peace is more than the absence of war. so much more.

peace is not having to lock every door.

peace is a woman being able to walk down any street, any time-alone.

peace is being able to speak your mind. period.

peace is being able to trust those to whom you speak your mind. peace is no wiretaps, no email intercepts, no cameras, no listening devices.

peace is entering your church, synagogue, mosque, temple, sweat lodge, coven, without looking over your shoulder.

peace is knowing nobody will ever dump toxic waste, or spill oil, near your home-or anybody's home.

peace is a steady heart rate in the presence of police, of INS agents. peace is knowing you never need to step aside, because you are equal to everyone else.

peace is never being judged, attacked, denied access, arrested, imprisoned, deported, or herded into a concentration camp because of your ancestry.

peace is being able to get health care for you and your family-every time you need it.

peace is free and fresh drinking water.

peace is knowing that the food you eat is not infused with chemicals that will cause you cancer, or with genes that may mutate future generations.

peace is no child cowering before a raging or addicted parent.

peace is no child having to keep an adult's dirty secret.

peace is no child going hungry. peace is no child without a sheltered and secure place to sleep.

peace is never having to become a refugee.

peace is never having your home bulldozed or commandeered by eminent domain.

peace is never worrying about being displaced. peace is uninterrupted sleep.

peace is loving whomever you love, regardless of gender-yours or theirs.

peace is growing old with respect. peace is no citizen anywhere ever having to suffer or die for the decisions of those in government.

peace is no draftboards, no economic blackmail to become a murderer/martyr.

peace is being content in your own body.

peace is never walking on eggshells.

peace is no censorship.

peace is no self-censorship.

peace is no curfews. peace is no border patrols.

peace is no weapons, mass or singular.

peace is no electric chairs, no lethal injections, no hangings, no lynchings, no firing squads, no death row.

peace is no vigilanteeism, institutional or spontaneous.

peace is no chains, physical or psychological.

peace is no violence in policy, in actions, in language, in feelings, or in thoughts.

peace is sharing the earth humbly with other species.

peace is fertile soil and breathable air.

peace is living in a society where human needs matter more than the profits of a greedy few.

peace is knowing you don't have to buy anything that does not sustain your life.

peace is knowing you have enough.

peace is being aware of your continuous and unbreakable connection to all living things, to the earth, to the universe, to the divine.

peace is being grateful for every gift, including the precious gift of life itself.

peace is knowing your own uniqueness and worth, and the uniqueness and worth of every human being.

peace is knowing that your family is vast, and includes many more than your relatives.

peace is knowing your family will come to your aid in time of need.

peace is respectful dialogue. peace is really listening. peace is compassionate understanding.

peace is a natural smile. peace is singing when you feel like it.

peace is ease of living.

peace is more than the absence of war. so much more.

peace is the absence of fear.

- mary oishi 28 november 2003