Shirley Catanzaro is a lady who was led to us by Universal Law.

It began with this email....

To whom it may concern:
May i share your article in an editorial i am writing to help create a Department of Peace as a cabinet level seat? It speaks so eloquently of all my beliefs and i know that now is the time to bring back those articles of confederation written so long ago by the forefathers of this nation with the assistance of the Iroquois nation.

Namaste, Shirley

Shirley had come across information on the School of Metaphysics website ( and it led her to us here at SOM headquarters where the Peace Dome lives. Shirley is a grandmother who cares about the future her grandkids will inherit and so she is motivated to action. One of those is making people aware of

"The Department of Peace is a bill, #HR1673, proposed by Congressman Dennis Kucinich, originally in July of 2001, then because of ground zero it went away. On April 8th of this year he reintroduced it to Congress. It is all about having a Secretary of Peace as a cabinet level seat. It is about non-violent conflict resolution, ie, elderly abuse, gang violence, domestic violence, etc. It would also establish a University of Peace where the appointees would attend for four years and then give 5 years back to community. At this time we have 51 co-sponsors, all democratics. The bill needs 281 co sponsors."

Here is what Shirley wrote.....

If not us, who?

If not now, when?

It is the year, 2003 and I ask myself these two questions, Who are you waiting for to bring about peace in your life and when will you step up and take the action that needs to be done?

There is a Hopi prayer that states: "We are the ones we have been waiting for." This simple phrase was an answer to my question, ?IF NOT US, WHO?? The answer is simple, it is me. I need to be accountable to myself and make the changes in my life so that my children and grandchildren can inherit a world of peace and safety. What good is a legacy of fear going to give my children, my grandchildren? Will they ask me one day, ?What did you do to make a better world for us? Will they ask me to be accountable for denying them a safe, peaceful existence?

You might ask? How can we know peace, how can we sustain ourselves individually and collectively as human beings given a rhetoric of fear that is intravenously fed to us on a daily basis? ?Fear this, fear that, terror may strike at any moment, and our spirits begin to sink lower and lower into the abyss of fear created by the what if’s in our lives building up a momentum within that creates a separation with our fellow beings, seeing them as other than us.

Our forefathers faced this same dilemma. They came here to find ‘freedom and peace.’ They came together from all walks of life with one objective and wrote first the Preamble and then The Constitution. They recognized that without a foundation of peace and equality for everyone our society would not flourish. The original United States representative democracy, fashioned by the founding fathers, drew much inspiration from the Iroquois Native American tribe, who were known as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of nations. The Confederacy of nations was made up of six nations including the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas, and Tuscaroras. This Confederacy of Chiefs was invited and attended a meeting of the Continental Congress on June 11, 1776, while independence was being debated. There was a speech delivered by Canassatego, a great Iroquois chief, who addressed the delegates as brothers, and told them of his people’s wish that the friendship between them would continue "as long as the sun shall shine and the waters run." The speech was also hopeful that the new friends and the Iroquois would act "as one people, and have but one heart." The Iroquois chiefs presence in Congress, so near the time of American Independence, attested to the fact that the Iroquois had a definite productive impact on the founding fathers. It is said that Benjamin Franklin shared what he learned from the Iroquois with the other founding fathers, when he demonstrated that one arrow could easily be broken by the hands of a man, but the combined strength of six arrows could not. It is thought that this image was one that served to strengthen the resolve of the founding fathers and unite the States.

The Iroquois have a legend that forms the basis of their spiritual, civic and community traditions. The Peacemaker legend is an inspiring story, which describes a people entrapped in violent bloody feuds that, guided by a spiritual teacher, abandoned war and adopted a Path of Peace. Author David Yarrow, states: "It's a mythic tale of struggle between good and evil, order and chaos, and the triumph of Reason. It ís a morality play depicting the transformation of humans rising above suffering and tragedy to establish a higher order of human relations; it ís also a practical guide to establishing unity and balance amongst diverse human communities and it ís a successful model of how to distribute power in a democratic society to assure individual liberty”. (This article on the Iroquois Pact is found at the School of Metaphysics website @ If you choose to read it in its entirety please refer to the website.)

