Peace Building in District 5495

Submitted by Robert Wertz
District 5495 Peacebuilder Chair 2023-24

Dear Friends of Peace,

If meditation is a new practice, I recommend patience. Practicing patience will enable you to not be distracted by the chatter of the "monkey mind". Therin lies the key, stop trying to meditate and be the meditation through the practice of patience.

A way to practice patience is found in the:

"21st Ripple of Peace: Lighten up.

When we are intensely serious about ourselves and everything we do, it is possible to overreact to situations and override our inner Peace. The process of loosening and lightening up often gives us new insights on how to solve problems, move forward with an important project and reconnect with what is meaningful in our lives.

If your life feels like a burden, it may be time to lighten the load.

Find something light-hearted to do. Go out with friends, watch a funny movie, read a whimsical book, or make a play date with your children.

From Ripples of Peace: 111 Ways You Can Help Create Peace in the World by, Rae Thompson.

In view of all that is currently happening in the world, lightening up is a luxury that many can't afford. Yet, when we set aside our personal concern for situations beyond our control, we can focus our energy toward creating a Peaceful reality.

May you know and be Peace.


Dear Friends of Peace,

I hope you experienced freedom from burdens resulting from lightening up. While easy to say, doing is the challenge. Challenges often represented by too many behaviors that are poor reflections of humanity.

When these challenges become overwhelming, consider practicing the:

"22nd Ripple of Peace: Sing songs of Peace.

Music is the language of the heart. The heart in turn is where Peace resides.

Allow your heart to sing of Peace. You can do this by singing others' songs of Peace or by writing and singing your own songs.

Sing in the shower, while driving your car or when or when doing the dishes or other routine activities. The repetition of the words and music serves to reinforce your experience of Peace.

Remember to sing wholeheartedly.

From Ripples of Peace: 111 Ways You Can Help Create Peace in the World by, Rae Thompson.

Singing is a joyful expression that nurtures our mind, body and soul. An expression of joy that serves to affirm, Peace is possible, even if only on the personal level.

There are currently 8.1 billion people alive on Earth. If one percent (81 million) of these people sang songs of Peace throughout the day imagine the shift that might take place.

Don't be shy, "I'd like to teach the world to sing (In perfect harmony)" ...

May you know and be Peace.


Dear Friends of Peace,

For the believers among us, it is said that. "God doesn't care if we sing off key." The joyful expression of praise is what matters. For those too shy to sing out loud, humming is a great alternative.

Another option is to practice the:

"23rd Ripple of Peace: Write a poem of Peace.

Poetry gives voice to the soul. It seems to emanate from deep within us. Poetry can bypass our busy minds and express the simple truths known only to our hearts and souls.

Put aside any doubts you may have about your prowess as a poet and write a poem of Peace. Keep it simple, as though you were writing it for a ten-year-old child.

Consider sharing your poem with your family and friends. You may even choose to add it to birthday or holiday cards.

From Ripples of Peace: 111 Ways You Can Help Create Peace in the World by, Rae Thompson.

An easy way to write a poem is to begin by listing things that might happen when you attain Peace. Visualize clear images that represent your sense of Peace. Imagine the aromas and flavors so you can smell and taste Peace. The act of thinking about writing a poem of Peace is a great work in and of itself.

May you know and be Peace.

We have amazing Rotarians in D5495 involved in amazing work.  D5495 Rotary Clubs and Rotarians are invited to nominate one or more fellow D5495 Rotarians for the 2024  “Champion for Peace" award to be presented at the 2024 District Conference by DG
Kevin Pitts.
The deadline for all nominations is April 1.
This annual award is presented to a fellow Rotarian who exhibits “an enduring commitment to peace.” Champion for Peace recipients are selected by members of the D5495 Peacebuilders Network committee.
Past recipients include Chuck Fitzgerald (2018), Kevin Pitts (2019),  Nancy Van Pelt (2020), Tony Cerato (2021), Dr. Ruth Tan Lim (2022) and Elizabeth Mahoney (2023).
Your nominee’s commitment to peace may be demonstrated through actions that build or strengthen the conditions for peace, or they may be directly categorized as a “peace project.”
Click on the link below for more information and a downloadable/fillable nomination form.

Submitted by Robert Wertz
District 5495 Peacebuilder Chair 2023-24

Dear Friends of Peace,

For many the notion that the flapping of a butterfly's wings could result in the creation of a tornado is a stretch. Admittedly, it took several years for me to accept this theory as based in fact.

The shift in my perspective occurred when I had a mind mending experience that altered my perception of reality. In case you are wondering, the experience was not a result of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

While reflecting on the experience, I realized this altered state of consciousness was a result of practicing the:

"20th Ripple of Peace: Meditate daily.

