IMAGINE Magazine-Spring2016 | Page 3

Staff contributors FROM THE EDITOR
Debra Beck , author of the award-winning book My Feet Aren ’ t Ugly , A Girl ’ s Guide to Loving Herself from the Inside Out , is a devoted mentor for teenage girls and parents on issues facing teenagers and parents today .
Paula Donnelly-Roark is a participation practitioner and social analyst working on poverty and post-conflict issues in African countries . Her recent book Social Justice and Deep Participation was recently published by Palgrave Macmillan .
Michael Iskowitz has worked for decades with national and international leaders , United Nations , and nonprofit organizations envisioning and shaping initiatives that have made the world a better , fairer and more peaceful place for the most vulnerable among us . He has built common ground across party and country lines and often divergent constituencies to create change in the areas of children and families , global health and human rights .
Wib Middleton , editorial photographer and writer , is co-owner of Thunder Mountain Design with his wife , Jane Perini . He is a board member of the Tibetan Buddhist organization , KPC , that built the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park in Sedona , where he also serves as one of its caretakers . Wib and Jane have been involved in helping to establish several nonprofits dedicated to world peace and sustainability .
Jane Perini held to a vision of Sedona being known around the world as City of Peace after the Amitabha Stupa and its surrounding Peace Park were established in Sedona . She is one of the founding members of Sedona City of Peace and is president of Thunder Mountain Design , which specializes in magazine and book design for more than three decades .
Lori Rubenstein has a special gift : holding sacred space for people to transcend their “ stories ” and step into a new , more empowering life . As a forgiveness teacher , coach , inspirational speaker , retreat facilitator , and author of three transformational books , Lori walks her talk and helps her clients see that what they call “ tragedy ” can in fact be the soul ’ s greatest gift .
Dawn Shattuck has been a social advocate throughout her career in public service and nonprofit administration . Whether working on child welfare , human rights , civic leadership , or diversity issues , her focus is on fostering a culture of compassion . She has specialty training as a peacemaker , reverend , conflict negotiator , and is an aspiring author , writer and speaker .
Margaret Joy Weaver is a writer , social activist and community builder . She has led transformational programs throughout the world for thousands of people dedicated to harmonious relationships , team building and authentic creative self-expression .

If you were to ask ten people what their definition of peace is , you would probably hear statements like “ the opposite of war .” This interpretation is much like saying happiness is merely freedom from sadness , which leaves us bereft of understanding the rich nuances of happiness . Yet the Miriam Webster Dictionary would concur about the meaning of peace , offering its top three definitions : a state in which there is no war or fighting ; an agreement to end a war ; a period of time when there is no war or fighting .

But is peace merely freedom from war and violence , or maybe a state of personal serenity or tranquility ? At Imagine we feel this is a supposition worth exploring . If we start from the premise that peace is more richly profound than the absence of war , that it has qualities and characteristics worth cultivating , where do we begin ? Would there any reason to restrict the lens of peace from focusing on any topic of concern or issue of the day ?
This line of thinking might lead us to explorations like how we imagine peace might express itself in education , medicine or the environment . Maybe we would investigate issues like poor air quality , drug abuse , or childhood hunger and arrive at more peaceful solutions and plans of action for dealing with them . Essentially , what causes would we need to set in motion through our social integrative powers that would result in a sustainable foundation for a peaceful society ?
One of those causes , we believe , is empathy , or the capacity to be sensitive to and experience the emotions or experiences of others . On the following pages we explore a variety of personal experiences , perspectives , programs and actions catalyzed by the power of or ideas about empathy . We hope you find the reading provocative and inspiring .
Albert Einstein once said , “ A human being ... experiences himself , his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest ... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness . Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty .” More empathy must surely be one way out of this conundrum and a way into a more peaceful world .