I’m not ready to stop running…but my feet would like me to. I’ve maintained from the beginning that when I’m done, I’m done. I won’t continue just out of pride sake. The temperatures have hovered at 105-110 with a UV index of 10 (High) for the last couple of days. The humidity has been a consistent 87%. The ground is literally so hot, I cannot touch it with my hands making it the Devil’s Anvil. I have four blisters on my feet and heat rash on my calves. All of which have begged the question…why again am I doing this? The truth be told, it is cooler in Afghanistan.

I think of all the people sitting in ditches in Afghanistan waiting to kill someone. I’m doing it for them—and their victims. I’m doing it for all the kids killed and dismembered in Chad, Rwanda, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the threat that children might be hurt in Iran.

But the question is in my face because the hairdryer of heat has blown it there, “Is this the best way I can effect world peace?”

Perhaps it isn’t the “best” way. But, it is the way that lies before me. And, IF it seems that something else is better…I will do it.

What is the “real” peacemaking part of what I am doing? Talking to people and doing art for them. The miles are a bit of a sideshow really. By doing something hard, people are “impressed”. But it isn’t “impressed” that I am going for, or the reason I am out here. What the miles mean to me is: “If this guy is willing to do this much for world peace, what am I willing to do?” The fact that I even walked one day of 20 miles on blacktop with blisters, heat rash, in 110 degrees should be enough to force people to say, “Is he a liar, a lunatic, or trying his hardest to “wake” the rest of us up?” Hopefully, people see that I am just trying to BE the PEACE.

I go by “Peace Artist”. That is my REAL name. My given name was just that. Something that my parents pulled out of a hat, hoping it would define who I am. I was named after the Nile River in Egypt, “Champion”, and like the Nile; I have always done my own thing, and cut my own course. I was raised on the Willamette River; these are the only two major rivers in the world to flow North…non-conformists really. But in order to have world peace we each must choose a different path.

If we as a species want there to be world peace, we must each adopt the mantle of “Peace”. I just happen to be an artist. Therefore I am Peace Artist. You may be a dentist, but are you “Peace Dentist”? Peace Mom, Peace Doctor, Peace Teacher, and perhaps Peace Lawyer (although that does sound like an oxymoron). And yet there are thousands of dedicated lawyers working to help wrongfully convicted and death row inmates for free. In order for us all to experience world peace, we must each BE peace. BE the peace helper, the peace listener, the peace worker, and the peacemaker. BE the peace…in EVERY situation.

When you are driving down the road and someone flips you off…be the peace. Be the love when it is missing.

I am the peace artist. I am not the “peace runner”…that is only how I get around, that is only how I attempt to get you to think about what YOU can do. It really never has been about me. 10,000 miles…or 4,500…does it really matter? It is a pittance, a drop in the bucket, and a sideshow of a sideshow. What does it matter, what will ever matter if we ALL are not peace?

The only question I have had to wrestle with this weekend is this, am I Peace? Running in a 110 or -10 degrees doesn’t change that. It shouldn’t…it doesn’t.