The primary purpose of most types of meditation is to give access to a higher level of consciousness. Some people describe meditation as a means of experiencing oneness with God or the Universe. Others talk about meditation as a way to calm the mind and attain an awareness of serenity, clarity and bliss.

There are numerous meditation traditions and dozens of meditation techniques, the majority of which involve concentrating on an object, a sound or word (mantra) or your breath. Regular meditation practice can enhance your ability to relax, increase your awareness, foster mental focus and clarity, and generate a pervading sense of Peace within you, both during and after your session.

Look into the meditation courses and centers in your area and select a meditation method that feels right for you. Sign up for a class or find a book that tells you what to do. Or go online to investigate your options.

The practice of meditation is not the source of the Peace we feel, it reveals the Peace that is already within us. Robert Rabbin

Peace comes within the souls of men (and women), when they realize their oneness with the universe. Black Elk

From Ripples of Peace: 111 Ways You Can Help Create Peace in the World by, Rae Thompson.

For many the ability to quiet the mind during meditation is an elusive quest. For others the practice becomes as effortless as drawing in and releasing a breath.

The late Ram Dass is best known for his writings in, Be Here Now. A simple phrase that means, "If you place your attention on the present moment, you will experience a greater sense of Peace."

May you Be Here Now and Be Peace Now.


Submitted by Robert Wertz
District 5495 Peacebuilder Chair 2023-24
Dear Friends of Peace,
I just received a moving message of Peace from Mohamad Jamous, a Palestinian Peacebuilder based in Ramallah, Israel (aka Gaza). The message is contained in a short video accessible through the following link.
 I met Mohamad 2019 when he served as the Palestinian Director for the Abrahamic Reunion (AR).
The AR is a US based nonprofit that has worked in Israel for the past 20 years to nurture harmony among the Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Druze faith communities.
Mohamad now serves as the Palestinian Director for the Children of Abraham.
As Rotarians there is no lack of opportunity to provide financial support for a worthy cause. Please let me know if you feel inspired, as I am, to make a financial donation to support this Peacebuilding program. 
I will vet the Children of Abraham (COA) program prior to accepting any donations on their behalf. Once the COA status is confirmed, I will provide you with the means to make a donation.
Regardless if you make a donation or not, please share this video will the greater Rotarian Peacebuilding community.
Please note that what sounds like the word "treat" is actually "threat".
May you know and be Peace.
Greetings Rotarians,
Did you know that February is Rotary’s Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention month? Now more than ever, thank you for your personal commitment to service and peace, and for all you do to make those around you (and those far away) feel there is hope in our world. Remember, every act of service is an act of peace.
In last month’s D5495 newsletter, we shared a little information with you on The Rotary Peace Fellowship program. This month we want to share more with you.
Many of you know our district supports The Rotary Peace Fellowship program, which is an amazing opportunity to help select 50 master’s degrees applicants and 80 professional development certificate applicants—all fully funded with no cost to your club or D5495.  Applications are open from February 1 – May 15.
I ask you to do two simple things:
  1. Read the articles in February’s Rotary magazine to learn more about
The Rotary Foundation Peace Centers.
  1. Canvass your network of personal and business associates (local, national and international), and tell them about the program. They may know someone who qualifies. While we would like to have Arizona candidates, peace fellow applicants can live and work worldwide.
Here are the February Rotary magazine articles to check out:
    Page 22:  Catalysts for Peace discussing the new Peace Center in Turkey
    Page 48:  Where Are They Now featuring a Peace Fellow alumna and her journey
    Page 52:  The Path to a Rotary Peace Fellowship explaining the process
    Page 56:  The Groundwork for Peace exploring hope by Foundation Trustee Chair/PPRI Barry
Questions? Please contact – we are always glad to help.
Thank you for promoting peace in our world!
Tony Cerato
D5495 Rotary Peace Fellowship Chair

Submitted by Robert Wertz
District 5495 Peacebuilder Chair 2023-24

Dear Friends of Peace,

Thirty years ago, I participated in a two-year yoga training program. As yoga translates to union with the divine, the metaphor of "being in the flow" was used to describe a state of being when the practitioner was at one with their Higher Self or God.

As with quieting the mind during meditation, your ability to detect the subtle flow of life energy can be disrupted by the chaos of civilization.

If you become distracted by the busyness of the day, step back into the flow by practicing the:

"19th Ripple of Peace: Recite affirmations of Peace.

An affirmation is a statement that clearly and directly expresses what we desire. It may affirm something that we believe or something that we choose to have, to do , or to be. By repeatedly stating what we desire in the present tense, as if it were already true, we condition our subconscious mind to accept it as fact.

Select a Peace affirmation from the list below or create one of your own. Recite it out loud as often as possible, perhaps adding it to your daily prayers or meditation. Say the affirmation quietly to yourself whenever you experience feelings that interfere with your inner Peace.

Examples pf Peace affirmations:

·         I am Peace.

