Monday Feb 28,  01
 
Wise Decisions
for a more Peaceful Planet

 Define a wise decision as an act of caring toward the self, all others, the earth and what is beyond the earth now. Take the wise decisions that we already make, build upon them, commit to a process where we evaluate our every day, moment to moment decisions, agree to make more and even better decisions and implement those decisions.

 STARDANCERS
Greg Boyko
PO Box 4494, Pueblo,  CO, 81003
(719)545-3820 OR (719)248-1680
E-mail   boykostardance@hotmail.com

 I have tried to incorporate in this package all the information you might need to start a project. If you have any questions at all please contact me.  I also give presentations and workshops. For those there is usually a cost, but I will be as accommodating as I can be .

 A COMMON FOCUS

           I'ts a pretty good trick to find a vision or common set of values that the greatest percentage of the culture might be willing to agree upon and even allow to be taught within our schools. The idea that wisdom is based on some aspect of caring , is a value that can be found in a multitude of differing societies. Caring is something that we can agree upon. We will not , as a collective whole, agree as to what constitutes caring. What is a caring act for you may very well be an uncaring act for me. We can, though, promote intensive scrutiny. Look at our decisions as we ask ourselves " Is true caring reflected in the decision?". We can agree that wise decisions are based on caring and that ignorant decisions are based on harm.. Our common vision will have to allow for diverse thinking, not get in the way of the separation of church and state and be! something we can teach everywhere including our schools. With all our rich and diverse belief's:
Fundamental Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic, Earth religions, New  Age, Atheist, Humanist,  Moslem, Jewish and a huge range of other differing beliefs,psychologies and thought systems, and philosophies within our schools, families, workplaces and communities we can promote:
 
1. A wise decision is based on a deep and honest caring of the self, all others,  the earth, and what is beyond the earth ONE MOMENT AT A TIME.

2. A dumb decision is based on harm.
 
3.WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO  BUILD UPON THE WISE DECISIONS WE ARE ALREADY MAKING, MAKE MORE AND EVEN BETTER WISE DECISIONS AND IMPLEMENT THOSE DECISIONS.
 
4. WE CAN LOOK FOR AND GIVE EACH OTHER SUPPORT TO HELP IMPROVE THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF WISE DECISIONS.
 
5.WE CAN AGREE TO ALLOW OTHERS THE BELIEFS THAT MOST HELP THEM TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS EVEN IF THE BELIEFS AND THE DECISIONS ARE ONES WE CAN NEITHER UNDERSTAND NOR SHARE.
 
THERE ARE TWO GENERAL WAYS OF REDUCING VIOLENCE
1.  We can attack that which is causing the problem.
2. We can initiate aspects into our life that are counter-productive to violence. We can promote values of peace, loving and caring.
   The second is much more effective.
 WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
1. Each one of us must commit to constant evaluation of our decisions, asking ourselves, " what can we do, act, say , believe, that will be a better decision?"     We must ask ourselves " is what we are deciding to do an act of  caring toward ourselves, all others, the earth and what is beyond the earth now...?"
   Every little decision and every major decision must be held up to scrutiny. Guilt shame, criticism, blame, , or for that matter vanity or pride are not ( FOR MOST FOLKS) emotions that are going to help us in our evaluation.. We must become aware of what we are thinking, doing, and believing and deliberately improve upon them.
 
2. We must challenge others to do the same.
 
3. If at all possible,  we must form groups to support and encourage one another.
 
4. These groups must grow and split and grow some more.. When a group reaches 14, it must split into two groups of seven where we constantly invite others, including the children, to join us as we hold our decisions to a scrutinizing light. 
 
5. We must advertise and promote the idea that a wise decision is based on a deep and honest caring of the self, all others, the earth , and what is beyond the earth right now.
 
6. We must advertise and promote holding up our every day decisions to a scrutinizing light in order to improve upon our decisions.
 
