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World Peace Begins With Inner Beauty

Updated: Jul 7, 2019

We all have poems, songs, or music that keep the fuse lit when times are dark, messy, confusing, or bumpy. I remember the first time I shared the Chinese Proverb below, about 25 years ago. It was the final slide in an intense, 2.5-hour workshop for nonprofit staff on foundation and corporate philanthropy research. In the days before the Internet and Facebook, we did not have daily exposure to inspiring quotes and stories. We dug them out of printed reference books! Earlier in my career, I'd been a philanthropy editor, and one of these collections was a "must have." It's how I'd tripped over Lao Tzu and other Chinese proverbs. I had taped this one to my massive computer terminal. When I shared this proverb with the 35 attendees, the room became quiet and I sensed a deeper exhale. Creating a culture of giving was, and remains, challenging work. I wanted to send the participants on their way with new tools and inspiration. I wanted them to know I saw their hope for their missions, their faith in the goodness of others, their love for work that changes the trajectories of their clients' lives for the better, for future generations. I find this proverb even more meaningful and necessary for this time, for the ongoing work of community and network building, for being light warriors, for learning to breathe, to lead, to grow, to sustain.


When there is light in the soul,

there is beauty in the person.

When there is beauty in the person,

there is harmony in the home.

When there is harmony in the home,

there is honor in the nation.

When there is honor in the nation,

there is peace in the world.



If you are a Sweet Honey in the Rock fan, you can hear this song on their Experience . . . 101 CD. Nowadays, I often add two lines right after "there is harmony in the home:"


When there is light in the soul,

there is beauty in the person.

When there is beauty in the person,

there is harmony in the home.

When there is harmony in the home,

there is sharing in community.

When there is sharing in community,

there is honor in the nation.

When there is honor in the nation,

there is peace in the world.

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Kathy Jankowski helps people and communities flourish through attention training, breathwork, cultivating
soft skills, and applying the Enneagram. Kathy integrates evidence-based practices for stress management, trauma resolution, and resilience into innovative workshops, transformational coaching, and sustainable organizational development.

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