·         I am relaxed and am at Peace.

·         I am an instrument of divine Peace.

·         I fully embody Peace in this and every moment.

·         My body and mind are filled with divine Peace.

·         I am secure in the Peace of God.

·         I maintain the presence of Peace within myself at all times.

From Ripples of Peace: 111 Ways You Can Help Create Peace in the World by, Rae Thompson.

The Butterfly Effect, an underlying principle of Chaos Theory, describes how a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state (meaning that there is sensitive dependence on the initial conditions). A metaphor for this behavior is that a butterfly flapping its wings in Texas can cause a tornado in Brazil.

As the scientific community accepts Chaos Theory and Butterfly Effect to be plausible, then our affirmations may be the force that disrupts unconscious thought to bring a sustainable state of Peace into reality.

May you know and be Peace.

Submitted by Robert Wertz,
D5495 Peacebuilding Chair

Dear Friends of Peace,

While the Internet hosts an incredible range of Peace themed sites, it is replete with less conscious diatribes. Occasionally, pesky algorithms successfully seep material into our sub conscience before we have a chance to delete undesirable content. 

When this occurs, we can cleanse our minds by practicing the:

"18th Ripple of Peace: Follow the energy and flow of life

Noticing what we are doing when time seems to pass by quickly reveals the activities that feed our souls. Being alert to fluctuations of our levels of enthusiasm for various tasks and people gives us clues to our hearts' desires. Responding to these promptings from our souls and hearts can lead us to an inner Peace based on the clear and creative expression of our authentic selves.

Pay attention to your levels of energy and enthusiasm. Then follow the energy by making choices that allow you to:

·         engage in activities that give you energy

·         be with people that enhance your sense of happiness and Peace

·         express your true self

As you do these things you may begin to feel that you have stepped into the natural flow of life and are strengthening your connection to the divine.

From Ripples of Peace: 111 Ways You Can Help Create Peace in the World by, Rae Thompson.

As you embark upon the coming week remember, you are the captain of your ship. By following the energy and flow of life your voyage may be Peaceful and replete with grand adventure.

May you know and be Peace.

Dear Friends of Peace,

For me the exploration of fear, anger, and despair to find faith, forgiveness, and joy, is a tall order. While I strive to avoid unpleasant situations, I am surprised how often they show up in life. Some faith traditions espouse that we attract these situations to further our spiritual growth.

When we encounter fear, anger, and despair, a refuge may be found by practicing the:

"17th Ripple of Peace: Visit websites related to Peace

The Internet is replete with information related to Peace. It offers vast resources for creating inner Peace and for helping to create Peace within your family, community, nation, and the world.

Explore the Web's resources to learn more about the suggestions in this book and to make connections with others of like mind and heart. Consider registering at selected sites to receive updates on what others are doing to promote Peace around the planet.

From Ripples of Peace: 111 Ways You Can Help Create Peace in the World by, Rae Thompson.

A favorite Web resource is Peace Reflections that may be accessed through the Peacebuilding link on our district's webpage or: 

Peace Reflections is authored by Roberta Holanda Maschietto, PhD in Peace Studies (University of Bradford, UK). Through the Internet she casts Peace pebbles that create ripples well beyond the pond.

Please share any sites that might be of interest to your fellow Peacebuilders.

May you know and be Peace.

Submitted by Robert Wertz,
D5495 Peacebuilding Chair

Dear Friends of Peace,
During the preceding week, I hope you took time to enjoy your new or older water feature. "In the essay, Water-The Elixer of Life, Sir CV Raman praises the importance of water, which is the lifegiving force to all. According to him, water is the true elixir of life."
Proper hydration is key to optimal health, especially when emotion related toxins are released during the practice of the:
"16th Ripple of Peace: Explore fear, anger, and despair to find faith, forgiveness, and joy

Fear and faith, anger and forgiveness, and despair and joy are opposites. It is impossible for any of these opposing feelings to coexist in us in the same moment.

As you become aware of fear, anger, or despair, you can use your awareness to open the door to faith, forgiveness, or joy. First, note and acknowledge exactly what you are feeling, without resisting or repressing it. Second, ask yourself whether you choose to hold on to this feeling or to transform it into its opposite. If you choose transformation, do whatever it takes to move yourself into faith, forgiveness, and joy.
For example, you might recite affirmations, say a prayer, listen to soothing music, play with your children or a pet, or meditate. The instant you allow in feelings of love and Peace, you begin to tip the scale: from fear toward faith, from anger toward forgiveness, and from despair toward joy.
As you practice transforming your feelings in this manner, you are likely to notice that the shifts occur faster and last longer."
From Ripples of Peace: 111 Ways You Can Help Create Peace in the World by, Rae Thompson.

"When the student is ready the teacher will appear." Tao Te Ching
Once we find faith, practice forgiveness, and know joy we can become Teachers of Peace.