7. We must promote and advertise the formation of the exploration groups.
 
8. We must promote and advertise the idea that others be allowed to believe and make their own caring decisions in ways we might  neither understand nor share.
 
9. We must hold up our beliefs about ourselves and others and look for ways to improve upon those beliefs in order to make wiser and and wiser decisions.
 
10 We must focus on the " Now" . Mistakes we have made in the past or worries about decisions that we might make in the future must not get in the way of making wise decisions right now.  
 
 PLEASE, PLEASE,PLEASE, I NEITHER HAVE THE TIME NOR THE DESIRE TO JOIN AN "EXPLORATION GROUP". WHY IS IT NECESSARY?
       
   Every project initiated will have to take into consideration the special and unique characteristics of it's group. A project developed at a large business concern versus a small business versus a small school versus a school district will bring it's own unique problems and answers. A type of brainstorming will be necessary for each and every project to adapt  and to adjust. For some projects the encouragement groups may not  be feasible while another slightly different or radically different approach may be much more effective. So brainstorm.Come up with your own ideas as to what best suits your needs but do not let this be an excuse to ignore the importance of the exploration groups.
 
 
 IT IS ONE THING TO ADVERTISE AND PROMOTE THROUGH OUT A COMMUNITY THAT WISDOM HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH CARING.  IT IS ANOTHER TO COMMIT AS INDIVIDUALS TO IMPROVE UPON THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF WISE DECISIONS.    WITHOUT A CONSORTED EFFORT BY THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE, VIOLENCE IS NEVER GOING TO BE REDUCED. BY DEVELOPING THE GROUPS AND INVITING OTHERS TO JOIN, WE DEVELOP A PATTERN, COMMUNITY WIDE, OF IMPROVING OURSELVES.  THE GROUP MUST NEVER GET TO A SIZE THAT STIFLES INDIVIDUAL EXPLORATION.    WE NEED TO GROW, EXPAND AND THEN REDUCE THE SIZE OF THE GROUP SO THAT IT CAN GROW SOME MORE.      WITHOUT THESE GROUPS, WE WILL GREATLY  REDUCE THE POSSIBILITIES OF CHANGE WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY.           REAL FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE NEEDS A GROUP COMMITMENT.           BREAKING AWAY  FROM OUR ROUTIN! ES.TO JOIN WITH OTHERS ONCE A MONTH TO EXPLORE GROWTH IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY.             IN FACT IT GOES AGAINST A PATTERN WE HAVE DEVELOPED IN AMERICA OF BEING SELF-RELIANT.       MAYBE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE , THE TOUGHEST COMMITMENT WILL BE TO FORM AND ATTEND THESE GROUPS.           WITHOUT, IT, A GREAT DEAL OF POWERFUL  CHANGING MOMENTUM WILL BE LOST.              PLEASE TRY.
 
WORKING AS AN INDIVIDUAL
    THERE ARE A VARIETY OF THINGS WE CAN DO AS INDIVIDUALS, BUT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE WE BEGIN TO MAKE A TRANSITION FROM INDIVIDUAL COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZING.  SOMETIMES THAT TRANSITION IS NOT VERY OBVIOUS AND OTHER TIMES IT IS CRYSTAL CLEAR.  WE START BY:
1.  Commit to build upon the wise decisions we are already making to make more and even better decisions.
 
2.   We define a wise decision as one based on a deep and honest caring of the self, all others, the earth, and what is beyond the earth right now.
 
3.   We commit to random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
 
4.   We hold our moment to moment decisions up to a scrutinizing light, and ask ourselves "How can we improve upon our decisions?"
 
5.  We look at our beliefs ( things we assume to be true) about  ourselves, all others, the earth, and what is beyond the earth. We ask ourselves " Are there slightly different beliefs that would  enable us to make better decisions?"      We ask ourselves, " Are these new beliefs something we are actually capable of believing?"
          An example of this might be: You  believe that it isn't necessary to buckle your seat belt on short journeys to the store. You might question this belief and ask your self is it based on caring.  Maybe it is based more on convince. Maybe you need to change your belief.
 
