This was written by me for the Circle of Grandmothers Newsletter in Arizona. The quotes from Granny D really touched my heart. As I read in her book the words: "when you fully dedicate yourself to a good mission, the floodgates of Heaven open up for you," I understood that that's what happened when I was given the precious gift of the website for the cranes. -- Jo
When Grannies Wage Peace
By Jo Wharton
Paper crane, I will write peace on your wings
The story of Sadako, the little Japanese girl in Hiroshima who died from the effects of the atomic bomb, had always touched my heart and her quote stayed with me from the first moment I read it. The idea of the cranes flying has now become my passion in life. I had a vision of the cranes flying all over the US because we are the ones who are waging nuclear warfare with the depleted uranium in our munitions. Thousands of combatants die or are injured in wars every year, but now over eighty-five percent of casualties of war are civilians; we can no longer sustain the immoral stance that war is a glorious and heroic undertaking.
I made the commitment to fold a thousand Peace Cranes just as Sadako did because of the Japanese legend that if you fold a thousand paper cranes, the gods will smile on you and you will get your wish. She folded the cranes to ask for healing of her illness. I folded mine for the healing of my beloved country in the hope that we will turn away from war. War is not the answer to our problems and we must collectively say: NO MORE WAR! This month, June 2004, I have completed the 1000 cranes and have given them all away. Some have gone to other states, some to other countries and some went to the March for Women's Lives in Washington. They are indeed, flying all over the world.
The following is a letter I sent to friends last year.
"In March of 2003, as I watched Bush on television tell us that his administration will take us to war in Iraq, I was folding origami cranes with my granddaughter, Rachel. These paper cranes have been made for decades to honor Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who died from the effects of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. As I looked at Rachel, my heart broke to think that we still wage war and put all the children of the world at risk."
Then an idea came to me: the little cranes need to fly to all kinds of public places where people will be reminded of Sadako and the horrors of war. I have been folding cranes with love and the intention of peace coming to the world, giving them to strangers, and leaving them wherever I go. When each crane is finished, I write peace on the wings and blow a prayer -- May Peace Prevail on Earth -- into the tiny hole in the bottom so that each can carry the energy of peace. I hope you will join me in making the cranes and letting them fly free.
I now have a website for the Peace Cranes, www.cranesflyforpeace.com, that explains my dream. It has folding instructions, crane photos, peace writings and many peace links. I'm so proud of it.
In my work with the peace movement, I've been much inspired by the life and words of Doris Haddock, Granny D, the amazing woman who walked across the US in 2000 at the age of 90 to help bring about campaign finance reform. She said, "When you fully dedicate yourself to a good mission, the floodgates of heaven open up for you. If you can make a creative crack in the crust of the world's deadly abstractions, the divine will rush up, bringing great bounty with it."
When I talk to someone about peace and he rolls his eyes and looks at me like I'm just a crazy old grandma, and says war is the natural behavior of humanity, I think of Granny D when she said: "There are two things about impossible missions. One is the fact that sometimes, all you can do is put your body I front of a problem and stand there as a witness to it. Never be discouraged from being an activist because people say you can't succeed. You have already succeeded if you're out there representing truth or justice or compassion or fairness or love. You already have your victory because you have changed the world; you have changed the status quo by you. And changes will spread from you, will be easier to happen again in others because of you."
Now I'm honored to be involved with the planning of the Third International Women's Peace conference to be held here in Dallas in 2007. It will a momentous gathering of women from all over the world who will come together to make their voices heard. When peace comes to the world it will be because of women's dedication to creating a safe and sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.
By Layne Redmond
It is often said that the first sound we hear in the womb is our mother's heartbeat. Actually, the first sound to vibrate our newly developed hearing apparatus is the pulse of our mother's blood through her veins and arteries. We vibrate to that primordial rhythm even before we have ears to hear. Before we were conceived, we existed in part as an egg in our mother's ovary. All the eggs a woman will ever carry form in her ovaries while she is a four-month-old fetus in the womb of her mother. This means our cellular life as an egg begins in the womb of our grandmother. Each of us spent five months in our grandmother's womb and she in turn formed within the womb of her grandmother. We vibrate to the rhythms of our mother's blood before she herself is born. And this pulse is the thread of blood that runs all the way back through the grandmothers to the first mother. We all share the blood of the first mother - we are truly children of one blood.
A Japanese fable
There is a fire in the forest and all the animals are running away to save their lives. Only the hummingbird is darting back and forth, getting little drops of water from the lake in its beak and dropping them on the fire. Another bird flies past and says, “You are silly! You can’t put out this huge fire.” The hummingbird says, “Yes, I know. But I am doing my part.”
By Kathryn Daily
Donegal, Ireland, March 2003
Sometimes inspiration comes from the strangest places, and then all of a sudden all the disparate things we think have nothing to do with anything all fall into place in a way that is far more than the sum of its parts.
And I think I am under the influence of the origami peace cranes I've been making lately. I started doing them for the Saturday afternoon vigil I've been holding in the Market Square of my town. For the last two weeks times I've made cranes from white paper and given them away.
And while this may seem a bit like meditating and gardening, no big deal, I think there is a very important education process that goes with the making of every crane, and there is communication and connection and there is a kind of seed planted that I think matters. When I make the cranes, teach other people to make them, or just tell folks about the crane I've just given to them, I'm telling them about Sadako Sasaki and her poem "I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world." I'm telling them about the little girl who died from the atomic bomb and how there is a statue of her in Hiroshima and people send cranes from all over the world to be placed there. And how one person, just by quietly making cranes has had an impact all around the world.
Just last night I was showing a woman I didn't know how to make a crane and she was so excited she could hardly contain herself. She never thought she could actually do this small thing. Afterwards she told me she has recently begun to attend a literacy group and is beginning to think of herself as a person and letting go of shame. She told me a lot more about herself, and all I did was show her how to make a crane. Her face was full of light afterwards, she bloomed right there in front of me. It was so beautiful to see her like that, such a gift. And she couldn't wait to take the crane home to show her children. And all it was was a little piece of folded paper.
So I get to tell people about Sadako, the cranes and all the thoughts of peace, and having heard them in a gentle, non-threatening way, they become part of that person's experience. These thoughts are seeds of change.
All change starts with a thought. So every thought, however small, contains the seed of change, the seed of the big dramatic change and the small changes that have cumulative impact.
So, maybe it's more useful to recognize and respect that everything we are all doing matters, that in some way it is all connected. And then I think we can find organic connections that will guide us to ways to focus our energy on making the big changes happen. But this is all part of a process, a long-term process. The world is a big, complex place and change happens one thought, one step, one act at a time.