“Peace begins on the inside. It's hard to have peace inside the home if you are not at peace on the inside.” - Dr. Donna Schuller
On March 27, 2022, Global Peace Women held the first session of its 2022 Webinar series, ‘GPW Leaders Enrichment Program for Peacebuilding’. The session, “Personal Wellbeing for Peacebuilders,” brought together current academy fellows and recent graduates for a dynamic discussion that addressed the innate value and qualities of women in the context of personal well-being and peacebuilding.
“Women do so much to serve society, but sometimes women can forget about their personal well-being,” said Dr. Soonok Kang, President of GPW in her opening remarks. She encouraged participants to explore ways to apply their learnings in their personal lives, families, communities as well as the populations served through their projects.
Dr. Donna Schuller, Global Peace Women International Advisory Council member and Co-founder of Robert Schuller Ministries shared her experience and wisdom on how to cultivate peace inside and out. She outlined three dimensions of self-care: connecting to self, cultivating spirituality, and service for others.
Dr. Schuller emphasized the importances of creating an inner place of peace and safety and recognizing the power of choice and response, especially when overcoming challenges. “To build peace, you need to be at peace”, said Dr.Schuller as she emphasized the power of “self” in peacebuilding. Dr.Schuller shared three things she does to connect to herself and cultivate her spirituality.
1. Make quiet time: Dr. Schuller unplugs from online, sometimes spends time with grandchildren, sometimes spends quiet time alone.
2. Journal: She likes to write, and sometimes writes for hours. It helps her organize her feelings and thoughts.
3. Pray and meditate: She emphasized the importance of taking time to listen: to God and to her personal intuition.
She also drew attention to the importance of service as an important part of self-care. “Self-care also starts with service to others. When we serve others, we become part of a greater community, and it takes the pain and suffering off of ourselves.” said Dr.Schuler. Service develops self-esteem, builds stronger families, and creates a legacy of peace extending from generation to generation, noted Dr. Schuller.
An interaction Q&A session that delved deep into complex, real-world questions including the challenge of navigating through different career, family, and cultural expectations, self-care and care for others as well as dealing with trauma and loss. "Everything begins with self. Even uplifting values and dignity, it starts with ourselves," reflected Beatriz Munhoz, the project leader of GPW Brazil. Jalia Muntu, GPWLA graduate from Uganda, brought up a simple but important area of sanitation and hygiene as part of self care. “We have to keep ourselves clean so we can be safe and in good health so we can serve our loved ones.” Tahmina Supti, GPWLA graduate fromBangladesh reflected, “I appreciate the talk of spiritual well-being, it created a feeling of connecting to the higher power, peace, transcendence.”
The GPW Webinar Series 2022 is a five month program with in-depth discussions on topics ranging from self-care, technology, beyond the ideology and learning from multi-culture experiences towards world peace. The webinars bring service-minded women together to develop their leadership and capacity and build a meaningful, supportive network.