6. NOW!!!!! Let go of past mistakes and poor decisions. Make wiser and wiser decisions starting right now.
 
7. Look for an find the good and beauty in others. Appreciate them and thank them.   Send  " Thank-you notes. Compliment them , when you honestly are able to to do . Do it.      Look for folks making wise decisions and thank them for setting an example.    Do not spend great amounts of energy criticizing  unwise decisions. It wont help. Don't  hand out  praise with hidden insult. " You  are doing so much  better than you  did yesterday." Rather thank them for the wisdom they are displaying today.
 
8.  Affirm  the worth and dignity of each individual you meet.
 
NOW AS WE START MAKING OUR TRANSITION FROM WHAT WE CAN DO  INDIVIDUALLY, WE BEGIN TO LOOK FOR WAYS,  AS AN INDIVIDUAL , WE MIGHT CONTRIBUTE TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION.
 
1. Try to find a sponsoring agency that can offer office space, local phone, mail, secretarial,  phone answering services, and organizational skills. Focus on a three year campaign. This can be through schools, inter-faith organizations, police , youth groups and so on.
 
2. Seek funding: grants, business contributions, church and service organizational support.
 
3. Meet with school officials, police, inter-faith organizations, churches, service organizations, and especially media: newspapers,  "Thrifty Nickels" and specialty newspapers ( senior paper, real-estate, business), TV, radio, bulletin boards, church and schools bulletins, magnetic signs on vehicles, advertising on local government vehicles, bumper stickers, bulletin boards, signs in schools, churches , and other agencies.
 
4. Develop an advertising campaign that can go for a  three year period, and more if so desired. It may be  necessary to hire an advertising agency . Promote:
   A.  that a wise decision is based on a deep and honest caring of the self, all others, the earth and what is beyond the earth.
   B.    commitment by individuals to make more and more better and better, wiser and wiser decisions
   C. encouragement groups to split and grow and split and grow
   D. allowing others to believe and care in ways we might neither understand nor share.
   E. Now!!! Let go of past mistakes and future worries.
   F. Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
   G. Pay forward. Give something away with no expectation of repayment other than the person  giving something else away to others. 
 
5.Ask for donations from business and media. If media can't give as as needed , try to get reduced rates. Do not skimp on the advertising. It's a major part of the campaign. After a three year period, most everyone in the community should be able to define a wise decision as an act of caring.
 
6.  Get local organizations, churches, schools, service organizations, police and community agencies to help form encouragement groups and contribute to the promotional campaign. 
 
7 Have a phone number available to the public and the phone manned so that individuals can get information about the encouragement groups and where they can donate time and money.
 
8. Each group will have the responsibility of committing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty, pay forward, and  daily thanking people for setting an example as to what constitutes  wise decision. 
 
9. Establish a campaign starting date. Keep track of police statistics (for a community ) school, business organization, or family rates of violence.  We are looking for a definite trend of decreased violent crimes, decreased reports of domestic violence, decreased reports of violent acts in schools and businesses. Look for statistical data to substantiate the reduction of violence. These statistics will show  success and will be needed for future funded projects. 
 
