Looking to the future

So, 2011 is coming to an end.... and Turn Peace Around, well honestly, hasn't done much of anything this past year... Let's see... started out the year in a free Zibbet shop, with a Facebook page, not really being too pushy. In July, we moved into the Breath of the Dragon Zibbet shop, in hopes of more visibility. As of November, we got ourselves a blog as well, that serves as a sort of free mini-site with pages of information.

Haven't sold much of our handcrafted items, other than a handful of tote bags to my great-Aunt who lives in Walla Walla, WA. She's doing her part by spreading the word at her workplace, which happens to be a state prison. While she's been a great customer so far, I know there has to be more of you out there who want to spread the message and support this cause by wearing a handmade necklace or carrying a hand-painted tote bag....

This year, I'm hoping to increase my exposure, but I won't do it with paid ads or pushy marketing. I will focus on word-of-mouth, and I will do my best to overcome any shyness I may have, so that I can start talking about it. Because if I don't talk about it and get excited, no one else will, either. I also plan to have some of the products on display any time I set up my woodburnings at a craft show. Then perhaps my conversations won't end with "I don't have anything for sale here, but you can always check out my shop online" which they usually forget to do.

I'm asking all of my followers to get talkative about it as well. Make 2012 a year of positive change, by talking about peace instead of stopping war. Remember, this is all about our focus, and when we focus on the positive things we want, rather than the negative things we want less of, we create that positive change.

One thing the original site did that I would love to see again, is it encouraged people to take pictures of themselves 'turning peace around' (i.e. standing in the pose of the flipped peace sign). Wouldn't it be cool to see peace being turned around all over the globe? So, if you feel so inclined, share a photo of you turning peace around (include name/location/etc), and we'll put together a gallery or slideshow. I was going to use slide.com, but they are shutting down in March, so I'm currently on the hunt for some other easy way to set up a gallery/slideshow for this....

This site isn't just about me trying to sell my handmade goods, it's about connecting people over a certain cause, a positive belief, and a symbol of change. Will you join me in making 2012 an awesome year?

Mixing Business with a Message

I'm at a crossroads, guys... and I'm not sure if I even need to be here, but I am.

For those that don't know, I opened a shop last year for Turn Peace Around - handmade items sporting a flipped peace sign. The message I'm trying to spread with it is that the original peace sign was drawn as a symbol of despair, and we should be using a more positive image to represent Peace. Flipping the 'arms' to appear raised connects the idea of peace with many different positive symbols and feelings throughout various cultures.

While this is a great message to spread, it has come to my attention that unless I am cramming it down everyone's throat, it won't ever really catch on. The peace sign is over 50 years old.... who really wants to change it now? I thought that by having a shop of handmade items, I could help spread this message while making a little money for my efforts.

But that's not happening.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm not the right kind of person to be pushing the message. I mean, I can't live and breathe it, so how can I encourage others to do that? It's a great idea, but I feel I'm no good beyond that point.

So here I am, torn between trying to spread a message of positive peace or making some money on the side. And sadly, the way things are going, the money side of the battle is starting to win.

I would love to push this idea, and focus on the concept for everything I do (craft shows, etc), but then my pyrography would be put to the wayside. I love both too much to neglect one or the other... and I've put a LOT of effort into building Breath of the Dragon up so far. Again, the question of money comes up - which one will bring in more money?

I know some of you might be thinking... "Why not just do both, and give them both the attention they need?" And my answer to that is my paying job. If I was unemployed, I would have more than enough time to devote to each... but (un)fortunately, I have a part-time paying job to attend 5 days a week. This takes up a lot of my time and energy, much to my dismay...

Is this the part of creating a business where I have to make sacrifices and put out 210% of myself? [In this case, it would be more than one business (hence the extra 100%)...]

I am just not sure if I want to continue to pursue Turn Peace Around as a business... I could use some input, if you have read this far and have a thought on the subject. Feel free to be honest and critical - I need that right now. That's often the difference between dreams and success....

Spreading a message, one person at a time...

Back in March '10, I received a wonderfully uplifting piece of feedback from someone that purchased 2 hemp necklaces from my Turn Peace Around Etsy shop, and I'd like to share it with you.

Hemp choker w/ pyrographed wooden Peace charm by TurnPeaceAround on Etsy"Thank you so much for the two necklaces! I love them and its very inspiring to change the peace symbol, and I have been asked why my peace sign is upside-down and show them the cards you sent with it and explain the pro peace point of view. The shipping was great too, it came right away, again, thank you so much!
Good luck with more sales! I will be sure to encourage pe
ople I know to purchase some of your designs of turning peace around =]
~shyla (lovepeacenotwar)"

After the really long and draining night I had at work, finishing up the bi-annual inventory, it was great to receive such a positive response to my little mission.

