Three friends in Bogotá, Colombia, decided to explore through a Creators of Peace Circle how to integrate conversations over the Colombian peace process in a more peaceful way in their communities.
This Creators of Peace Circle sparked from a conversation I had with one woman, who approached me through the recommendation of a common friend. She was interested in having a talk with me about a difficult family situation she was going through. At home, María José Salazar could not talk about the Colombian peace process. It always diverted into heated discussions with her husband and her mother, who were against her arguments in favour of peace...
Yes, although it might seem contradictory, the word “peace” became a motive for endless arguments and political discussions in the families of my country, including my own family. There are those of us who support the signing of the peace process between the FARC, a guerrilla that fought for more than 60 years, and the Colombian government. And there is a large majority of Colombians who were in total disagreement with signing and supporting the peace process. Those of us who supported this initiative from the beginning were branded as communists and guerrillas in the service of Castro-Chavismo of Venezuela. Social networks were responsible for exacerbating hatred and polarization began to manifest everywhere.
This is what led María José to summon her friends to receive an experience of Creators of Peace together. They were invited to share a little bit on their lives through the workshop 'Advocating for a New Story'.
Deeply touched by the experience and now eager to experience the full Creators of Peace Circle, María José Salazar, Olga Victoria Quintana and Olga Lucía Velasco called me several times to coordinate our agendas. Everything flowed to hold the Peace Circle over three days in September. Unfortunately, these were not suitable for the other facilitators María Cristina Muñoz and Diana Pescador.
I was moved to see how the call of the soul of these three participants was manifested in the way of organizing logistics and agreeing to adjustments so that each one of them would receive us in their home and prepare food for all of us…
On the first day of this magical and powerful meeting, we arrived at María José's house and we made an altar together in a beautiful place in the forest, near Bogotá. On the second day, we went to Olga Lucía's and in order to have the material at hand, we hung the gathering points on a string with hooks. On the last day, the meeting took place in Olga Victoria's home. Every day we met from 9 am to 6 pm, except for the last day when we finished before lunch and decided to give each other alternative therapy sessions in the afternoon.
The experience was beautiful and deep, and despite being only four of us, an excellent job was achieved. The three participants are motivated to continue transforming themselves with Creators of Peace and want us to continue inviting them to our meetings around other themes to share and grow.
They shared what the Peace Circle meant to them:
'This was my conclusion after several days of tears and laughter: acceptance without resistance to release the pain and learn to live in peace and transmit that awareness around us.' (María José Salazar)
'The Peace Circle has awakened even more that desire to work on myself, to improve day by day and continue in that search for my inner peace. I understood the responsibility that I have with myself first… I have managed to understand that my change has a domino effect around me with my friends, colleagues, companions and all the women around me, which empowers me and makes me stronger.' (Olga Victoria Quintana)
With the benefit of hindsight now, almost six months after the Peace Circle, María José and Olga Victoria are sharing how it has impacted their communities or families.
'The Creators of Peace Circle taught me that every woman has a reason for her actions and that no trial changes her actions, but just a hug that says: "That's how it was. Let's move forward".
I interiorized even further, what the lightest way to go through the days is with the attitude of accepting. It also opened my mind and heart to integrate my maternal lineage and the women of my paternal lineage who have their own history and brought many fruits to my own.' (María José Salazar)
'Finally, I understood that women need each other to be able to weave this web of change for peace, that our wisdom is love and that it is the greatest tool we have to make this change.' (Olga Victoria Quintana)
Thank you to these dear women for throwing themselves into the experience of seeking peace inside themselves, using the moment of silence to heal...
A fraternal embrace for all Creators of Peace of Colombia and the world,
Luz Stella Camacho
Creators of Peace Circles facilitator and International coordinator