 WHAT IT MIGHT ALL LOOK LIKE ONCE PUT TOGETHER.
 THE FOLLOWING IS A TOTAL FABRICATION 
        George Arellano is a will built Hispanic gentleman on the long side of 40. he has long hair, usually worn in a pony tail,. He is divorced ( two daughters in their teens) remarried with two children in elementary school.  The two teens live with their mother on the other side of town but they are constantly over at George"s house. He kind of likes it.  Through the years George has begun to get along with  his ex-wife. Some of George's family believes that he drinks a little too much. George feels it's none of their business. He probably does drink a little more than is healthy.
    George makes a living putting up dry wall. He always has work and side jobs, and more work than he really wants. He likes to fish with his father but worries about his dad's heart.
     The trouble really started  with George's  eldest daughter, Marie. Though George doesn't like to admit it, Marie had threatened to beat up another girl at school. Making, probably the mistake of the year, she wrote the girl and note saying her intentions. Not only that, she signed it. The  other girl had no intention of going to the school counselor. She wanted to fight also. The trouble is that a teacher saw her reading the note and sent the other girl to the school  counselor. Because of some other trouble, it meant that his daughter was going to have in school suspension. What real ticked George off is that the other girl's father was a client and friend of his. He yelled and said things to his daughter he later wished he hadn't.
    George's friend suggested to George that the two of them go over to the local family community center. George agreed.  The two men got to talking with other parents about the amount of fighting that seemed to be going on in the schools. From then on the conversation got  more intense: the gangs, the shootings, and the violence in general with in the schools and in the homes. George was handed a pamphlet. George went home to read it.
     Now if the truth were to be known , George wasn't much of a reader and in actuality both of his daughters could read  better than he. George didn't feel particularly bad about it, but he did ask his wife to read the pamphlet to him. His wife didn't comment much about the pamphlet and the two of them went to sleep. 
    Somewhere in the middle of the night, George  had the uncomfortable series of thoughts that left him sleepless for the rest of the night and changed his and eventually his entire communities life. It went like this.
    "There's nothing I can do about the violence in our community."
    "I wonder if that is a belief about myself that gets in the way of making wise decisions.?"
    " Could I change that belief?"
    " Well I suppose I could believe that I can make a difference."
    "Can I really believe that?"
     " Not really"
     " What belief about myself can I believe that would help me to make a difference?"
     " I suppose I could believe that I might be able to make a difference"
     " Can I really believe that?"
     " Yes I can......OH OH .....I  think I'm in trouble......."
        As far as George could determine, his next job was to believe and define  that a wise decision is based on a deep and honest caring of the self, all others, the earth, and what is beyond the earth right now.... that a dumb decision is based on harm. George wondered about the part of "all others". He wasn't sure that he could care about everyone. he got to thinking about his ex-wife. But any way he looked at it, up down, over and in-between , George cane to the conclusion that the statement was true.
     Things didn't happen overnight but things did  happed. He bought his two oldest daughters a heart shaped locket. Once opened, inside there were two pictures: one of George , his present family and one of his ex-wife and her family. He wrote a cared saying "don't forget, you are very very loved."  He took the two younger children roller skating and even put on skates himself. It seemed a  wise decision though by the time he got home he questioned how loving he had been toward himself.
   George began to to look for the good in himself and others. He began to practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. He even once left a vase full of flowers for an elderly couple he had put up dry wall for.
     There was, in his view , no way he would join an encouraging group, let alone form one. It was not until the brutal rape and murder of his neighbors granddaughter, who lived across town, that George took on some new and different beliefs. George decided to believe that " If you are not part of the solution , you are part of the problem."   George did not want to imagine that his apathy was contributing to the violence in the world.
     George took action. He xeroxed off the pamphlet and sent it off to several school officials ,the chief of police, his priest, and an uncle who worked as a clerk in city hall. George wrote that he was hoping he could find some sort of agency who would support the Wise Decision Project. His uncle posted the letter and pamphlet on a bulletin board. George got his phone call. They could meet at city hall, but the city wasn't committing to any thing else.