See, when I first heard about Turn Peace Around, I instantly knew it was my job to spread the message of pro-peace and a flipped peace sign. It just fell in line perfectly with my current study of the Law of Attraction and The Secret (aka - what we think is what we create; think positive and create positivity). Why use a symbol of death and despair to represent peace? I mean, duh!

Anyhow, as I began creating items with the flipped sign and telling people about the pro-peace message, I soon looked at the peace sign everyone knows as being 'wrong' in some way... kinda like the Native American symbol for the Sun that was perverted into the Swastika. I wanted to spread this message however I could, and I wanted the people to get excited about it. I wanted to see people as excited to spread the message as I was.

Turn Peace Around story postcardSo I created business cards and small postcards with a brief story about why the peace sign is being flipped. I send out at least 5 with every order of TPA items so that the recipient has enough to hand out when people ask about their peace sign being 'upside down'.

This was the first response I've received that let me know the cards are not wasted. In fact, knowing that she is handing them out, has inspired me. I'm considering offering a bundle of these cards as a listing in the shop that people can purchase. It'd be a way for past customers to become repeat customers, because as they hand the cards out to spread the message, they will need to get more. Does this sound like a something I should add?

Other symbols for peace

Original Peace sign, 1958

Sure, we know this symbol represents peace, and we've already discussed why.

But what are some other symbols of peace?

The Olive Branch is one of the oldest symbols of Peace; it was used as far back as the fifth century BCE, where it was held as sacred to Eirene, the Greek goddess of Peace. The olive branch has since been incorporated into the flag of the United Nations.

White Poppies were distributed by the Women's Co-operative Guild in Europe starting in 1933, in remembrance of war causalities, and as a symbol of hope, peace and an end to war.

Rainbow Peace flag
The Peace flag, seen here, was first used in Italy in 1961 at a peace march. The rainbow signifies harmony, and the word PACE is Italian for "peace". Seen in other countries, the rainbow flag often shows the local language version of the word "peace".

✌ A popular sign for peace is the 'V sign' created with the index and middle finger, palm facing outward. Between Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon, the sign represented Victory in the war, and eventually Peace. Just be careful - in many countries, flashing the V sign with your palm facing inwards is actually an insult.

There you have it - some of the many ways we represent peace, and where they came from.

The Peace Sign: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_sign#The_peace_sign
The V sign: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_sign
White poppy (symbol): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_poppy_%28symbol%29
Peace Flag: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_flag

Inner Peace before Outer Peace

Time and again, we are told that the only way to create peace around us is to find the peace within ourselves. While it may feel cheesy or lame, I honestly believe it is true.

We have to come to terms with who we truly are inside, and fully accept that person as is rather than trying to be something, or someone, else. Know that you are a good person, and that all people are good people deep down, and the peace begins to grow.

Remember this, though: Peace within is not achieved instantly. It is an arduous journey, with varying lengths for each person. There are many obstacles we must deal with and overcome before we feel at peace with ourselves.

Once we have reached the point where we can say "I am at peace with myself", the next step is to keep living in this harmonious and peaceful manner. Show others that you are a walking manifestation of Peace, and they will want to emulate your every move. You have what they want, and they will copy your actions in order to achieve this peace for themselves.

 As a wise man once said: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

He is saying that in order to create change (in this case, peace), you first have to BE that change. All change starts with one person and a radical idea. Once it becomes infectious, the change (or PEACE) will spread. I fully believe this is the way to spread peace, especially in today's world where everyone is 'trying to keep up with the Jones'.

By being a living example of peace, you are creating the change you want to see. And as such, we first need to reach that level of inner peace before we can expect the outer peace to develop.

Drawing Peace

This may seem like a silly question, but have you ever drawn a peace sign?

First, let me explain the use of 'catastrophic' and 'anastrophic' movement used in film and literature. Catastrophic movement, or downward travel, leads to bad things, negative changes in the character's story. When the main character enters a tunnel and follows it downward, something bad usually happens at the end. This is catastrophic movement. Anastrophic, or upward, movement, represents travel towards enlightenment and positive changes. Walking up a staircase, for instance, may lead to a revelation of great import to the character.

This can also be applied to the lines we draw on paper. Normally, when drawing the peace sign as we know it, one draws a circle first, then the center line from top down, and finally adding the 2 arms, again drawing them top down. Have you ever thought about this? How does it make you feel to draw lines downward? While some may say it is a way to bring Heaven down to Earth, others may say that this downward drawing is an expression of despair. Personally, when I draw lines downward, I feel sad or negative about the situation.

drawing peace, downward lines
Now, try drawing the flipped peace sign with downward lines - feels awkward, doesn't it?

drawing peace, upward lines
Now draw that same symbol using upward flowing lines. Almost feels uplifting, doesn't it?

Try it a few times and see what you think....

Artist of the Peace sign regrets original design...

When I was doing some research on the peace sign, I often came across the information regarding the artist that drew it, and how he was drawing himself in despair. However, what I had not seen before was that he regretted using such a sad symbol to represent peace, since peace is something to be celebrated.

