If violence creates a legacy of further violence, as Diana Lee Hirschi believes, then learning to avoid it can change all aspects of life - from family squabbles to the threat of nuclear war.
Hirschi and her partner, Paige Wilder, will conduct an eight-hour training session focusing on non-violence in its many forms. The seminar, sponsored by and held at the YWCA, will take place Saturday, Jan. 25. Cost is $25, and full and partial scholarships are available. To register or for information, call Jane Edwards at 355-2804."Our format is a series of presentations by trainers, with active participation by the group," Hir-schi said. "I really believe that there's a legacy of violence, so it's important to learn consensus decisionmaking to facilitate discussions. We each have personal responsibility for peace, whether it's in the home or world peace."
Participants will learn about non-violent political activism, alternative ways to resolve conflicts, how to talk things out and more, Hirschi said.
"I believe, for instance, that there is a connection between the bomb in our own hearts and the one in our back yard - the Trident missile system. You can't put yourself on the line to protest war or violence of any type if your heart is filled with violence and anger. At the same time, I don't think you can just sit at home and burn candles and meditate, either."
Through "go-rounds," workshop participants will be asked to talk about their own experiences with anger or violence. They will also assume roles as a way to see the many ways a situation can be handled.
Hirschi remembers daily visits to a nearby store where she'd buy beverages. There were two clerks, one of them very nice and the other very unpleasant. She made it a point to be cold and distant with the latter.
"One day I got confused and thought she was the nice clerk, so I chit-chatted with her," Hirschi said. "Only after we'd had a very nice conversation did I realize she was the clerk I thought I hated."
Hirschi and Wilder will also try to teach people how to use breathing and silence as ways to calm a situation and avoid violence. Everything doesn't have to be done this minute. It's OK to take a deep breath and sit still for a minute to focus, Hirschi said.
For Hirschi, teaching non-violence is a ministry, completely in tune with her religious beliefs as a Quaker. Over the years, she said she has learned that "in dealing with people who disagree with me, I am merely looking in the mirror. I don't have any great virtue or righteousness and I don't have a corner on it. I just want peace."