   George sent pamphlets and a letter to several radio stations, newspapers and an interfaith group he never heard of. No one came. George set up a different meeting. This time he visited different groups personally. 10 folks from different organizations came including a representative  of the D.A.R.E. program with the police.  The representative mentioned that the police had a bit of funding for just such a proposal as a community development grant. the money wasn't a lot but the D.A.R.E. officer went back to the Chief of police and got  the chief to agree to let the police department be the sponsoring agency. The police would provide office space, use of phone, answer calls or at least provide a number George could call  later to get messages. The space would be available for only six months at which time the police department  would review the progress. Two radio stations ( there were seven invited) committed 3 public ser! vice announcements on a daily basis but not at very good times. They did, though,  offer to sell advertising at a 50% reduced  fare. The Thrifty Saver paper agreed to a weekly 3 inch by 4 inch ad for the duration of the campaign. The inter-faith group agreed to track down 15 different churches and synagogues and ask them to place advertising in the church bulletins. George found an advertising agency that would work with the group at a greatly reduced rate. The ads promoted  some of the following.
    a. " A wise decision is based on a deep and honest  caring of the self, all others, the earth, and what is beyond the earth now. A dumb decision is based on harm"
    b "Commit to look at your decisions and make more and more better and better ones"
    c. "Think about forming an encouragement group"
    d. Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty
    e. Pay forward
    f  Allow others the beliefs that most help them to care even if it is a belief you can neither understand nor share.
         At the meeting one lady said that she would speak to a variety of service organizations. Within three weeks, use of a large bulletin board conspicuously located downtown was donated to the Police department. Somebody had donated $500 to be used to purchase magnetic signs promoting wise decision making.  2 service groups offered to start encouragement groups.
       George had a great deal of difficulty going to any of the groups but he did for no other reason than to support the movement. But the group did grow and eventually one of his older daughters asked to join, as did the friend who first went with George down to the community center. The group grew to 14  and than split into two different groups. George's wife even formed a group that met only via phone.
      To start with , in the groups, it was hard not to be critical of  oneself or others and sometimes it sounded like folks were trying to blow their own horns. Bit by bit folks began the use the time to truly evaluate decisions and try to help each other make and implement better and better decisions.  Each person committed to thanking  someone three times a week for setting an example as to what a good decision is. If a person blew it, they put into the treasury two dollars to be used as little thank you gifts.
    George felt his greatest success came when he learned that at his daughter's high school, there were now three exploration groups.
    Each group had both teachers and students.  One day his daughter who participated in the exploration group came home and told George that there had been quite an argument about uniforms in school. Some felt that it was an uncaring idea  to implement and others felt it was a caring idea.  George reminded his daughter that we had to allow others their beliefs even if they were thoughts we could neither understand nor share.
     Each group met once a month and each group committed to random acts of kindness, senseless acts of beauty and pay forward ( giving energy  time or money and expecting the person to give it  forward to someone else).
      Bit-by-bit, throughout the entire community, people began to define wisdom as  caring. Not everyone was committed, to be sure, and in fact some folks were down right antagonistic to the whole concept. Over all though, the rate of violent acts within the community,homes and schools were going down.The community was a genuinely safer place to live and definitely more pleasant. George made sure the organization compiled a list of statistics about the number of violent crimes reported so that they could validate the worth of the project for future funding.
    One day while George was driving home from work, he thought he saw a sign on a silver Toyota Mini Van. It was the thought that had  helped him become involved with community organization, " If you are not part of the solution , you are part of the problem."
 
The End
 
 
      There are a variety of theories out there as to why humankind commits violence upon itself. Some focus on religion, some on behavioral sciences, some say violence is learned behavior and some say it is  inherited. We need to take the variety of  theories and see if we can devise a solution that takes most if not all into consideration. Personal values and mores also become an issue. It is unbelievable how much violence occurs in the name  of a faith, religion, good parenting or being an effective spouse. I would encourage you to become involved in promoting the idea that a wise decision is based on caring. Some of us belong to cultures that are notorious for not taking action. We must find new beliefs about ourselves and our community  that will help us to become committed. W must not believe that it is useless.  Ask yourself " What can I do today" then do it . I have tried to include enough information ! in this package so that a single individual could conceivable start a "WISE DECISIONS FOR A MORE PEACEFUL PLANET"  project. If you require further information or would like to explore a presentation  or series of workshops. Please contact me.
 
 
Greg Boyko,    PO Box 4494, Pueblo,CO. 81003
or
E-mail                 boykostardance@hotmail.com 
THANK YOU