our close primate cousins teaching us?  I’ve learned lessons i don’t think would have taken hold in me if I hadn’t experienced them  by diving out of my comfort zone and traveling and interacting with  new people, in a  new environment .    It gave me a better understanding and turned my curiosities into discoveries. What I think we could learn from the bonobos is that the female bonobos have a very strong bond, their sense of solidarity and sisterhood is powerful, it explains why they dominate their males by sticking together. If a male gets out of line or get in the way of a female; all the other females will team up against him. This sisterly solidarity tends to keep the males in good conduct. Within the bonobo paradise, it’s the females who are in charge and this ensures better quality of life for the group. When females are in charge, all bonobos live better. Feminism can be really  powerful!   I watched the bonobo apes on the top of a hill in Congo living like a family. I could see that every baby bonobo demands love and was loved and admired. I realized more than ever before the need to love, the need to overlook faults so that everyone can pull together.  Again, i learnt that love and understanding is the key to our survival as a human species.

A lot of people live their lives by keeping their heads down, any conflict they have, they are soaked in it, and some seem to do everything they can to avoid the person they are conflicted with. They are afraid to talk. They are afraid to ‘offend’ etc.  The results are often unresolved issues, unconstructiveness, misperceptions about another person’s intentions, escalated negativity, and internal stress etc. Personally, I am not afraid to talk when I am engaged in a conflict because I know that real communication is the key to conflict resolution. Not talking holds us back. I believe in –person conversations  based of course on good intentions because the only way to resolve an issue permanently is through a real, open conversation, a face to face conversation  in which you can listen not only for voice tone, you listen to the heart and  watch for body language.  Negotiation and Mediation is certainly the key and the most peaceable means of settling differences. So please Think, Talk, and Mediate!

– Ayo Ayoola-Amale20171129_180119.jpg

 

NIGERIA- ON A RECKLESS PATH TO HELL

This is all about Freedom. It is about independence. Are we truly free? A nation held captive since independence by heartless leaders, wild   plunderers, election riggers, war offenders, unpatriotic fortune hunters, self-serving rulers who have run the nation through an excessive corruption  and  total damage.  A nation held captive by an unproductive unitary system, full of injustices, parasitic states, a parasitic ruling ethnic group and the encouragement of the ‘almajiri’ system reliant on only crude oil at the expense of other wealth creating initiatives.  The truth is, Nigeria is consequently a failed state, plagued by social injustice, devastating poverty, inequities, disharmony and terrorism.                                                                                                                     The problem with Nigeria is not just a failure of leadership. It’s not only about rigged elections; it’s about the lack of care for the truth, conscience, the values of liberty, equal dignity, it’s about not building a society where people from different ethnic groups, different religions can live in equal dignity.

Clearly, the basic question is whether we are ready to build a united Nigeria, a one Nigeria , a Nation that we all believe in and truly love, a Nigeria that will provide every Nigerian with meaning and belonging, equal dignity, social justice or we should forget about  a country called Nigeria and  see a Nigeria plunged into war as it pulls away – clearly, these are the two choices we have.

Are we ready to confront the preying pilfers, and few powerful groups who obviously advanced only their narrow regional and ethic interests at the expense of democracy, the rule of law,  good governance,  patriotism, and.nation building.

I insist we make these national tragedies personal, I insist we make Nigeria a meaningful place for all Nigerians and understand that all of our differences bring forth a unique combination that gives unity if we respect ourselves as well as each other.                                                                                                                                                                     As a Nigerian you must ask yourself this very important question, ‘In every aspect of my life, how am I of value to Nigeria? We must always ask ourselves this question.

Let’s repair our future. Our future is broken! Our flight is off its flight path, we will never get to our destination.  Happy Independence Day!   – Ayo Ayoola-Amale                                   Sweetheart 20170930_212637

                          © ayo ayoola-amale2017

 

2017 PEACE DAY THEME: TOGETHER FOR PEACE: RESPECT, SAFETY AND DIGNITY FOR ALL.

“Human beings are found from different stations in life, race, gender, religion and religious orientation, socioeconomic class, nationality, sexual preference and sexual identity, ethnic and educational background, physical, social and intellectual ability, age,  and political standpoint. Discriminating against people base on any of these factors creates oppression and is not unlikely to lead to acts of injustice, intolerance, abuse, and eventually to violence.  If our lives, societies, countries and our world are to be peaceful, just and safe it must be nonviolent, transparent, inclusive, unbiased and participatory. It is of great necessity that we all build peace not just because it is the correct thing to do but because it is the concrete thing to do. We must all work to build social cohesion, sense of belonging, and establish diverse, multicultural and tolerant societies.”   – Ayo Ayoola-Amale

 

BRING LOVE AND PEACE TO THE WORLD

What is our attitude to peace?  What is our attitude to the possibilities of peace?              I like to believe that peace is possible for the simple reason that our problems are largely man-made. For that reason, they can be resolved by man. Clearly there is a global hunger for peace and love. One of the greatest challenges of humanity in this century is peace among peoples. The root of the global crisis we all face is mainly the injury that we inflict on one another and on nature.We are all witnesses to the agony, misery and suffering endured by billions of people in the world.

We must free ourselves from our prison. We must free ourselves from our prison of hate, ignorance, selfishness, and greed. We can contribute to change through our very being; by being aware of our power within our community and the world. We must believe in our own power. The way we relate with the people in our life, the people we meet in life, the way we talk and behave, what we stand for, the compassion we show a stranger can be a part of bringing love and peace to the world by being love and peace ourselves.                                                                                                                                 Building peace is everyone’s work.  Peace building is not only the work of peace activists and peace building community.

Are we not all affected?  Are we not very concerned for all we are living in?                      We live in a world devoid of human rights, gender and racial equality. A world that lacks respect for the sanctity of human life and dignity, a world without appreciation for cultural diversity, the interdependence of human needs and the integrity of the earth, a world full of war, terrorism, hatred, injustice, oppression and evil.                        We cannot afford to remain unconcerned. In the world today many voices can be heard and many inspiring actions seen that together reflect a universal hunger for peace, we all need to play our part. We need to feel alive. We need to be real. We need to have empathy and concern for others.                                                                                           Peace is a matter of daily life for a lot of people around the world; everyone needs to work for peace. We all need to help make a difference by working on peace in our own unique ways.                                                                                                                                            Everyone can work for peace. Everyone needs to work for peace – we all have responsibility! All of us are human beings. All of us make the world beautiful because of our diversity; we must respect this fact by valuing the dignity of every human being. Our world becomes paradise when we open our souls and hearts to peace, love, compassion and justice.                                                                                                                            The future of peace building belongs to all of us especially the youths.  The latter has a critical role to play in their societies as agents of positive social change. These young peace builders must be adequately prepared to lead the future. The landmark UN Resolution is a significant recognition given to young peace builders. This resolution, UN Security Council Resolution 2250 empowers youth to promote peace.                             Important also is the fact that the political economy of peace and not the political economy of war is what can bring about the much needed change. The world needs to invest in peace and non-violence.  The extreme disparity between global budgets for war and budgets for peace is glaring- Notwithstanding the enormous costs of war to societies, humanity and the environment and the fact that investing in peace is lucrative, and worthwhile.  Surely change is needed urgently!                                                We must think of peace. We must work for peace. We must act for peace.  We must speak for peace. We must live the way of peace. We must be peace. We must know that peace is possible.

We must find out what part we can play to improve the world. Take on the big inequities. Speak the truth and search for the truth. The world needs our voice.  Together we will create a better world. The time is now!

-Ayo Ayoola-Amale