Seeking and sharing Peace is not a new concept as shared above. We search for Peace in a plethora of ways. Peace is a powerful word and yet it means so many different things to so many people. I asked some wonderful gentlemen from the Latino community what it meant to them. It was all about their families here and in Mexico, about their struggles to survive and make a better life for their families. I asked my friends, my family, my clients, people in stores, etc., “What does peace mean to you” and received a plethora of answers, from enough, food, shelter, etc.

When visiting Congressional and Senate offices we found when we truly inquired what they want for their families, themselves, peace was always one of the words used.

Yet, when I ask individuals to support a Department of Peace, which as its organizing principles would insure ‘domestic tranquility’ through the use of non-violent conflict resolution, I receive answers from them that truly seem innocuous. It is if I was asking them to write me a check for a billion dollars, or to have them climb Mt. Everest, etc. Why is that, when peace is so important to them as individuals? What causes them to not support the concept of a Department of Peace, when peace is what they desire?

The following 3 paragraphs were written by Bruce Mulkey and is in some ways a description of what the Department of Peace is all about. In order to move toward a new cultural paradigm for our nation, one of greater compassion, justice and sustainability, it is essential that we cleanse ourselves of ill will, including the resentments we hold toward those who appear to be leading us in the wrong direction.
We must free ourselves from the downward spiral of fear so that we may see our vision for our world and ourselves more clearly. We must regularly connect with that inner part of ourselves - our heart, our soul, and our intuition - that knows. Peace begins within.

We must discern right action in confronting our challenges and make choices from the multitude of possibilities that exist rather than reacting and falling into old, automatic behaviors. We must liberate ourselves from the hope that the man on the white horse is coming to lead us to a better future. We are the ones who must do it - one heart and mind at a time - each beginning with ourselves.

You might ask: What is this article leading up to? It leads to the title of this article, "If not us, who, if not now, when" In April of this year, I along with 5 other Arizona women attended a conference in Washington, DC, sponsored by Marianne Williamson founder of the Global Renaissance Alliance. The conference was to introduce us to a bill being presented to Congress to establish a Department of Peace as a cabinet level entity. (Bill HR1673) Peace, individually and collectively is our passion and a way to nationally and globally achieve it was the force that took us to Washington. Being involved in our local Arizona communities as volunteers in various capacities, with our emphasis on building a better world, we each felt drawn to become involved in helping to establish this Department of Peace. The same could be said of the other 200+ attendees from 31 states. We found Peace extended beyond the boundaries of our political affiliations. We were one people coming together to foster the reality of peace as an organizing principle. The bill was founded on achieving peace through non-violent conflict resolution. What a wonderful concept to begin seeking peaceful resolution rather than reacting out of fear

You might ask, ?How can one individual make change? It takes courage the first time to step out of the norm and say, ?Enough is enough.? To say, this is my country and I intend to make a difference in whatever way possible. We ask you to use your voice, write letters to your congressmen, to your senators, they work for us. Write to the President, let it be known that peace is no longer a dream; it is a reality that we must have in order to persevere as a nation, as a world. Find ways to create peace within, forgive, release old anger, when you do that peace spreads out to your families, your workplace, your community, your state and your nation. Let us give our children, our future a legacy of peace. One day they may call us their forefathers who once again opted for peaceful solutions.

The answer to the questions I entitled this article. We are the ones and the time is now.

If you feel so inclined to know more about the Department of Peace and how you can make a difference, the complete bill, HR 1673 can be found at There are 4 Regional Coordinators here in the state of Arizona, 2 in the Phoenix area, one in Tucson and one in Flagstaff. Please contact: Shirley Catanzaro, or Terri Mansfield, for further information on what is happening in Arizona and to contact the other coordinators.

On Sunday, December 7th, from 1 pm to 5 pm at South Mountain Park, we are holding a gathering called: Paving the Highway to Peace. We will have featured local speakers and musicians who have volunteered their time to assist our goal of peace. Please join us.
Shirley Catanzaro
AZ Department of Peace Regional Coordinator

Shirley’s Button Story

For many years my journey through and with the human psyche
has been one of absolute wonder, the oneness of us
that longs to return to the knowing of universal peace
is what connects us in many ways.

