Event urges Islanders to practice peace

A 40-day international peace event has an active contingent on Vashon, and organizers are seeking participants in an endeavor that they call “subtle activism.”

Winter Feast for the Soul is a spiritual event that aims to bring people together, in communities worldwide, to practice peace for 40 minutes per day for 40 consecutive days. It is the hope of organizers that, in so doing, participants will help bring peace to the world as well.

A series of seven events will take place on Vashon. At each, Islanders will share the ways they practice peace.

Several residents have offered to open their homes to others at certain times each day that the event is in progress, from Jan. 15 to Feb. 23, to do together what brings them feelings of peace.

“If you take what makes you peaceful, whether it’s dancing or singing or walking your dog in nature, and you connect with people all over the world for 40 days, you’re making personal peace and you’re making planetary peace,” said Zubin Goldman, an organizer of the event on Vashon. “It’s subtle activism, and I hope it’s going to creep up on people.”

On Feb. 16, Goldman will lead others at the Land Trust Building in “dances of universal peace,” which she said bring her fulfillment and joy. She will also open her home from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. each day for others to practice meditation and dance with her.

The spiritual meditative dances were created in the tradition of sacred dances. They’re powerful, Goldman said, because they connect dancers in a universal language. Often, the dances include chanting of sacred phrases in different languages, including English, Sanskrit or Hebrew.

“You’re chanting mantras that thousands of people have chanted and are still chanting today,” Goldman said.

Winter Feast for the Soul began only last year in Sun Valley, Idaho, but has spread to 36 states and 20 countries this year. The event is held in January and February to combat the post-holiday winter blues some people have, Goldman said.

She added that the event is open to everyone, regardless of religious or spiritual affiliation or lack thereof. Even children are becoming involved — pledging to spend four minutes a day practicing peace. If people cannot commit to 40 minutes for 40 days, whatever commitment they make will still make a difference in their own lives and in the momentum of the event, Goldman added.

“If you don’t do it for 40 days, you only do it for 20, should you be depressed? No,” Goldman said. “It’s about the connection and the community and the support. ... We’re connecting and affirming a peacefulness.”

The 40-day gathering was inspired by a poem written by 13th-century mystic Jelaluddin Rumi.

“What nine months does for the embryo / Forty early mornings will do / For your growing awareness,” he wrote.

More commonly known as Rumi, he is the most widely read poet in the United States, Goldman said.

“A lot of people have looked at his poems and seen a way of being that touches their heart and resonates,” she said.

Winter Feast is a chance for people to awaken their consciousness. Even small actions are a chance to practice peacefulness in one’s life, Goldman said. Washing dishes, for example — one can be angry and negative about the chore, or take it on lightly and with good nature, she said.

“I want this event to be inclusive,” Goldman said. “I think it’s a practice of global awakening because it helps us to be conscious of our actions.”

Winter Feast events

The opening celebration “kickoff” is from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12, at the Land Trust Building on Bank Road.

At this event, presenters of the following events will discuss and include the community in their ways of practicing peace. The evening will conclude with meditation.

For more information about the event, or to open an Island home to others at a certain time for 40 days, contact Zubin Goldman at 463-2620.

The upcoming events will be held at the Land Trust Building. Each event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m.

Jan. 12 — Opening celebration

Jan. 19 — Journaling with Jane Neubauer and Darcy Brown

Jan. 26 — Crystal bowl ceremony with Jacqui Lown

Feb. 2 — Labyrinth workshop with Betty Hawkins

Feb. 9 — Yoga with Amy Huggins

Feb. 16 — Dances of universal peace with Zubin Goldman

Feb. 23 — Closing celebration; end of the 40-day period

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