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I wrote this one year ago before I left. Really, nothing has changed. Being Peace that is it. What more is there. No matter what you believe, reincarnation, heaven, or nothing. What is it gonna hurt to try to be the the kindest person you can be. Who would fault you for trying to be kind?

  • I am about to embark upon an adventure, a pilgrimage really. A pilgrimage is a journey to a place or for a thing. Mine is both. It is to run around the continental US, and it is for peace. Peace amongst nations, people, communities, families, and most importantly, and often the most difficult…peace with one’s self.

    Some of you I haven’t talked to in a long time, forgive me for that. You all have been a significant part of me becoming “who I am”. Some of you have known me to be a bit of an ass, pompous, selfish, uncaring, and self-absorbed. Others have known me to be the exact opposite, loving, selfless, interested in others, kind, and patient. I think most of you know me as a bit of both.

    I humbly ask you to forgive my lesser qualities and my shortcomings.

    The person that you once knew as Neal is quickly slipping away. In its place a pilgrim for peace has arisen; The Peace Artist. As I mentioned earlier, Neal has had his good and bad points, his points of selfish and selfless behavior, but I often failed to have lasting peace.

    It wasn’t until I became truly grateful for all that I have been given, both good and bad, that I realized what a great gift this life truly is. Our TV’s and conventional knowledge tell us that we aren’t good enough, that we lack, and that we will not be happy until we amass wealth, have the perfect homes, cars, vacations and trophy spouses. We are taught to fear others, not to talk to strangers, and that everyone is trying to get us, rip us off, or hurt us in some way.

    We begin to pull away from the world and isolate ourselves in our gated communities out of fear and out of a feelings of fruitlessness to change the paradigm. We feel so small in our isolated bubble, and fear stepping out of line in protest. What if the little we have is taken away?

    And yet, I truly believe all people are good. We have been made to believe that some are not. Our fear has been preyed upon, and the good that we wish to do, has been replaced by the logical fallacy that there is something called a “Just War”. That through fighting one can achieve peace?

    We tell our children that fighting never solves anything. When disputes happen we ask them to share. When hurt feelings arise, we counsel to say we are sorry…to apologize. And yet, when our young children reach 18, we ask them to do the opposite; kill those that disagree with you, take what you can, never show weakness, and most of all to not kiss and make up.

    As most of you know I’ve spent most of my life working and playing with children and doing art. I did this as a coach, an artist, and as a teacher. I’ve coached and done art around the world. What I have discovered is that all people would rather sit in a park playing with their loved ones and friends while listening to music. We all long more for this than preparing for or engaging in war.

    For me this oxymoron reached a tipping point where I couldn’t, in good conscious, continue to work with beautiful children while bombs continued to maim some and kill others. I couldn’t come home from the gym after working with wonderful boys and girls doing gymnastics, and witness the murder of the innocents around the world and do nothing!

    This is why I have adopted the mantle of the Peace Artist. As I mentioned it all started for me with gratefulness. In my opinion, once you become truly grateful, the next obvious question becomes “What do I do next?” All of us have different skills and predilections, but if we each do what we and only we can do for peace the world will be transformed nearly overnight. This is how my credo came about, this is only my way, but it is the only way I’ve discovered to bring about peace.

    “And this is the way of the Peace Artist: It all begins with Gratitude; Love, Help, Make Art & Peace.”

    Everywhere I go, I will do art. Rather than selling it, I will give the “peaces” that I make to anyone I meet as a peace offering. I will attempt to do portraits to convince people that they are love, they are of valuable, they are beautiful, and they are divine. This what I can do for peace. I can run and I can paint. Hopefully others will be encourage and perhaps inspired to do what they can do for peace.

    My trek is one of faith. Faith that the Universe desires to be at peace, and therefore my humble efforts to bring peace about will not be met with resistance. It is also faith in human kind and human kindness. I believe that any of us if we saw a child drowning would do anything within our power to save her. I believe that if we view and treat all those with whom we encounter as hurting and drowning children it becomes easy. For we are all deluged and engulfed in our feelings of fear and helplessness. The only way I found to have joy despite these feelings is to choose to care when we least feel like it. To choose to love the unlovable, and to forgive those who have hurt us most.

    Most difficult, it is my opinion that the way to peace is to be grateful. To choose to care, love, and forgive others and ourselves. Simply put, to adhere to the central tenet of humanism and every religion under the sun:

    “To love one another as we love ourselves.”

    I would be honored if you would follow my journey, and if you feel so inclined, do what only you can do for peace. Thank you for your time and love, peace to all.

    You can find my journey at:

    Facebook: Peace Artist