Imagine negotiating for support and services with every type of leader, from Governors to Mother Superiors and from farmers on tractors to captains of police. Now, imagine doing that with no money, no insurance, no cellphone and no computer. Now,
imagine doing that 200+ times, along country roads and through city streets, while living in a tent that moves every day. Oh, and imagine doing that while herding between 250 and 1500 people of every socio-economic and philosophical stripe imaginable toward a singular goal.
That was The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament and I arranged for their walking route permits and for hundreds of spaces to park their trucks and pitch their tents.
As a leadership group, The Peace City government riffed on our own version of that old Army motto with: “It’s not just an adventure…it’s a JOB.” And, to be honest, I never want to work that hard again in my entire life.
It was a spectacular, and formative experience and through it, I learned to use my spine of steel for good. I had to adapt to any environment while promoting the community’s needs to often hostile authorities. This required a deep understanding of conflict while resolving endless conflicts and crushing goals at warp speed.
There are hundreds of stories from this epic journey and an unexpected benefit through all of it was discovering my ability to draw disparate thinkers together into focused accomplishments. 30 years on, I’m challenged to use that skill more than ever!