The Truth I Tried to Avoid


One impetus of P:5Y came from asking What is the truth that I’m stepping over in my own life? What am I spending a lot of energy repressing or making excuses for?

These are Very useful questions if you want to start discovering your purpose and take the next step in it.

I was in a year long course called Power & Contribution with 140 people who flew in from 40 different countries. For six weekends in San Francisco for a year we explored one question: “What is the contribution I was uniquely born with, to give for all people?”

We asked that question in various ways from What can I not get enough of?” “What can I do all day long and not get tired of it?” to “What is something I remember wanting for all people as a child?

One of the main distillations that I want is: All people living from the truth of who they are and consciously creating their lives, communities, nations and world from that place. World Peace is a milestone.

Nathan and I started exploring what ways we are living from truth and what ways are we not. This became more personal as I felt what I wanted, yet seemed impossible.

One truth that I kept stepping over and the majority of people seemed to be stepping over is world peace. It’s been dreamed up as this utopia and impossible ideal, but I knew many successful people who have made ‘impossible things happen’. I’ve done my share of deadline productions. I also grew up in the generation who idealizes Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. I won third place in the Omaha, Nebraska Martin Luther King speech contest. Our heroes are the peacemakers who fearlessly fought for what they knew was true in the face of ‘that is impossible’. I knew from their example that impossibility can be a mirage masking hard work, strategy, and an aligned purpose. So why was I doing making excuses? All I have is this ONE life. How do I want to live it?

It eventually became obvious in a moment, that stepping over the nagging feeling was no longer tolerable. That moment came in a business strategy session with Nathan. We were in a semi-circular room overlooking the ocean and hills of Santa Barbara. The room was full of white boards, dry-erase markers, and audio recording equipment. We were charting industry metrics based on a book called The Blue Ocean Strategy for our business Dharmamix. We got into a discussion about the power of cognitive dissonance to influence action. The sun had just set over the hills. There was a moment looking around the room when we asked “Why don’t we do this for World Peace? Why don’t we treat peace like a business? Give it milestones, within a project and deadline?”

We had been involved with an international peace conference for a couple of years. Nathan had been working on an academic piece on the technology of conversation that creates world peace. We thought there was something new that needed to happen about the conversation of world peace but we did not know what yet.

“Peace is always one day. It’s never been now.”
“How about peace in five years?”  At that moment an unavoidable clarity emerged. Neither one of us could deny it.

I remember being seven years old. One Saturday various church friends came over to our farm in Iowa. Standing in our living room near the window that looked out to the large Weeping Willow tree I could see several older people standing in the front lawn talking. They looked perfectly loved and yet I felt sadness. I remember thinking “I wish they new how great they are. I wish they saw what I see in them.” Seeing this essence in people stayed with me.

Sitting in Santa Barbara with Nathan looking over at me, we both knew something bigger than us had just come out of our mouths. We knew peace in 10 years was still more of peace some day. We would both rather put a concerted effort within a natural time-frame humans can plan within of five years.  We wrote out a promise that created an unprecedented, productive, most-frequent-flyer-mile-fully-engaged-year of my life… and it’s just starting!

“By February 14th, 2014 I promise to create world peace as measured by The Economist Newspaper.”

Do you have a purpose that’s been following you around your whole life? I invite you to take the pledge and create world peace with me.. and With Us. Watch out for the though, for the extra energy, miracles, and resources that seem to flood in…

With Love,  Amber

p.s. You can start looking at YOUR Contribution to World Peace by asking yourself the questions underlined above.
“You cannot tell the truth if your telling your story. You cannot tell your story if your telling the truth.” -Gangaji


5 Responses to “The Truth I Tried to Avoid”

  1. Yavor Says:

    Hm, Amber, I know you realize that it sounds like something a beauty pageant competitor might list as her goal.

    It is a worthy goal though (probably the worthiest – watch Stalone’s last Rambo movie – it’s also dedicated to peace) so I hope to be in a position to help you out.


    • Nathan Otto Says:

      See Nathan’s next post: Saving World Peace…
      Thank you for taking the time to be concerned about something big for the planet and writing a comment.

  2. Blake Says:

    Thank you for charting the course for us…

  3. Haider Says:

    Hi Amber,

    While I believe it’s very noble to aspire to bring about world peace, I think it’s a HUGE undertaking that must approached correctly so that the approach can match the intentions.

    One of the ways I believe we can make huge leaps towards world peace is to identify the root causes of conflict and tackle each one of them *on the level* they are meant to be tackled. Although this seems obvious, but if you’ll notice, most attempts that have been made in the past towards world peace have not gone deep enough to address the exact cause of conflict and taken the right approach to resolving the issue.

    To give you a simple example: one of the major causes of conflict in the world is extremism. However, you can never tell an extremist that he should be more compassionate and tolerant. An extremist believes that he’s acting on principle and doing the right thing. To ask him to become “tolerant” sounds like a compromise, which he will readily reject. In fact, most extremists believe that *they* are the ones who are compassionate and are fighting oppression!

    You see, the message of tolerance isn’t addressing the issue of extremism on the level it should be addressed…

    There’s a lot more to mention but I’ll leave that for future correspondence. 🙂

    I wish us all the best and success in achieving world peace 😀


  4. Flowersbyfarha Says:

    I feel you should know Yuval Ron. Both in his music and in his spirit you will feel someone who is also working for world peace. How your knowing him would further your efforts I do not know. Your words just resonated with my sense of him.

    [He is also known to Dr Scott Marcus, Director of UCSB Middle East Music Ensemble.]

    Meanwhile, there are so many root causes leading to not-peace. On a purely simplistic level, competition for resources is the most base. By resources I start with the basics– food and water–but wars are seldom fought for wheat or rice… more like for land for grazing or water rights. Energy-producing resources most certainly.

    Not-Peace (for I included racism, gay-bashing, and many other sources of conflict) often centers around core distrust of “other” –whether fear of unknown or fear of competition of resources, or hatred/disrespect for the dissimilar. Also, in the case of gangs, a need to belong, to be held in regard, to feel supported and strong when all around is chaos.

    Working from the top-down, with the world leaders, thinkers, influencers, may result in a truce, a cease-fire, a political pact but not true World Peace. That will come from the bottom up. First we must satisfy the hunger in the belly, the emptiness of the soul. Then we must learn how to (effectively) communicate with our neighbor–in the next block, next town, next state, next country….and learn what we have in common, what we can share, and to give and receive respect, to earn and learn trust. We must learn how to listen and then how to talk. Evolve common mores while respecting cultural/ethnic identities and traditions– balancing “marching to a different drummer” while dancing in the same debke line!

    The Barefoot College ( ) provides one “bottom up” model, its founder also inspired by Gandhi and Mark Twain.

    May Determination, Focus, Boundless Engergy be yours.

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