In the aftermath of 9-11, I created a button entitled:
"We are all one family, all one people of earth." Through
the generous offerings of friends i had 500 of them made.
On the reverse side, i added a label and friends
and I wrote a message to the people at Ground Zero,
I also added my email address. In November of 2001
I went there and handed them to the volunteers outside of
St. Paul's Church where the volunteers gathered 24/7.
I passed others around, then hung some on the fence around
the building. Feeling good about following my thoughts
for the button and the action taken i returned home.
Two weeks later i received an email from Sr. Grace who was
the volunteer coordinator at that time, asking for more buttons as she wore
hers daily. Thus began the beauty of what the buttons have created,
I received emails from volunteers taking time to thank me
for the buttons and telling their stories. I am shortening this as to not go on long.
There are now 8,000 of these buttons all around the world.
My website: <>
has the full story under the Peace Project if at some point you would like to peruse it.

Namaste, Shirley

"We are all One Family, All One People of Earth"

Joyce West’s story


Like energy cells or powerful batteries, we all have peace packets in us, just waiting to be energized, activated, called upon.

Imagine what it would be like if one in every one hundred of us became the peace that is our birthright, the peace that we are. A mighty network of peaceful energy could, and I believe will, span the globe.

I’ve stopped praying for peace and started being peace. I’ve stopped focusing on what is happening in the chambers of embassies and governments, focusing instead on the chambers of my own heart. Within these chambers, I have clout and direct access. Within these chambers, I activate and flow my own peaceful energy. Like a pebble rippling a pond, peace moves from my heart space throughout my body and beyond. I am no longer AT peace, as though it’s a threshold to enter. I AM peace, in the same way I AM Joyce. It is a state of being. I be peace.

Several years ago, while consulting in a nursing home, I met Miss Sadie. She had a new roommate, and fur flew between them. Feeble though they were, they were known to kick and hit each other. Eventually they were moved to separate rooms, though fights would still break out in the hall between them. Miss Sadie was the instigator. My job was to see what I could do to help her to mellow out.

Miss Sadie never kicked or hit me, but she sure didn’t like me. There seemed to be nothing she wanted to talk about, little she enjoyed, no real reason for being. I secretly hoped she would be asleep or in the shower when I went to see her, so that I might move on in peace without having to deal with her.

Slowly, over time, Miss Sadie and I built up a tolerance for each other. I think it was during that time that I began to sit at her feet. She would sit in her wheelchair and I would sit on the floor. At first I sat far enough away that she couldn’t kick me. Eventually, I scooted closer.

Though I don’t remember the order, several habits evolved in our visits. We began to hug each other. Miss Sadie told me God could do anything but fail. I reminded her often that she had taught me that. A smile would come over her face, a lilt would enter her voice. “That’s right. God can do anything but fail,” she would beam.

I began to ask Miss Sadie to remember me in her prayers. She seemed willing. Eventually, I suggested she widen her prayer circle to include everyone who passed by her door. Whether she knew them or not, whether they spoke or not, whether they ever came into her room or not, she could pray for them.

“Just think Miss Sadie. Right here, sittin’ in this chair, you can make the world a better place. You don’t have to say anything to anybody. Just send them love and ask God to bless them when they pass by. Who knows? If you do that, you could help them have a better day. They won’t even know why. They’ll just know that something is better. And they just might take that home to their families.”

Miss Sadie mellowed, first with me, eventually with others. She went from disturbing the peace to creating it.

I can still see her sitting erect in her wheelchair, tight bun on the top of her head, beaming.

There are enough Miss Sadies in nursing homes to transform the world from their wheelchairs. Just as there are enough bank tellers, servers, nurses, teachers, custodians to transform the world one person at a time.

Peace ripples right now. In this moment and the next and the next, peace flows through each heart. Believe it and know it. It’s a state of being and moving in the world.

Sometimes instinct takes over. In the midst of 9/11, my instinct, as strong as any instinct I have ever had, was to stop, center, love, to be peace. Facts, feelings, events swirled about me. Others went into action that was surely needed, appropriate, appreciated.

My contribution was to sit still, head erect, like Miss Sadie in her wheelchair. As the world rushed by, sometimes peeking in, other times seemingly unaware of my existence, I became more and more still, quiet, deep. As I had done in Miss Sadie’s room, I often planted myself on the floor, close to Mother Earth. And I became peace. Like ripples in a pond, I let it flow.

Joyce West
© 2002

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