In this Wikipedia article, we can see that the original peace sign should have been inverted in a celebratory gesture for peace... which is exactly what I'm trying to do... :)
[Gerald] "Holtom later wrote to Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News, explaining the genesis of his idea in greater depth: "I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya's peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it." Ken Kolsbum, a correspondent of Holtom's, says that the designer came to regret the symbolism of despair, as he felt that peace was something to be celebrated and wanted the symbol to be inverted."
As you can see, the feelings that this symbol invoke have always had a negative tone about them. Even the designer of the image recognized that 'despair' should not be used to represent something as positive and hopeful as 'peace'.

And now, I am carrying on that message, showing the world that this image is a positive one. One hand-crafted item at a time...

The Power of Symbols

Every day, we are surrounded by symbols of one kind or another. From the symbols used in traffic signs to avatars and icons online, symbols are everywhere. For the most part, we all understand and agree what these symbols mean. Without a definition, however, these symbols are merely images. It is the meaning that we give to an image that turns it into a symbol. As more people agree with the meaning of a symbol, it grows in popularity and more people will also agree that the symbol has a given meaning.

Soon, everyone simply agrees that a symbol has a given meaning, and there are no questions asked. It becomes accepted. And that is what has happened with the Peace sign.

The original artist of the symbol we now know as the peace sign actually admitted that his original design was based on a stick figure man standing with his arms stretched downward and outward, as one would do in the throws of despair. It was convenient that this image was also a compilation of the semaphore (signal flags) letters for N and D, because the symbol was used at a Nuclear Disarmament rally in the UK in 1962.

The rally was not the first of it's kind, but the image used on the posters became iconic. Because the rally was in essence a rally for peace, those at the rally adopted the ND image as a sign for peace. Soon, the symbol was used in peace rallies all over the UK and in late 1963, the peace symbol made it's way across the ocean to the US. It didn't take long for the growing hippie movement to adopt this peace symbol for their own rallies and marches for peace.

Symbols are images that have been given a meaning on which many people agree and support. Just as the ND image that was drawn as a man in despair, the image I want to turn into the new peace symbol is a flipped version of our current peace sign. This image looks like a stick figure in the throws of happiness and bliss, arms raised up toward the heavens.

I just need the people to help me turn this image into a symbol... Please, if you believe in this positive image for peace, share us with your friends, and consider purchasing one of our unique handmade products sporting the new positive peace sign.

Why Turn Peace Around?

Peace is a wonderful concept - imagine everyone in the world accepting each other for who they are and what they believe, instead of fighting about the differences and trying to convert each other. A state of stability around the globe.

This was the dream the hippies were trying to achieve, by protesting the nuclear war. In 1958, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) adopted what we now know as the Peace Sign as their logo. It was originally drawn as the semaphore (flag signaling used by the Navy) for N and D overlapped. Or at least, that was the justification Gerald Holtom used. But his real idea of the drawing was of a man in despair, standing with his "palms outstretched downward and outwards." He was distraught about the whole nuclear war and lack of resolution, so that is what he drew.

After the first few public protests organized by the CND, the symbol soon caught on. First in Europe, and then jumping the Pond along with other popular British trends coming to the United States. The hippies grabbed it and proliferated the idea of the peace symbol, and soon the whole world was using the CND logo to represent the need for Peace.

Personally, I love that this symbol [a] was never copyrighted, so anyone can use it freely, and [b] represents a very real need in this world and continues to regain popularity in the younger generations. However, I am slightly saddened at the thought that a sad and disparaging symbol is what we use to represent a positive and uplifting ideal.

Anyone that has ever looked into the power of changing their life will understand that focusing on the negative only generates more of what we do not want. You cannot manifest a positive result with a negative image. It just doesn't work. So why are we using a symbol of death and sadness for Peace?

It is because of this that I have taken on this little crusade of sorts. I am encouraging everyone to turn their Peace signs around, flip it so that the arms are outstretched upwards. This is a symbol of life and strength, not death and sadness. Give it a try - stand like the current peace sign, with your arms down and out. How do you feel? Not so good, right? Now try flipping it, and stand with your arms outstretched upwards, to the heavens. You already feel uplifted, don't you? :)

This is our "pro-peace" symbol, as opposed to the "anti-war" symbol. Change starts with you and I, today, as we turn each peace sign around, one by one.

Looking for some unique, handmade gifts to spread this message? Stop by our Zibbet shop and check out the fun items we've already made with the flipped sign on it. Got an idea? Contact us and we'll see what we can do to make that perfect item for you with this powerful symbol on it!

New home for Turn Peace Around

I've decided that Turn Peace Around needs it's own home, at least in the blogging/site world.... So here it is! Watch for information to be added, along with photos and whatever else I feel needs to be shared here.

Yes, I'm considering moving the TPA handmade items back into their own shop.... but only considering it for now... We'll see what happens....